Luxury brands offer VIP perks with sales to counter slow down

For the inauguration of its new store in New York at the end of this month, Italian fashion house Valentino is inviting regular people to rub elbows with the stars — if they’re willing to pay for the experience.  Like many of its peers, Valentino has discovered that $2.000 bags and to-die-for pumps are no longer enough to keep sales growing. Instead, these companies are starting to offer experiences alongside their wares, expecting that customers who have visited a workshop or met the designer will develop stronger ties to the brand and buy more goods.

Often what the brands offer is early access to products that non-VIPs wouldn’t otherwise be able to get. And these are sometimes available only in specific stores for a limited time. Lanvin has made at least five black python handbags priced at 2,525 pounds ($4,000) available at its store on Mount Street in London before Feb. 28. Spanish luxury house Loewe is presenting its Ana Hobo handbag until Jan. 31 exclusively in its Macau store, one month before it’s distributed worldwide.

Gucci is taking the idea a step further, inviting its biggest spenders to fashion shows, equestrian events and the Cannes Film Festival. And the company, owned by PPR has started offering tours of its Florence workshop to a broader list of customers.

Valentino, Loewe and a dozen other brands are working with a company called Luxup to give shoppers the VIP treatment. Introduced in September, the startup pitches itself as an online club for travelers with a love of luxury and fashion, offering tickets to fashion shows, exclusive collections, or the chance to get sought-after products before they hit stores.

adapted from Bloomberg

Loewe store