Georges Vuitton turned his family business, Louis Vuitton, into a global phenomenon. He implemented a philosophy of growing the luxury brand yet remaining exclusive. From the monogram to retail, he introduced a fresh approach to delivering a luxury experience and guiding fundamentals for luxury brands everywhere on how to create a lasting legacy.
At the age of 70, his father, Louis Vuitton, left a passion for excellence in craftsmanship and design. His son, Georges Vuitton, now set his sights on establishing a family legacy. Following in the steps of his craftsman-turned-entrepreneur father, Louis Vuitton, Georges Vuitton cracked the code on growth.
Having worked closely with his father, Louis Vuitton, he'd invented the Tumbler Lock, an innovative sensation that made travel safer. His father's first foray into global luxury at the 1867 Paris Exhibition exposed the brand to an international clientele. Now, leading the organization, Georges was instrumental in taking the luxury brand onto an entirely new stage.
Georges Vuitton Continues the Louis Vuitton Legacy
Georges Vuitton was the only heir to the Louis Vuitton legacy - without him, there would not be one. As the second generation to now run the business, he was the businessman of the operation, taking great care in polishing the foundation his father left behind.
He created the first modern luxury brand, a global icon that today lays claim to over 160 years of history, and implemented many of the best practices we consider standards for luxury brands today.
His father, Louis Vuitton, lived an eventful life, and his memory was preserved through the work of his son, Georges Vuitton. The latter shaped and cemented the family-owned company as a sophisticated brand for travel enthusiasts.
Louis Vuitton in America
In 1893, just a year after his father's death, Georges traveled to the United States for the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, passing through the historic Ellis Island on his journey. The exposition honored the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus' arrival to the Americas. Over 27 million people attended the exposition during its six-month run, three times that of the Universal Exhibition in Paris, only 26 years earlier.
The exposition profoundly affected architecture, the arts, and sanitation and was hailed as a highly influential, social, and cultural event. Georges would travel to the United States on several more occasions, making it possible for Louis Vuitton to leave its home in France and be sold internationally for the very first time.
How To Make Your Brand Exclusive
Louis Vuitton trunks solved significant challenges for travelers of the day, but eventually, copycats entered the market, mimicking Louis Vuitton's boxy and waterproof design. The brand needed to differentiate itself from the copycats in the market, and Georges had the perfect solution.
LV: A Timeless Brand Identity
Using his father's initials, Georges created a print that made an authentic Louis Vuitton product instantly recognizable. Still part of the brand identity today, the LV helped protect the brand from counterfeits, but most of all, it made it memorable. So, four years after Louis Vuitton's death, his son, Georges Vuitton, introduced the LV monogram print.
Luxury Pricing Strategy
Georges developed a new philosophy that would later be formalized in business schools as the luxury pricing strategy. A standard set by the Louis Vuitton brand and still followed by luxury brands today is to never lower prices or offer discounts, instead increasing prices as demand increases.
The seeds of a product universe began to take shape, and in 1901, the Steamer Bag was introduced as a smaller piece of luggage designed to fit inside the luggage trunks.
How To Create A Luxury Experience
From luxury retail to publishing, Georges Vuitton broadened the audience and influence of the Louis Vuitton brand. He established the practices of their family business as tradition and connected the brand to the broader culture. Developing tactics to understand and delight their clients, alongside his son, Gaston-Louis Vuitton, they turned the knowledge of three generations into a model for luxury brands to follow on their journey to success.
The Gifting Strategy
Finding opportunities to surprise their best clients or VIPs, the Vuitton men created out-of-the-box campaigns to imbue the client-brand relationship with meaning. In 1910, Georges, now with his eldest son, Gaston-Louis Vuitton, made mini Louis Vuitton trunks with the iconic LV monogram canvas and filled them with bouquets of fresh flowers.
They were delivered to their best customers as an exclusive item that was not available for sale. It was a new way to reward customers and thank them for their business and trust. The Louis Vuitton brand keeps a database of customers to understand how to serve them better, keep track of their creations, and make finding opportunities to enhance their experience an easier task.
The Luxury Flagship
Luxury retail isn't just a place to shop but a destination for the brand where one can experience and live the brand ethos. By 1913, the Louis Vuitton brand launched its flagship, a physical mecca on Champs-Élysées, the historic promenade home to the Arc de Triomphe. Its location, as well as size, was intentionally grand. At its time, the Louis Vuitton flagship was the largest travel goods store in the world.
Georges Vuitton was instrumental in placing Louis Vuitton in the history books. Another lasting practice from his time is the curating and telling of the brand's own story. Georges debuted Le Voyage in 1901. The travel book was beautifully, artistically designed and printed only in French.
The book became an incredible resource on the history of travel. Today, the Louis Vuitton City Guide is the modern evolution of Le Voyage, with books that highlight cities around the globe, including Hong Kong, Tokyo, Los Angeles, and Barcelona.
From Louis Vuitton To LVMH
After Georges Vuitton's passing in 1936, his son, Gaston-Louis Vuitton, continued the luxury brand's reign. As the third and final generation of Vuitton men to lead the brand, Georges Vuitton managed Louis Vuitton for 50 years, cementing a legacy through the luxury conglomerate LVMH as a luxury powerhouse.