The homeless teen who created Louis Vuitton “L.V the Truth”

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“All I’m saying is that Louis Vuitton and L’Oreal didn’t invent branding at some point in the mid-Eighties. Big, reassuring names have been around a long time”


The 166-Year-Old Brand That Keeps Attracting the Young

How do they do it? How it all started?


LVMH is the biggest fashion company in the world and the CEO of this company is the second richest man in the world. 

“BERNARD JEAN ETIENNE ARNAULT”…well it never started like this. Truly, past is like a scar it reminds of of the whole incident. They say everyone has a story and this one is about a boy who sold boxes. Once in France,not so long ago, there lived a boy . he was the eldest of the five children of a poor farmer and his wife.His father remarried after he lost his mother and following the trend…his stepmother was cruel towards him.The young boy was enduring and the time passed by.. right after 3 years his father also passed away.He was sixteen at that time.


 He left home but his pockets were empty he didn’t have money but destiny was on his side.He walked to 292 miles from his town along the way do small time jobs with craftspeople and artisans.He was consistent on his journey and survive by doing odd jobs but these helped him and this is where he learned the skills needed to go and create the infamous LV took the little boy 3 years to make the journey from France to Paris.When the boy arrived in Paris he noticed that Railway travel was becoming popular day by day and here he got his idea. He instantly started working as a professional luggage packer for rich allettes. He opened a small store selling trunks and bag at that time only heavy bag with wooden and iron frames were available in the market moreover,they also took more space in loading and here he understood the gap. At first he made the trunk tight and durable by using Canvas instead of wood and animal skin and keeping its shape geometric that more and more bags could be stacked in one place this innovation allowed easy packing and stacking, totally changing the way people this new concept or can say innovation was such a big game changer it may sound silly but in 1848 this one invention revolutionized the entire traveling industry.and let me tell you this was the time and railway transportation was just started and people were traveling from one place to another with their luggage. The boy’s talent caught the attention of Empress of France (Empress Eugenie) and Napoleon III and he was now the personal box maker of royal families.After a few years, he was in high demand due to his mastery. He opened a shop at Rue Neuve des Capucines, and people now recognized him as a luggage maker. He strategically introduced his trunk and started his own business. Few years later,his suitcase became the must have accessory for the people.Demand for his product were growing rapidly like a Wildfire but it was not the happy ending after all..soon production came into the halt.


It was the time of 1870,  the Franco-Prussian War caused the box maker to flee overnight along with his family.Even after being named so much there came a time when his family used to live in camp to survive as their were food shortage, the family almost starved to death. A year later the war ended but their problems didn’t end because when they finally returned home and found his workshop and home destroyed and his material stolen basically they went back to square one. However, this incident did not set him back. Instead, he rebuilt his business and relocated to a better area in Paris for his workshop.The property prices had dropped considerably after the war, which allowed him to open his new shop at an upscale part of Paris, France. His business took off after a few months,  He set up his workshop near the railway station and The Grand hotel. To replicate his success which he had back then, here comes the new big idea in his mind.


He continued to innovate, introducing a new design made of beige canvas with stripes, which became an instant hit. The brand’s popularity soared, and he emerged as a symbol of modern style and elegance. This young boy was no other than the real “Louis Vuitton” When the business was at its height in 1892, Louis Vuitton suddenly passed away. His son Georges took over and immediately got to work. “Like father like son” he innovated the bags further and invented such a luggage lock which was found hard to break for even “famous escape artist Harry Houdini”. At that time the biggest complaint of passengers was theft which was well identified by George and solved by one of his good inventions. Due to this people’s trust became even more strong and gradually shops of Louis Vuitton were opened all over Europe. .When he attended the World Fair in Chicago, he met John Wanamaker, who established the concept of department stores and price tags. His store Wanamaker’s started selling the bags Vuitton created. In 1896, Vuitton created the LV monogram and floral pattern in memory of his father.By the time in  1930s, Vuitton had created a distribution network all across America. As the business was soaring, the unfortunate happened, and Georges Vuitton passed away in 1936. His son Gaston took over the business and had a rocky start. World War II had just begun, which caused the third-generation Vuitton to shut down the factories and stores worldwide.During World War II, Louis Vuitton collaborated with the Nazis during the German occupation of France. The French book Louis Vuitton, A French Saga, authored by French journalist Stephanie Bonvicini and published by Paris-based Editions Fayard, tells how members of the Vuitton family actively aided the Vichy government led by Marshal phillippe Pe’tain and increased their wealth from their business affairs with the Germans. .After the war ended in 1946, Gaston handed reins to his sons to carry the business. When Gaston passed away in 1970, the business went through a rocky patch. When the brothers had differences,… So far this story makes sense that Louis vuitton  were quite innovative right from the starting and that’s why this company got a healthy push from beginning But the surprising thing is that despite having so many different big brands, how is Louis Vuitton’s top position intact without being destroyed?

Well the main reason for this is exclusivity!! 

Did you know LVMH has 60 lawyers in its legal team and every year the company spends $17 million to take legal action only  against fake LV Producers in the market? 


They regulate the quality to the fiercest level and are extremely serious about their brand.They don’t want at all to get even a little bit dilution of their goodwill in the market by doing anything. Apart from this, LV has recently started the concept of Mobile Boutique to maintain the authenticity and loyalty of its customers and it is a matter of COVID time when customers started avoiding public places..LV has come up with this new scheme. Customers have to book an appointment and a van full of products of their choice is delivered directly to their doorstep and customers can have a store-like experience as soon as they step out of their homes without going to store rather store itself comes to their home.infact, i am pretty sure you must have never seen LV on sale .Well..According to Reports, every product of this company has a sales target and as soon as it is completed, they withdraw that product from the market and then these products are either given to the employee as their exclusive loyalty or destroyed but it never seems to be on sales. Now it is such a well planned business.

But here is another interesting fact that now no one of the Vuitton family is running the company, but an outsider. 

In the 1980s, this business went out of the hands of the family and went to an outsider, but quite interestingly, just one move of this person doubled the profit margin of the company. So In a nutshell…


George had three grandsons. Whose views about the company were very different, due to which there used to be a lot of clashes among them. So finally the brother-in -law of all three of them, Henri Recamier, decided to take over the company. And as soon as he came and studied the distribution process of LV, he noticed that the retailers were selling the bags at 100% profit…a bag worth 1 lakh was being sold for 2 lakhs and obviously And of course the manufacturer or company was not getting any share of it.The company’s profit percentage was very low compared to retailers so it instantly adopted a new strategy “vertical integration strategy”.

And by doing this, where the profit margin of other luxury brands was hardly 15-20%, the profit margin of LV went up to 40% but now the question arises that what is the vertical integration strategy?So in this the company takes the whole process in its hands. Means from bringing the raw material to supplying it to the customers ,the final product is done by itself.

In shot, In LV there is no place for retailers, middle men and profit sharing. Now this strategy was so brilliant, specifically in the case of Louis Vuitton , that the profit margin as well as overall quality control, experience control and good maintenance of the brand came into the hands of Louis Vuitton and it’s surprising that such good ideas came to the mind of an outsider. And since then, proving his worth till date, Louis Vuitton is being run by an outsider.

LV was in the first place in the BrandZ’s top 10 most valuable luxury brands in 2019, with a worth of $47.2 billion. On 15 January 2020, the company acquired the Swelo diamond, which is the third-largest rough diamond ever found in history, from Lucara Daimond who mined it from their mine in Botswana.The brand went from being unimpressive to becoming the leading fashion company globally, with a net worth of $28.4 billion. It all goes back to Louis Vuitton, who survived on the street as a homeless boy with the idea of bringing a change for his future generations.It reminds us that with passion, hard work, and a commitment to excellence, we can overcome even the most challenging circumstances and create extraordinary success.

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