Bringing our attention and glamour seeking eyes to the harsh realities of luxury, the book titled 'Sustainable Luxury and Social Entrepreneurship' is an impressive and persuasive read!
By: Soumya Jain
Posted on: September 26, 2014
Sustainable Luxury is probably a vague term in everyone’s mind. You know what sustainable means, but ‘sustainable luxury’? Miguel Angel Gardetti and Maria Eugenia Giron not only helped me to make a proper definition, but also showed its necessity and examples where it can be a viable business option for luxury brand owners and managers!
As I leafed through their book, ‘Sustainable Luxury and Social Entrepreneurship: Stories from the Pioneers’, each page inspired me. Citing instances of destruction and extinction, and the ways which companies and brands have adopted to reverse them, the book made for an informative morning read.
Aptly, the book defines the sustainability of a brand by traceability. Can you trace back to where the product is made, by whom, and with what? That will help you in ensuring a sustainable brand according to the editors. Mr Gardetti, very profoundly, mentions that sustainable luxury is taking luxury back to its original meaning.
Unputdownable, the book served as a reminder of how exclusive bags don’t have to necessarily be made of crocodile bags to make money, but have to be more respectful towards humanity and nature to be able to survive.
The book starts with a short and powerful foreword by Oskar Metsavaht, founder and CEO of Osklen, on entrepreneurship and how it has to go hand-in-hand with originality. A Brazilian brand which sells winter coats, Mr Metsavaht chose to promote the ideals of Brazil rather than dispelling them like many do today.
Introductions by Mr Gardetti and Ms Giron are quite eye opening as they highlight examples, case studies and surveys.
“The most scarce and desirable commodity today is a healthy planet, one that brims with a diversity of life forms, clean air to breathe and clear water to enjoy. Essentially a planet just as we have known it or better, for our children and grandchildren and our grandchildren’s grandchildren.”
Saying this, Ms Giron strikes a note which communicates the importance of the planet more than anything. Class, exclusivity, riches - they all come later in the life cycle. Understanding this, brands like Ermenegildo Zegna and Loro Piana have stepped up to do their bit. The editors explain their work in detail as they tell about their efforts in increasing the population of vicunas, from a shocking 5,000 to 350,000. As a mead to their good work, LVMH recently acquired Loro Piana, raising their brand equity significantly! Similarly, Tiffany & Co. has made a conscious decision to stop producing coral jewelry to preserve the few coral reefs in the world.
The editors have, then, invited some entrepreneurs with sustainable luxury brands to tell their story. They have specifically chosen brands and companies which have crossed the first levels of uncertainty and are now financially successful ventures. Interestingly, they have also given a financial chart of all these companies, which highlight their turnover and profits to prove so.
These entrepreneur stories are educative, inspiring and so real, that you can almost imagine these people sitting in front of you and telling their incredible journeys. People like you and me, devoid of any glamour, you can absolutely relate to their tales, written in their own, non-academic language - a feature which I greatly appreciate.
Belts, bags and accessories made of fire hose; a unique product which you can trace to its weaver and creator; cosmetics made of pure, natural ingredients; products made of the long lost Peruvian wool…these are just some examples of what sustainable luxury entrepreneurs have bought to the table - and successfully. I only wish their were some color photographs of these products which encouraged me to dream on for a better world.
Not choosing to give more details about these brands and companies, I would highly recommend purchasing this book, sitting in a corner wrapped in a shawl and keeping a freshly brewed coffee next to you. It can give those hot selling fiction thrillers a run for their money!
Sustainable Luxury and Social Entrepreneurship: Stories From the Pioneers
Miguel Angel Gardetti and María Eugenia Girón
May 2014 | £25.00 | Greenleaf Publishing