'A stand can be made against invasion by an army; no stand can be made against invasion by an idea.'
Victor Hugo, French writer and poet (1802-85)
It is perplexing to find out that when several practitioners in the luxury goods management are questioned about their business strategies or business models, they often look puzzled. The majority of these managers perceive business models and strategy plans as documents drafted by consultants to be filed away and reproduced during the annual reporting exercise. A senior executive of a luxury brand once told me that if I were interested in evaluating their business strategy plan, he would not hesitate to send a copy of the 'Strategy' to me. When I asked him the main features of the strategy plan, he replied, 'How could I know? I am occupied everyday with managing the company, I don't have enough time to read the Strategy Report.' It was my turn to be puzzled. For this manager, the company's strategy, (which by the way is its lifeline), was represented by a pile of papers stored in a drawer to be retrieved when a Consultant visited. This is part of the reality of the state of luxury fashion management.
Despite the luxury industry's aversion to business strategy development and business modelling, the sector direly needs these tools to aid its strategic direction.
The prospect of developing a business strategy model is often perceived as daunting and intellectually tasking. For this reason business modelling seems to be reserved for eyeglasses-wearing nerds who spend their lives behind a computer in smart business consultancy firms. The task of crafting a business model for the fashion industry is even more difficult to envision. This is because of the wide credence that the creative and business development aspects of fashion are incompatible.
This chapter aims to provide a simple view of business strategy development as a complement to fashion designing. The business modelling process is presented in an easy-to-understand format, even for the most creative minds. If you've enjoyed reading this book so far, you will discover that this chapter will be no less interesting than the rest of the book.
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