Mark Cross – Launching A Luxury Bag During A Pandemic
While luxury brands’ shoppers and the companies themselves seem to have accepted the new normal, Mark Cross’ President and CEO, Ulrik Garde Due have made a move to stand out and stand strong.
Luxury brands have been one of the most hit by the effects of the pandemic. It’s hardly surprising seeing as we all now have fewer places to see and be seen and purchasing luxury fashion items is usually dependent on being seen by others.
Mark Cross launched the 1845 Mini Trunk, a $2,790 luxury bag on August 11th on the brand’s 175th anniversary. The 1845 Mini Trunk is a replica of a bag created in the year 1905. As expected, heads did turn and everyone wondered why Ulrik Garde Due decided on the launch given the current economy.
In his response, Garde Due explains, “I really believe there is an urge from the luxury consumer to buy into authentic quality brands. I’m seeing the same kind of scenario from a luxury consumer in 2008 and 2009 where during that recession we saw consumers leaning more towards long-lasting products, with the right quality-to-price ratio and looking for investment pieces.”
Garde Due’s outlook on the situation and expected results seem to be in line with several analyses made by researchers during this pandemic season.
According to a McKinsey report on the luxury goods industry, “Experience also suggests that, after a large-scale crisis with a heavy emotional toll, consumer preferences could shift, at least for a time, toward ‘silent luxury’—paying more attention to classic elements, such as craftsmanship and heritage, and less to conspicuousness and ‘bling.’”
Garde Due is well known for his ability to restructure and reposition luxury brands. In the past, he has made similar successful moves for brands such as Burberry, Georg Jensen, and Temperley London. Garde Due has been in the position of Mark Cross’ CEO and President for only a year before the coronavirus occurred.
The price of $2,790 currently set on the 1845 Mini Trunk, places it at a higher price than most bags on the brand’s site.
Further analysis in the McKinsey report mentions the need for luxury brands to embrace digital operations to survive the pandemic. But the report also acknowledges that for luxury brands this could be easier said than done because most luxury shoppers prefer to make their purchases in a brick and mortar location. However, by reimagining how digital can work for their brands, some companies may just make it work.
Almost as though anticipated, Garde Due had already put plans in motion to re-tool the brand’s platforms. He said, “We were fortunate that we had already re-platformed our website because when I joined, I immediately employed a consumer-centric digital-first strategy. What changed because of COVID is the enforcement and execution of this strategy. It accelerated.”
Mark Cross has also partnered with Toshi to bring sales staff to customers at their convenience.
The 1845 Mini Trunk collection was launched with 20 limited edition pieces.
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