What is luxury?

images-2Luxury is word tossed around in the start-up world.  A definition I found on luxury is a material object, service, etc., conducive to sumptuous living, usually a delicacy, elegance, or refinement of living rather than a necessity.  When I think of luxury items that is exactly what I think of….something not necessary. 

Luxury brands have been changing for years by going mainstream in order to cast a broader net.  Years ago when all the luxury brands began to expand their wings into any brick and mortar store that they could sell at I remember an experience I had.  I went into Scoop (a “luxury” chain that no longer exists) and tried on a sweater that I liked.  I hemmed and hawed because it was expensive and wasn’t sure I loved it.  The sales person tells me that there are only a few left and I essentially need to decide now.  I was totally turned off and made a mental note to myself that this was not a good sign.

My friend just started a blog called Dandelion Chandelier.  She is writing about the intersection of luxury, technology and marketing.  A worthy read.  She is thinking a lot about the topic of luxury, where it is going and where it has come from.

The product market is changing.  It has to change.  Malls are empty.  Department stores are lost.  Clothing companies like the Gap and Abercrombie are dying.  New brands are being built outside of ready to wear such as home furnishings.  Ready to wear brands need to know who their customer is.  How to create small lines that turn quickly.  If you don’t buy them when you see them they will be gone tomorrow.  Get consumers out of the wait and buy at discount mentality.  It is the small brands that have zeroed in on their customer who can be agile that will win.  They might not be the next $1b brand but that is ok, they are a generation of entrepreneurs who are going to do just fine by owning their own lives, their own businesses and be the leaders in the shifting of consumer spending.