Georgetown Luxury Summit: III
On Tuesday, April 25, 2017 the Georgetown Retail and Luxury Association held their third annual Global Luxury Summit. For the summit, we had the pleasure of hosting speakers from a variety of backgrounds who shared their experiences with immersing themselves into the fashion industry and adjusting to the competitive e-Commerce environment. The event featured a panel about E-commerce and market modernization followed by a keynote address from Aerin Lauder, Style & Image Director of Estée Lauder Companies and Founder & Creative Director of her own brand AERIN. The panel included Andrew Books, CEO of Vianel, Jocelyn Gaillot, Co-Founder & CEO of Tuckernuck, and Olga Vidisheva, Founder & CEO of Shoptique. Details about the panelists and Aerin’s address can be found below.
Andrew Brooks, CEO of Vianel:
Vianel Studios is a luxury accessory company focused on bringing personalization to each and every one of its customers. Vianel Studios is run by a small team of 6 and brings personalized accessories such as wallets, phone cases, and hats to their customers. Their website allows you to personalize products by putting your name in modern and sleek fonts and allows you to include emojis adding a touch of you to the product. Vianel is completely operated online and they are a huge hit amongst fashion icons around the world. Their products can be seen being worn by Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid, and Travis Scott. Their products are known for their high quality and unique personalization. We definitely enjoyed listening to Andrew’s story and recommend you to check out his website: https://www.vianelnewyork.com/
Jocelyn Galliot, Co-Founder and CEO of Tuckernuck:
Tuckernuck is a unique boutique headquartered in Washington D.C. that focuses on selling new, exciting labels as well as iconic ones to represent the timeless American look. Tuckernuck was founded in 2012 and is run almost entirely online aside from their boutique store in Washington D.C. Their website and store has a bright ambiance and focuses on bringing in a new and fresh take on style every season. Jocelyn spoke of her experience in the financial industry and how her interest in fashion inspired her to open up her own shop. Tuckernuck is close to campus and is an option for anybody looking to try something different from their traditional wardrobe.
Olga Vidisheva, Founder and CEO of Shoptiques
Shoptiques is an online reseller of the world’s best boutique stores. Prior to starting her business, Olga frequently enjoyed going to local boutique stores in countries she traveled to. However, whenever Olga returned back to her home, she was disappointed that she could not visit her favorite boutiques unless she went back to the country the boutique was located in. This problem inspired her to open up Shoptiques.com. Shoptiques partners with over 2,000 boutiques located all over the world and brings their products to an accessible platform available to all customers. Through creating her brand, Olga brought more customers to local boutique stores and gave customers more access to their favorite boutiques. Her website can be found at https://www.shoptiques.com.
Aerin Lauder, Style & Image Director of Estée Lauder Companies and Founder & Creative Director of AERIN:
AERIN is a celebrated luxury lifestyle brand that launched in the fall 2012. The AERIN brand is inspired by the signature effortless style of its founder, Aerin Lauder. Based on the premise that living beautifully should be effortless, the brand develops curated collections in the worlds of beauty, fashion accessories, and home décor. Classic, but always with a modern point of view, every piece is created behind the idea of making life more beautiful, with a sense of ease and refinement. Aerin said "beauty is my heritage, but home decor and fashion accessories are my passion. There was an opportunity in the market for a lifestyle brand based on feminine, modern, and effortless products". Aerin’s goal is to bring ease and beauty into all aspects of life.
She walked us through the inspiration behind her E-commerce activities, what it means to be a lifestyle brand and how to connect great content curation with exciting partnerships with other Brands and experiential retail to drive brand equity and sales. She then went into explaining the important lessons that her grandmother (Mrs. Estée Lauder) taught her and believed in. Mrs. Estée Lauder believed in the courage to take risks, thinking outside the box and taking time to personally interact with the consumers. Those are the same pillars Aerin uses to develop her own brand and business. She explained to us with enthusiasm that her brand was born as a fragrance only brand, however in November 2013 Aerin launched a full collection of Fragrances, not just one product, and the success of this launch made her quickly realize that “people were interested in buying into a lifestyle, as opposed to only a product.” Aerin truly believes that beauty products, fashion accessories and home decor should live together in her brand and that it should develop into an original effortless lifestyle concept. Consumers wants beauty and simplicity. Also, the lifestyle has to be authentic and real, this is why " Authenticity" remains at the center of everything the AERIN Brand Team does under the leadership of Aerin.
Aerin, also touched on her grandmother’s approach to marketing which was “telephone, telegraph, tell a women”, it was the social media concept of that time! As Aerin works through her communication approach she recognizes that today, like at the time of her grandmother, it is very important to understand her customers and the new digital world in which they live. At the same time Aerin is always considering questions like “what kind of people and ideas am I drawn too?" and "what kind of brand would I like to build?” Customers are attracted to strong points of view and want brands that can help them curate their lifestyle.
Aerin still follows her grandmother’s inspiration in communication, adapted to our social media era. Instagram, plays a big role for the AERIN brand. She explained to us how Instagram is “the magical channel” because it helps express her brand visually and it allows Aerin to incorporate lifestyle in every picture. On Instagram, Aerin finds her one-to-one connection with the consumers, she uses this social platform to curate what the customer wants and at the same time it helps her maintain a closer relationship with each one of them. Since Aerin launched Instagram, she has acquired many new customers and created a stronger loyalty base.
Toward the end of this great event, she finished up by sharing with us a truly inspirational lesson from her uncle Leonard Lauder “you need to have a strong visual point of view, this is even more essential today as this is the age of retail.” Aerin’s stores and their retail experience are very important to bring the Brand to life, they serve as an experiential destination to discover, to entertain and to shop.
Aerin impressed all of us with the inspiring way she is building her brand and her original approach to building a relationship with customers. In a short period of time, AERIN has emerged as a distinct voice in the world of beauty, fashion, and home décor.