Stanislas de Quercize, guest speaker for the Exective Master in Luxury Managemenr & Design Innovation (EMiLUX) Class of 2021, presented a conference on “China, Luxury and Sustainability” in April 2021. As ex-CEO of Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels, Stanislas de Quercize talked from his experience in the industry and shared the different strategies that luxury brands are taking today to adapt to the crisis.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?
S: My name is Stanislas de Quercize, I’m an entrepreneur. I started my career in marketing with Procter & Gamble, and after that I spent 25 years in luxury at Richemont in various capacities. I was an entrepreneur, president, and CEO of Montblanc in France and in America, I was Vice President of sales and marketing for Alfred Dunhill in London, where I understood the importance of the Asian clientele, and then I was Director of Cartier France. I later became president and CEO of Cartier North America, and then president and CEO of Van Cleef & Arpels International. After 7 years working at Van Cleef & Arpels, I became CEO of Cartier Worldwide, and then president of Richemont France. Today, I’m helping entrepreneurs in different capacities; I’m a board member of BARNES International Real Estate, Messika, Louboutin, The Remy Cointreau Foundation… I’m also the founder and president of a family business where we invest in start-ups that focus on digital disruption, and I’m also a mentor at “Réseau Entreprendre”, where we help entrepreneurs develop their teams and strategies.
What was your source of motivation to partner up with the EMiLUX program at ESSEC?
S: I think education and sharing knowledge is key. We live in a historical time where we are learning together that we are all sisters and brothers when confronted with a pandemic crisis. However, we have another perspective of crisis coming up with climate change, and we have less than 10 years to solve this issue. As always, a crisis offers great opportunities. It is therefore a great opportunity for the entrepreneurial spirit of the students of EMiLUX to reinvent this new world.
One of my sons is an ESSEC graduate, and I believe that the school offers a very interesting approach to education. I also think the luxury program at ESSEC is very interesting, as I am also working to create the Chair of Circular Economy at ESSEC. The Circular Economy offers great solutions that need to be scaled up, and luxury offers a great model with chances of integrating many new aspects and concepts. It is an honor and a pleasure to contribute to this transmission program.
What are the key takeaways for the participants regarding the topic “The Future of Luxury, China, and Sustainability”?
S: Three aspects were discussed during this conference:
- China: China represents 50% of the luxury market today. 20 years ago, they only accounted for 1%. This is a massive increase and it’s something that luxury brands should consider to better understand the market dynamic.
- Digitalization: The covid-19 crisis has accelerated the digitalization of processes and of learning as well. You can take care of your health, you can buy, sell, distribute… you can do lots of things thanks to digitalization, and it has become vital in businesses today.
- Sustainability: Secondhand is a fabulous opportunity for luxury brands and for the planet. As CEO of Van Cleef & Arpels and Cartier, I created a program where we buy high jewelry pieces from our clients, we authenticate and restore them to later resell them. Everyone wins in this equation; the seller because they can sell their piece, the craftsmen, who are inspired by the savoir-faire and designs of vintage, iconic pieces, and the buyer, who acquires a piece of jewelry that has zero carbon footprint.
What advice would you give to the unique pandemic cohort and the future EMiLUX batches?
S: The EMiLUX class of 2021 is a part of the historical promotion of the rebound of the renaissance. It’s good to be part of a community, and the EMiLUX program allows you to do so in an international environment. Cultivate your community, cultivate your LinkedIn and your social media… It's good to work as a community. As Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (the author of “Le Petit Prince”) wrote, “we do not inherit the planet from our parents, we borrow it from our children”.
A few words from Ashok Som, Founding Director of the EMiLUX program:
A: It was wonderful to discuss with Stanislas about the Future of Luxury on the topics of China, Luxury and Sustainability. It was the second time that Stanislas intervened at the ESSEC Executive Campus in La Defense.
This super positive interaction was an eye opener for the cohort. Stanislas’s optimisim was rich, enticing that was based on data and experience. His experience with circularity while he was at Cartier was so way forward that businesses are now integrating the second hand business in their value chain.
After the talk, I was pondering on the following questions. Luxury businesses, especially the conglomerates, started their vertical integration for control. It required diverse competencies and varied resource allocation. With the wish to integrate the second hand market, the circularity is almost complete. What’s next? Which country to look forward to after China? Will it be the US? And last but not least, in what timeline will the platform businesses make money?