A life of luxury

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A shot of Indonesian espresso in a French glass, resting on the counter in Bali during a cultural festival. It was delicious.
  1. Luxuries used to be consumables.  People would buy thinks that conspicuously displayed their status.
  2. Luxuries can still be consumables today, but people are switching to experiential luxuries – the LVMH purchase of Belmond is a recognition of that fact.
  3. There is no set definition of luxury. What is luxurious can be redefined – not just brands, but market sectors. The LVMH purchase is smart, but it is not enough to save them long term – they need more than a hotel chain to keep growing.
  4. What I notice with this is that people are seeing unique experiences – a weekend away from their daily lives, for example – as the luxury to be consumed.  In other words, they’re consuming something that is different than what they have every day.
  5. I think the next phase of luxury will be the consumption of experiential items – everyday items that, while they might be luxurious in their own right, also offer experiences that might change day-to-day or year-to-year.  People used to see an option of buying a cheap, unfinished IKEA pine chair or a comparatively expensive Wegner; then they forgot about chairs and decided a trip to Iceland would look better on Instagram.  The next round of luxurious consumption will be the purchase of a chair, probably expensive but perhaps not, that will offer both provenance and heritage as well as change over the years as a user interacts with it in their daily life.  Rather than see the choice between a pleather jacket and a mink coat, then deciding instead to get selfies on a sled ride in the Siberian tundra, people will go to a tannery, pick the leather, design the jacket, and then wear it for years, seeing the change as they oil it themselves.  These experiences will be the USP.
  6. This requires a daily mindfulness and appreciation of small things.  That’s part of the core of the Hipster ethos, and part of what makes Hipsters such derided figures – they threaten daily life for non-hipsters because they are cultivating an appreciation for the day-to-day, and they are making an effort to turn their lives into unique experiences.  That is uncomfortable for people who see their lives as drudgery.
  7. The questions now: What to do, and how to scale???

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