Method 4 producing bespoke goods

French luxury cosmetics and fragrance brand Guerlain has been creating exclusive bespoke fragrances for more than two centuries and continues to do so at the Maison Guerlain on Paris' Avenue des Champs Elysées. The process of creating personalized fragrance involves close collaboration with the client to identify their personality, scent preferences and scent memories. This information is used to create the final product, packaged and presented in a Baccarat bottle. The process takes approximately three months and costs an average of €15,000. Needless to say, it is out of the reach of numerous luxury consumers. Guerlain also provides its fragrance made-to-order services to the masses through its mass customization service called the 'Speed Perfumery ' service. In this case, customers choose customized perfumes from six already made scents, which are packaged for them. This is a typical example of the stage of bespoke product provision at most luxury brands.

Bespoke services are also provided by other luxury brands. Gucci has a renowned custom-built service for its leather goods collection, available to E both male and female customers; Ermenegildo Zegna provides excellent o> made-to-measure product services to a wide clientele; and the list goes on to include Louis Vuitton, Prada and Armani, among many others. At the same o time, several other luxury brands have shunned bespoke services as a result w of the inkling that it is a declining retail service that is on the verge of disappearance. This wrong view could have a negative impact on luxury brands that intend to erase bespoke services from their offerings.

Made-to-measure goods have been a core aspect of luxury branding for a long time. However, as previously highlighted, the current level of bespoke services available from the majority of luxury brands is exclusive and restricted. While exclusivity is important in maintaining the prestige aura of the brand, retaining a limited bespoke service without providing a parallel service to a broader consumer base spells of old-fashioned aristocracy. This element is contrary to the attributes that modern luxury consumers seek to identify with.

A luxury brand that has struck a balance between providing exclusive bespoke services and taking customization to the masses, is British leather goods brand, Anya Hindmarch (Figure 8.9). The brand provides a package that addresses the customization yearning of the new luxury consumer and at the same time appeals to the bespoke nostalgia of the old luxury consumer. The brand, which was launched in 1993, offers customized services through two main categories in its product portfolio. The first is the bespoke range called 'Be a Bag', which provides customers with the opportunity to transpose their personal photographs onto a bag, made of different materials. This

Figure 8.9 Anya Hindmarch provides one of the most efficient bespoke services in the luxury sector, through the Bespoke Ebury (above) and the Be A Bag (not shown) collections. The brand has effectively combined the innovation of product customization and personalization provided through its website, to enhance customer satisfaction (May 2006).

Figure 8.9 Anya Hindmarch provides one of the most efficient bespoke services in the luxury sector, through the Bespoke Ebury (above) and the Be A Bag (not shown) collections. The brand has effectively combined the innovation of product customization and personalization provided through its website, to enhance customer satisfaction (May 2006).

Development

Production

Retailing

Delivery

Customized

Customized

Customizable

Standardized

products and

products and

products and

product

services

services

services

delivery

Figure 8.10 The changes in the value chain during the provision of bespoke products and services

Source: Adapted from B. Joseph Pine II (1997) Mass Customization: The New Frontier for

Business Competition.

Note: Coloured areas indicate changes.

Figure 8.10 The changes in the value chain during the provision of bespoke products and services

Source: Adapted from B. Joseph Pine II (1997) Mass Customization: The New Frontier for

Business Competition.

Note: Coloured areas indicate changes.

product costs an average of £200 with a waiting period of approximately three working days. This bespoke service is targeted at a broad consumer group.

The second bespoke range is the more exclusive 'Bespoke Ebury'. It offers customers the opportunity to provide a message that is discreetly embossed onto the leather of a bag, in silver or gold, in the buyer's own handwriting. If the bag is intended as a gift, the name of the person it has been made for is also embossed on the bag. A wide variety of materials, colours and hardware choices are provided for this. Each bag has a unique number with a record of the maker and the batch of skin it was made from. This bespoke collection is premium-priced, ranging from £800 to above £6,000, depending on the materials used. There is also a waiting time of four months for delivery of the Bespoke Ebury. Although the high cost of the Bespoke Ebury narrows its market, the bespoke services of the brand are available to all consumers and can be ordered through a few clicks of the mouse on the brand's website.

The provision of bespoke services affects the company's value chain on the levels of product development, manufacturing and retailing (Figure 8.10). This is sometimes extended to the delivery of the products, but since bespoke products already utilize a complete customized process they are often delivered using standardized methods.

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