Louis Vuitton (LV) is one of the world’s most legendary barns and is synonymous with images of luxury, wealth and fashion. The company is known for its iconic handbags, leather goods, shoes, watches, jewelry, accessories, and sunglasses, and is the highest-ranked luxury brand in the world.
It was 1854 when LV opened his first store in Paris and sold handmade, high-quality trunks and luggage. In the late 19th century, LV introduced his signature Damier and Monogram Canvas materials, featuring the famous design still used in most of the company’s products today. Throughout the 20th century, the company that carries his name continued to grow internationally, expanding into the fashion world by the 190’s and reaching $10 million in sales by 1977. In 1987, LV merged with Moet et Chandon and Hennessy, leading manufacturers of champagne and cognac, and created LVMH, a luxury goods conglomerate.
LVs products are made with state-of –the-art materials and its designers are a combination of art, precision, and craftsman to produce only the finest products. The legendary LV monogram appears on all the company’s products and stand for the highest quality, premium status, and luxury travel. Over the years, however, counterfeiting has become a huge problem and one of the LVs most difficult challenges. LV is one of the most counterfeited brands in the world, and the company takes the problem very seriously because it feels that counterfeits dilute its prestigious brand image. LV employs a full team of lawyers and fights counterfeiting in a variety of ways with special agencies and investigative teams.
Until the 1980s, LV products were available in a wide variety of department stores. However, to reduce the risk of counterfeiting, the company now maintains tighter control over its distribution channels. Today, it sells its products only through authentic LV boutiques located in upscale shopping areas and high-end department stores, all run independently with their own employees and managers. LV prices are never reduced, and only recently did the company start selling through louisvuitton.com in hopes of reaching new consumers and regions.
Over the years, a wide variety of high-profile celebrities and supermodels have used LV products, including Madonna, Audrey Hepburn, and Jennifer Lopez. In its marketing efforts, the company has used high-fashion celebrities, billboards, print ads, and its own international regatta – the LV Cup. Recently, LV broke tradition and featured non-traditional celebrities’ such as Steffi Graf, Mikhail Gorbachev, Buzz Aldrin, and Keith Richards in a campaign entitled “Core Values.” LV also launched its first television commercial focused on luxury traveling rather than fashion and has formed new partnerships with international artists, museums, and cultural organizations in hopes of keeping the brand fresh. That said, LV still spends up to 60 hours making one piece of luggage by hand – the same way it did 150 years ago.
Today, LV holds a brand value of $26 billion according to Forbes and is ranked the 17th most powerful global brand according to Interbrand. The company is focused on expanding its luxury brand into growing markets such as China and India as well as continuing to grow in strong markets like Japan and Europe. It also continues to add new product lines to its portfolio.
1. How does an exclusive brand such as LV grow and stay fresh while retaining its cachet? 2. Is the counterfeiting of LV always a negative? Are there any circumstances where it can be seen as having some positive aspects?