The luxury syndrome is infectious and the cure to it is something I have been hunting for. No, the effort is not to kill the syndrome but spread the infection from classes to masses, thereby bringing a quality lifestyle all across. I have attended various luxury conferences, breakfast forums, roundtables only to gather the two minds of the luxury consumers i.e. the Aspirationals and the UHNW individuals. And today we take the honor to have Lorre White, a luxury media personality known as “The Luxury Guru” with us sharing her views on the growing social class of rich that identifies a schism between the rich and the uber-rich.
CEO of White Light Consulting, Lorre was born and raised in Virginia and has been on NBC, ABC, Fox National, CNN MONEY, a guest on radio and frequently contributes to luxury magazines. Her debut on television leads her to create the luxury video podcast channel that was unveiled Feb. 2008 on iTunes called The LUXURY CHANNEL. Lorre is a member of numerous elite international private online social networking clubs like aSW (A Small World), Deycanne, Button Club, SQUA.RE, etc, several of them also air Lorre’s Luxury video shows to entertain and educate their elite clientele.
She has explored various segments of luxury industry from luxury marketing to modeling, Wall Street trading, syndicating thoroughbred race horses, working to create the NBA airline, to managing marketing/sales of the BBJ 737-700’s M-Club for NetJets/Marquis Jets.
Share with us the moment when you were first honored as a “The Luxury Guru”?
Early on in my media work as a luxury media personality my Publicist informed that the network was using “The Luxury Guru” as my title for the graphics for my next appearance. That they were using “The Luxury Guru” instead of just “Luxury Guru” as the second implied that there were others. I appear on television, radio, magazines as a luxury expert all the time. One time I am speaking about yachts, the next time perfume, the next fashion. They needed a short succinct title to use for introductions and graphics (printed title flashed on screen). Since I speak on many topics, but they are all luxury, I got dubbed “The Luxury Guru”. Because it was humorous….it just stuck.
What does luxury mean to you?
It is really the yogic philosophy to fully taste, smell, and feel the moment in its full splendor. It is about being present. If you live each moment only to get to the next, at the end of your life you will find you have not really lived. When you fully savor each sip of wine and can taste the essence of the lavender and the apple tree that grew next to the vineyard, than you are experiencing the moment fully. When you walk the dog and you hear the birds sing or, in NYC, hear the sirens blaring or notice the happy wag of your dog’s tail as she greets others in her full state of being, then you are truly in the moment. Extracting the full flavor out of each moment is the recognition of the luxury in that moment of time. Luxuries are the art form of living, and are what lifts us above mere existence. I believe that luxury is not about amassing quantity in life; it is about living life to the fullest. Luxury is anything we do above simple survival. Luxury is what brings comfort, enjoyment and creates lasting life memories. Luxury is for everyone.
What remains your key clientele – Luxury producers/brands or consumers? Name a few across both verticals for us.
I have two jobs in the luxury market and for most purposes they are completely unrelated to each other. I am a Luxury Marketing Consultant working with companies that need to reach the world’s wealthiest 2% globally. All of my clients on the consulting side are companies. For confidentiality purposes I am not allowed by contract to share who all my clients are. However, there are several that have been public about it like NetJets, Marquis Jets, SeaGate Travel, NBA, etc. I have worked in many facets of the luxury market from travel to fashion, syndicating thoroughbred race horses, high end events, private banking, to starting the NBA airline, consulting with luxury product and service companies internationally about ways to go after and maintain a relationship with this type of clientele. I have worked in a diverse range of companies that were all catering to the luxury consumer.
Now large universities like HEC even offer specific Luxury MBAs.
The second thing I do is that I am the only international luxury media personality. I use my expertise in luxury to educate viewers, listeners, or readers depending on the media format, about the different luxuries. I have been compared to Martha Stewart for the rich: “Martha for the Masses…Lorre for the Classes!”
Everyone loves luxury! People with wealth want to know about the best in every category and they want to learn in a forum where their lack of knowledge does not leave them embarrassed. My shows are educational entertainment and I take the viewer along with me to experience and learn about different luxuries and different brands. I am a trusted luxury insider and experienced in reaching the wealthy demographic. Peer to peer is the most effective way to reach this unique group.
I have been successful where others have failed because other sites tried just running content without a personality, and it just became a series of ads, as there was no feeling of trust by the viewers. The power of the personality is seen when Oprah mentions some obscure book and the next day it is on the top sellers list. A trusted media personality is what creates the invitation to return, the trust that you can believe what is being presented, and gives power to the channel. I am the only luxury media personality and I have a long success record of working in the luxury field.
I am on many shows and many media formats as “The Luxury Guru”. There was a web based show that I ran to prove my point to clients and investors, that luxury were ready for the web. I had 3 shows a week and it hit featured status in record time on itunes. We do plan to take this concept and raise the quality of the production and higher service standards than itunes.
When did you first bought or was gifted with an item that you consider as your first luxury?
Probably as a young child certain candies that I could only get at certain times of the year or in certain places when we traveled.
What are your 5 observations from the past decade that can be useful for luxury brands and affluent consumers for this decade?
5 items that make an elite brand stay elite :
Because it appeals to the consumer, it is a necessity for the brand. It is what defines true luxury.
Luxury is the art of living. It is what we do that is above survival. It is the best of a category so it is always changing and improving yet keeping its valued heritage. Luxury is growing and as the BRIC countries develop there will be enormous expanse in the luxury sector.
Which luxury books you have read so far? Any near plans to author one?
I read massive amounts of luxury data daily as a luxury marketing consultant. By the time it becomes a book that is suited for the general population…it is pretty much old news by the industry standard.
I have been approached to write a book, but at this point I don’t really have the time or immediate interest. This could change at some point in the future.
Who forms the key segment of the luxury consumer market: UHNW individuals/ Old Rich or the Creators of new money/New Rich?
92% of the UHNW (Ultra High Net Worth) individuals world wide (with a minimum of $30 Million in liquid assets) is new money, and 80% of those have had it 10 years or less. There are less than 100,000 of these people globally. The top 2% controls 50% of the global wealth. Luxury brands that use to just be able to ride on their reputation, must now aggressively educate these individuals about their brand. These individual did not grow up with the old luxury brands. I educate them on being able to distinguish the differences from a trusted and qualified source.
The UHNW has the lowest response rate to traditional ads and they respond best to the influence of peers; my shows/articles/blog are affective in reaching this group. I have a recognized and established brand and when a fan takes the time to read my work they trust that it is time well spent. My experience in private aviation from SeaGate Travel (the 10th largest travel company in the US with a private charter division), one of the creators of the NBA airline (used by the White House staff & reporters off season), head of global marketing for NetJets/Marquis Jets BBJ program and as a luxury marketing consultant to many luxury brands including several private jet companies, has resulted in my having a large private wealthy aviation following. My fans are predominantly very wealthy. They have an interest in learning about the best luxuries in every category. They trust The Luxury Guru, Lorre White to do the collecting of interesting and informational articles about luxury that is specifically relevant to their UHNW wants/needs. My luxury blog is unique, as it is the only source of luxury news with a trusted identifiable and qualified luxury professional.
If you were to do a research on some luxury segment then who would be your targeted audience a) average income $3,00,000 or the aspirationals busy making new money? Where lies the substance for luxury brands to focus on their strategy or meet the consumer demands?
Aspirational does not mean new money. It means that they have enough to sample the luxury life style. There are levels of aspirational consumers that are everywhere from “middle middle” of the 9 levels to Lower upper. That is a very big range. They can buy a purse, a pair of shoes, take a 2 week vacation and stay in a 5 star hotel, drink a $700 bottle of wine on special occasions…..but not everyday like those who have the wealth to enjoy all forms of luxury to its fullest daily.
Very few people even know what “Class Marketing/ Luxury Marketing” is. The best market to go after depends on the market needs for that specific product of service and price point.
Everyone loves luxury and fashion is a popular way for the middle classes to sample the lifestyle. The reason is simply that the price point allows more people to participate. Up to 80% of the fashion industry’s profit is derived from the aspirational consumer. They cannot afford a $ 25 Million jet or a $40 Million dollar yacht, but they can buy a designer purse, a pair of shoes, a tie, a bottle of perfume and other small items that allow them to “feel the luxury”, and to show others that they have achieved a certain status by wearing designer apparel. Most of the luxury sector eliminates the middle classes do to price point and thus have an exclusive UHNW consumption. This is why FaceBook Fan pages, and other mass social networking sites, are effective in the fashion industry.
Blue chip products are the best of the mass market, but luxury items are in a category to themselves. Any true luxury marketer understands the difference between blue chip and luxury. How a product or service is marketed will often determine how the consumer perceives which category that it falls within.
Although designer clothing needs to be marketed as a luxury to keep the branding needed to have the aspirationals desire association through purchasing their produces……it also needs to reach the middle economic demographics that are the majority of their consumers. In other words they need to appeal to the middle market by seeming to not be part of the middle market, but instead part of the higher luxury sector reserved for UHNWs exclusively. Luxury marketing requires a unique balancing act to create successful marketing strategies for the designer fashion sector because it is not completely in either the mass, or the luxury sector, by definition.
Where do you see luxury industry by next decade 2020?
Booming. Everyone loves luxury. Money may shift from one group of people to another or one country to another….but wealth always exists. Those that have it, want to enjoy all that life has to offer. Luxuries are something that we can all enjoy. The UHNW just don’t have to pick and choose which luxuries that they can afford; as such they can enjoy more of them. The Golden Age Of Hollywood was during the great depression; Luxury faired the depression well. As we come out of the global recession the highest end of the luxury world is leading the charge. It is the middle classes that get hit the hardest during a financial crisis. As travel makes the world a smaller and smaller place, the luxury market will shine.
List down your five favorite posts you have written till date over your blog or across the internet.
Share with us one hidden truth/fact about you that is still not disclosed to your luxury audience. It could be a silly truth or a mystery until now.
I think that everyone knows that I love champagne, that I am a big dog lover and promote “spay/neuter, rescue adopt” programs. I adore my rescued blue weimarenar Bella! Lets see….my favorite colors are pink and purple. I love leopard print, and I am uncharacteristically a surprisingly loud sneezer. : ))
This was answered somewhat before. It serves the fashion industry well in bring fashion to the aspirationals on the web. The aspirational is a very large group of people.
Whenever you see the word discount, sale, coupon, etc….you know that you are on a site for aspirationals. As I stated earlier fashion relies on the aspirational market for 80% of its revenues. Fashion needs to get to the web and the lower fashion brands do not worry about the association. But there is brand eliteness even within the luxury sector. Coach has outlets and runs sales and Louis Vuitton would eat their excess inventory instead of running a sale. That is one reason Coach is at the low end of the luxury fashion market and LV is at the top.
Who is your ideal man/woman from the luxury industry and why? Speaking purely as a professional representing his company, the world’s largest conglomerate CEO, Bernard Arnault.
Everyone loves luxury. The great thing about it is that the story is interesting….and the story behind the story is interesting. There are so many different aspects from the product technology and design, to the brands, to the high profile users. The different sites share different aspects of the luxury sector which offers something for everyone!