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In fact, after that first purchase, the collection of luxury bags has kept on increasing. Its India store count is way below China's 45 and in the US. It was done so subtly and elegantly that no one took umbrage and the brand slipped into the Indian subconscious almost as if it had always been there. Of course, it would be so much easier if the customer knew when to stop. It is also the heritage associated with the brand that makes it so appealing to loyalists. Tikka Shatrujit Singh, advisor to Louis Vuitton India , says people with old money always knew about the brand, but the challenge was to reach out to new clients such as young professionals and entrepreneurs. Today, the young Mumbai lawyer's wardrobe is filled with Louis Vuitton scarves, stoles, cufflinks, sunglasses and handbags. I went to buy my Mansur Gavriel, while I was carrying the Louis Vuitton bag and they [the store attendants] spoke to me like I was a discerning member of the fashion industry. There are several young individuals making Rs lakh a month," says Singh, who has been associated with the brand since
Louis Vuitton made a lot of sense to the Maharaja Jagatjit Singh of Kapurtala, who owned as many as 60 trunks in the early s. Handling their subjects with delicately-gloved hands, these experts use dental mirrors, cultural knowledge and trained eyes to delve into the minutiae of stitching, zippers, among other things, to confirm authenticity.
Government measures such as the November note ban, mandatory sharing of customer PAN details for cash transactions exceeding Rs 50, and a 1 per cent luxury tax on items worth more than Rs 2 lakh were expected to hit business in the luxury market. What is found posturing in the window displays of air-conditioned malls is available just as surely at pavement shops as first copy Louis Vuitton.
There are several young individuals making Rs lakh a month," says Singh, who has been associated with the brand since But the reason for its success lies in more than its larger-than-life brand launches.
For the rich, waterproof and fireproof Louis Vuittons that come at a starting price of Rs 45, for a wallet-sized bag, make for a valuable and durable investment that is often passed down generations.
LV recognised this early. The average store size in India is 3, sq ft, significantly lower than stores abroad, which range between 6, sq ft and 15, sq ft.
LVMH, which sells luxury handbags, fashion and other leather goods and perfumes and cosmetics, reported a profit after tax of over Rs 8 crore compared with Rs 5 crore in the previous year for Louis Vuitton India Retail Pvt Ltd. In the s, Indian royalty would order custom-made trunks from Paris.
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Its expansion plans are crimped by lack of luxury retail space in the country. The counterfeit market, quick to sniff out this downslide, has switched loyalties to the newest retail darling, Michael Kors. Government measures such as the November note ban, mandatory sharing of customer PAN details for cash transactions exceeding Rs 50, and a 1 per cent luxury tax on items worth more than Rs 2 lakh were expected to hit business in the luxury market. The collaborations have thrown up a bag with pebble shaped holes and a punching bag with matching gloves. A photo of Mother Mary and Ganesha live comfortably inside, along with a handkerchief, house keys and half an onion every now and then. But popularity comes at a price. Soon, Vuitton established himself in Paris as a master innovator and went on to create improvements to luggage, some of which are still used today, like the single tumbler lock. In the next five to 10 years, they will comprise the majority of our customer base. Louis Vuitton India is likely to have included business generated through retail stores in the country and sales from its signature Louis Vuitton handbags. Soon after its entry, several big names such as Giorgio Armani, Gucci and Salvatore Ferragamo also set up shop in the country. But it was also to ensure that the copycats could not muscle into its territory.
RealReal, a company based in New York, employs gemologists, horologists, art curators and brand authenticators who can guarantee a shopper that their Birkins, Celines and Louis Vuittons are, well, real.
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