Written by Master in Luxury Retail Management students

On Tuesday March 2nd, the 2010-2011 class of the Master in Luxury Retail Management went for a study trip to Paris. They have the chance to visit a couple of luxury companies.

Our first visit of the day was the Ralph Lauren flagship store located in Saint Germain (in the 6th arrondissement). Our guide, Brigitta Zitzman, made the experience truly amazing. Additionally, the building itself is a piece of art, and the decoration combines classical styles with more contemporary ones. The lunch break at “Ralph’s” restaurant was very also pleasant.

In the afternoon we entered the world of jewelry, and especially the world of Victoire de Castellane, who is one of Dior’s three top jewelry designers.

We were so mesmerized by the objects and the passion of the boutique manager that we didn’t even notice when Oscar winner Marion Cotillard entered the store!

By the end of the day and the two visits, it was clear to us that passion is one of the key elements in job performance as well as job satisfaction.

On our second day in Paris we met with Ozzy Monaco and an explanation of our “duty” of the day. We were to evaluate the Luxury and Fashion world (your role in your hotel and Boutique visits is to portray yourself as a client as you obtain data for your benchmarking analysis based on: seeing & listening, facts & feelings, retaining & writing). But before beginning the exercise, a visit to the Crillon Palace Hotel was scheduled!

When we arrived, a panel of photographers was in front of the entrance waiting for us! Well, not really for us but probably for the guests of the Balenciaga runway show hosted by the Crillon.

For this visit we were divided in two groups. One was guided by Mr. Wassim Mathlouthi (Head of the Sales Department for the Middle East) and the other by Mrs. Emmanuelle Audon (Deputy Guest Relations Manager). This visit of one of the oldest and most luxurious palaces in the world was rich in learning about hotel management and customer relationship management.

The day continued with visiting a host of boutiques. Many of us decided to follow the Boulevard Saint Honoré after the Faubourg Saint Honoré and meet by Colette. From there we headed towards the Fendi Press Showroom located near Avenue Montaigne. There we discovered another part of the promotion of a brand, through press and magazines.

This day’s learning was that regardless of a company’s age or standing, happiness is the main focus for maximizing success.

Our third and final day in Paris was dedicated to the visit of one of the most famous department stores in the world, Les Galleries Lafayette Haussmann.
The tour was more oriented on the history of the building, as well as on the relationship between the business and the art displayed in the Galleries Lafayette.

But the important moment of the day was lunch with Thierry Fiastre, (Vice President of Finance and Development Projects for Kenzo). This lunch was one of the peaks of the Paris trip. Mr. Fiastre was eager to share his background and his notable achievements (including the acquisition of Fendi by LVMH as well as the development of the Berlutti shoe brand) with us. It was very motivating for us.

That day’s learning was simple and strong: to pursue our goals no matter the obstacles.

The 2011 MLUX Retail class would like to warmly thank all those who helped organize this trip.