Change is happening in the retail space and it’s not all scary, ugly, or designed for self-service. There is another side of retail that is seldom spoken of but cherished. Sending a warm thank you to IFA Paris for believing in the future and respecting the heritage of the past.
Students will lead technology changes in the retail industry.
I was once a student in Paris studying International Business and Brand Management at the American University of Paris. It was an experience that changed my life, redefined the term “opportunity”, and changed my career trajectory in a matter of months. I became aware of the fashion industry in ways I never imagined when I boarded the plane. With an oversize suitcase and chambre de bonne, I lived what was once a dream in the city of love. I fell in love with a renewed idea of what I could become.
I had the opportunity to learn from Sr. Executives from major brands like Unilever and Revlon that flew in several times a week to teach my classes. I learned how to walk into a company with a failing product and build a team. We scoured the city to collect raw data, analyse it, and proposed strategy changes to impact a higher probable success rate. It was the best part of my college education, however, twitter was never mention, I had no idea was html was, and emerging technologies were never part of any conversation or lecture. I graduated with a huge whole in my education.
I later continued studies in apparel design and merchandise planning, took every class that provided value and was still bored out of my mind. Participating in a curriculum that was teaching students to sew for the first time, promising dreams of being the next Alexander McQueen, I walked out to gain practical experience. I went to work!
I went to work with $200k in education debt dedicated to International Business, Brand Management, Apparel Design, and without any knowledge of social media, coding, or awareness of anything digital. It was 2005 not 1990. I had to google what an ERP system was and had never heard of any of the back-office software retailers use on a daily basis to make, sell, and market their products. I was digitally irrelevant from day 1 through day 2,190.
New careers will create new opportunities for technology companies in the retail industry.
Thirteen years later, I have had nearly every job in a fashion brand, retailer, and sold supply chain management software into huge fashion companies. I’ve initiated innovation projects and spearheaded streamlined operations across every department from concept to consumer. I rocked the boat and turned a ship. I am sought to lead digital strategy and ecommerce initiatives for brands that I have loved and been romanced by for decades. I taught myself how to code thanks to some inspiration from customizing myspace pages and put myself through excel 1,2,3; a language I speak better than the 25 years of French.
and today, I am the Founder of a Retail Technology Company with only $36k of student loans left. Everything is possible when there is passion. I have an intimate experience of doing whatever it takes to learn and continually let down by institutions that sell a dream. I am committed to leading an organization that has an open door to students. No one should be graduating with an education that is digitally irrelevant.
I sat down with Jean-Baptiste Andreani, Managing Director of IFA Paris a few months back and talked shop. We shared our frustrations with the backseat technology is taking within the curriculum fashion designers are receiving. I am thoroughly impressed with the objectives and curriculum IFA Paris is providing its students. Beyond a french seam these students are learning about bio-data, python, supply chain management, and digital strategy to have the best chance to not only design fashion but to lead innovation in the fashion industry.
Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works. - Steve Jobs
“If a customized purchase is not an innovative concept, new technologies make it possible to customize it in real time, thanks to its direct interactions with smartphone users. An enriched customer experience offered by the Luxlock application that IFA Paris students (MBA Luxury Brand Management) will test in a future module devoted to Brand Management for a long-established luxury brand.
IFA Paris has always not only taught theoretical courses, but also based its entire teaching on practical experimentation. Faced with the digital revolution, our school in societal and technological awareness, is committed to identifying and deciphering future canals to offer its students a futuristic vision of the fashion industry planet.
This approach is fully in line with the Luxlock application, which positions itself in the retail sector and challenges conventional luxury concepts. By dusting off all its ancestral codes, Luxlock integrates modern
technology into the luxury consumer’s journey. Earmarked fashion designers, customized recommendations, live chats, personal shoppers, wardrobe optimization, digital wardrobes… so many expert tips are available in real-time to make luxury more accessible, enrich customer relations to target a younger audience. For a long time, luxury brands believed that they could run away from digital technology and innovation. A fear of committing to it motivated by the fear of downgrading their image and no longer being able to manage their uniqueness, or even being assimilated to mass market products… but in luxury too, the future cannot be built without a global digital strategy, a real lever for all.
As the conventional purchasing path has become totally outdated, the contact points have diversified and the unstable customer requests to test all sales networks. The objective of a brand is therefore to sharpen its knowledge about the customer in order to direct them towards a coherent, but above all a hyper-personalized universal approach!” Luxlock is paving the way for luxury brands to compound their growth and double-down on exclusivity.
It is therefore up to our MBA Luxury Brand Management students to propose adapted solutions that bring together the classic markers of luxury with those of modern technology. Through the Luxlock application and after quantitative and qualitative analysis of both conventional and technological conflicts, they will have to develop themes that bring the two together in total harmony: How to capitalize on historical values via data, là est la question!!?”
Far from being contradictory, it is finally Vivienne Westwood, who best sums up this problem “looking back is the only way to create the future”
This is the most exciting time in both the history and the future of retail. I feel fortunate for every success and failure to be right in the center of it. Passionate fires are being lit as more creatives learn how to apply technology to create products we’ve yet to dream about. I look forward to many more collaborations and a day when students are a permanent fixture in our headquarters. #startuplife #luxlock #retailtech #bigdreams #learnmore
To learn more about the program involved in this collaboration, please visit: MBA in Luxury Brand Management