Luxury brands have long held a steady market among affluent consumers. However, a look at the most prominent brands today shows that established names that have been around for 80 years or more are on top of the game.
One question then arises: is there still room for young luxury brands to step up and make a name for themselves in the business? Or will the luxury industry continue to be ruled by brands that have been around for almost a century?
Luxury startups are proving that it is still possible to make a dent amidst the presence of bigger brands. The challenges arise in capturing today’s consumers, who are more scrutinizing than ever before.
What It Takes to Build a Luxury Startup that Lasts
As time passes, younger buyers are also showing interest in luxury brands. This poses new challenges in attracting this new customer base and staying relevant to their needs and demands, especially through major events such as the pandemic.
Know what competitors and other brands are doing
First, it pays to know what other luxury brands are doing to bring in new customers. See how heritage brands have remained a go-to across generations by paying attention to the ways in which they have evolved and what has remained the same.
While looking at various luxury brands is certainly helpful research, look closely at brands that will also become your competitors.
For instance, if you are building a luxury jewelry brand, look at big names such as Cartier, Bvlgari, and Tiffany & Co. What products are most in demand—trilogy engagement rings, necklaces, or maybe bracelets? How have their designs changed or stayed the same?
The decisions these big-name brands make will tell you how they have managed to remain timeless through the decades and what consumers are interested in today.
Offer a customized consumer experience
The consumers of the future are particular about a personalized experience. Luxury brands are no exception to this expectation.
One way that brands such as Gucci and Dior have responded to this is by allowing customization for their products. Customers can avail themselves of the option to personalize bags and other items by labeling them with their initials.
The in-store experience should offer more than just products on display, too. Louis Vuitton Maison Seoul, the brand’s South Korean flagship store, is a fitting example of how luxury brands have created a full experience for their customers. The store houses not only the brand’s products but also curated artwork and furniture that visitors can view as they shop.
Adopt this same for your luxury startup by creating a memorable experience from when customers shop to when they receive the product.
Be mindful of your environmental impact
Younger consumers are much more particular about how the materials of the products they purchase are sourced and made. Be one in the pursuit of sustainability by using durable luxury materials that do not harm the planet and paying your workers a fair wage.
You can clearly see the impact of the younger generation’s consciousness of social and environmental issues on luxury brands in Billie Eilish’s 2021 Met Gala appearance. The musician wore an Oscar de la Renta number to the event on the condition that the brand stops using fur. Like Eilish, who is a vocal supporter of animal welfare, the young people of today take their advocacies seriously.
Be transparent in how you create products from your brand. This is a show of authenticity and social responsibility that will not just leave a good impression on your customers but also positively impact society and the environment.
Team up with other brands and ambassadors
Collaborations with other luxury brands and relevant public figures can put your luxury startup on the map and help establish it as a credible brand that many luxury shoppers will trust.
One approach is to partner with a fellow luxury startup or even a more well-known brand for a capsule collection that merges your design aesthetics to create something unique. Tap celebrities to model your designs and give them a star power boost, too. Saint Laurent, for instance, named Rosé of K-pop supergroup Blackpink, its newest global ambassador in 2020.
Competition is fierce among luxury startups hoping to make a dent in their respective industries, but it is entirely possible to build a brand that makes its mark on the consumer of today. Just focus on creating a brand experience that speaks to your consumers in a unique way, and you pave your own path towards success.