“The luxury industry is built on a paradox: the more desirable the brand becomes, the more it sells but the more it sells, the less desirable it becomes! I believe Hermès’ vision provides a solution to the dilemma: we will remain committed to the best quality materials, the best craftsmanship, sustained creativity, and style.”
You are a top-of-the-range luxury brand that successfully beat recession and in 2010 went on to record its best ever figures ($ EU 2.4 billion in sales). To whom or what does the brand owe this performance?
Unequivocally, Hermès’ performance has been driven by strategic consistency since 1837, combining excellent creativity and craftsmanship, as well as a determination to never risk compromising the long term for a short term benefit.
Hermès has already made its mark in new markets through market specific launches. Could you elaborate on how this links in with a larger brand strategy in emerging markets?
Hermès has been expanding continuously since the beginning of the 20th century, but even more so in the last 20 years. When the house enters a new market, it does so with the very same approach that has proven to be successful in the past – being itself and offering the same products to every store. The only variation from country to country, in fact from store to store, is that store directors have the freedom to tailor their store offer to the expectations of their customers. We never create products that are country specific. The biggest challenge of expanding on an international scale is the need to increase our production capacity while maintaining the standards of excellence that are vital to our strategy.
From scarves to chinaware and now furniture, how does the brand construct and manage such a diverse product portfolio while still delivering a coherent brand story and experience?
Hermès has always ensured that when increasing our diversity, we constantly monitor the relevance and consistency of these developments. This relevance comes through Hermès’ ability to acquire a new and excellent craftsmanship that will complement the know-how it already possesses. The consistency is then ensured by the creativity of the Hermès teams and a respect for the unique, and recognizable Hermès style.
Vogue reported on 29 May 2012 that HERMÈS has named a new CEO, enlisted from within the family that controls the label. Patrick Thomas, the current chief executive officer of Hermès, announced at the annual shareholders’ meeting today that Axel Dumas - a member of the sixth generation of the Hermès family - will succeed him upon his retirement.
Dumas, currently chief operating officer, will become joint CEO and COO from next month - and will work alongside Thomas during a transition period.
The label also revealed that Bertrand Puech - the executive chairman of Emile Hermès Sarl, which represents family shareholders - will also step down, WWD reports, and will be succeeded by his nephew Henri-Louis Bauer.