With a family heritage deeply rooted in Como, Northern Italy, in an area known as the “Silk Pole” for its high-quality silk production, Giulia Luckenbach is currently leading the marketing & sales operations of her family’s textile company, JL Atelier Couture. As the culmination of a years-long dream, and facilitated by her participation in Executive Master in Luxury Management (EMiLUX) Program, Giulia has launched a new initiative: JL ART, a timeless accessories brand inspired by nature, creating handmade, sustainable handbags crafted from the finest Italian fabrics and hand-embroidered in India. Giulia selected the EMiLUX for its focus on fashion and luxury, as well as for its international curriculum with 7 modules in 9 cities, including in two of the world’s major luxury market capitals, Paris and Milan. As an EMiLUX program participant, with access to world-class professors, she was able to structure and concretize her dream, and she was thrilled to share more with us about her EMiLUX experience.
What made you choose the EMiLUX program at this point in your career, with 6 years of experience under your belt?
Giulia: I had already studied business administration and international management, but I hadn’t had the opportunity to focus my attention on the luxury industry, which has always fascinated me. I wanted to improve my expertise in luxury markets and to set my career path on a clear way. I had dreams to help my family create our own brand and was looking to build the strategy in order to do so.
Why the EMiLUX program in particular?
Giulia: I have always been in love with fashion and luxury and when I discovered EMiLUX program, I knew it was the program for me. I was so excited to join this great community and network of excellence in the fashion and luxury fields. The idea to start the journey in Milan and Paris, the two fashion capitals of the world, and to continue with an itinerant program in different cities and countries really inspired me. I was delighted to join such an international program with participants from all over the world.
What were your particular goals for your participation in the program?
Giulia: When I started this executive program, I had recently joined my family business, a B2B company that creates and supplies textiles and embroideries to major fashion brands. My dream had always been to boost this company by launching our own accessories brand using our textiles and embroideries. My idea was to learn as much as possible from this master’s program in luxury and to apply the knowledge to my own business.
What was one of your favorite moments of the program?
Giulia: I think that the best moment of the program was graduation day. This year was pretty particular due to the pandemic. After spending months in lockdown without seeing one another and with remote classes, graduation day was a truly special moment when many of us travelled from different countries to be able to share the experience together.
What’s the biggest challenge you were able to overcome during your participation?
Giulia: Working together and coordinating our collaboration from a distance! However, I think that this “challenge” was also one of the most important strengths of this master’s program in luxury management, allowing us to learn how to work with people from different backgrounds and countries. So, it was both the biggest challenge and one of the greatest assets of the program.
How did the program help you to launch your project?
Giulia: The program was fundamental to my project. When I started, I already had a clear idea in my mind, but the EMiLUX program helped me to actually make my dream become real by giving me a 360° vision and understanding of the industry I wanted to enter.
It also taught me about different strategies and structures to be able to successfully launch and grow a luxury brand.And of course, the access to skilled, experienced professors and mentors in the field of luxury management was key. They challenged me and supported me, allowing me to launch JL ART, just as I had envisioned it. Below is example of our JL Art | Handcrafted Bags product.
What was the most valuable aspect of studying the EMiLUX program?
Giulia: France and Italy are the world capitals of luxury and fashion. Studying the business of luxury markets in a modular format in these countries guarantees a deep understanding and knowledge of this beautiful industry. The link that the university has with other important companies in the field of luxury management is fundamental and one of the most important values of the program. We had the opportunity to meet and speak with CEOs and managers of major luxury brands in fashion, cosmetics, wine & spirits and other fields. They shared with us their experiences and vision about their businesses, which was incredibly inspiring, and a luxury in itself!
What advice would you give to the current EMiLUX cohort?
Giulia: Try to apply yourselves to truly understanding all the concepts tha the school immerses you in. These are really important and fundamental for your future career, no matter the type (managrial or entrepreneurial) or the area (marketing, strategy, finance, etc.). Secondly, think that you can do something real, put all of your strengths in the entrepreneurial project and your dream will come alive. Take as much as you can from your ESSEC teammates, everyone has something valuable to share.
What advice would you give to future applicants?
Giulia: This program allows you to really learn something valuable in luxury management, it is not all around a certificate! Every step of this wonderful journey is worth it. You can learn something from each lesson, each professor, each classmate. Go for it!
Any recommendations in terms of inspiration? Who or what inspires you on your professional journey?
Giulia: From my point of view, the most inspiring leader is the one who creates their own success through passion, through expressing their own values, through creating a healthy working environment. For me, Brunello Cucinelli is a perfect example. He developed one of the most inspiring luxury companies ever, with a true passion for philosophy reflected in every aspect of his business. His success is not just related to the fashion or luxury industry itself, but to all his philanthropic and cultural activities.
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