The Family Business Models That Became Empires

A family business model is usually owned and, in part, run by the founding family or its dynasty. Family businesses can take on several business formats, from running a retail brand a mono-brand, or perhaps a multiple brand strategy, depending on the industry and market. Some family businesses have turned into multi-billion dollar companies.

Brunello Cucinelli Human Enterprise


Brunello Cucinelli is an Italian luxury and casual-chic brand, which built its success around cashmere clothing. Brunello Cucinelli built its business around the Humanistic Enterprise model, which revolves around Italian Craftsmanship, Sustainable Growth, and Exclusive Positioning and Distribution. More than 50% of the company revenues come from the retail mono-brand, directly managed by the company.


Brunello Cucinelli follows three key distribution strategies:

  • Retail monobrand where the company controls the direct distribution of stores to the end customer. Those are run and operated by Brunello Cucinelli.
  • The wholesale monobrand channel is made of monobrand stores operated under commercial distribution agreements.
  • The wholesale multibrand channel, consisting of independent multibrand stores and dedicated spaces within department stores (shop-in-shops).

Luxottica Vertical-Integration


Luxottica has built its whole success based on integrating the whole supply chain, thus connecting its sourcing and manufacturing process, wholesale capability and retail stores to reach the final consumers.


LVMH Multi-Brand Strategy


LVMH is a global luxury empire with over €46 billion in revenues for 2018 spanning across several industries: wines and spirits, fashion and leather goods, perfumes and cosmetics, watched and jewelry, and selective retailing. It comprises brands like Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior Couture, Fendi, Loro Piana, and many others. 

LVMH follows a multi-brand integrated strategy, where each brand is managed independently. This enables each brand part of the group to keep its identity, while still keeping the advantage of economies of scale, deriving from the fact those brands belong to the holding group.

Prada Iconic Business Model


The family-owned Italian luxury brand, Prada generated over three billion euros in revenues for 2017. Europe represented almost forty percent of the total revenues. Among Prada brands, Prada made more than eighty percent of the company’s revenues, followed by Miu Miu, with more than fifteen percent, Church’s which generated two and a half percent of its total revenues. Instead, Marchesi 1824 (a luxury bakery) and Car Shoe (a shoe company) made about half a percent of the total revenues.

Among its products line leather goods represented more than fifty-six percent of the total Prada revenues. Followed by Footwear and Clothing. More than eighty percent of Prada revenues got generated via its directly operated stores. Miuccia Prada owns sixty-five percent of Prada Holding, while Patrizio Bertelli owns thirty-five percent. Prada holding owns eighty-percent of Prada.  


Prada kept a tight ownership structure where the company is mostly in the hands of the family.

Kering Multi-Brand Group Strategy


Kering Group follows a multi-brand business model strategy (very similar to LVMH), where the central holding helps the brands and Houses part of its portfolio to leverage on economies of scale while creating synergies among them.

At the same time, those brands are run independently. This multi-brand strategy comprises brands like Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Saint Laurent, and Puma.

The two primary operating segments based on luxury and sport & lifestyle.


Walmart Empire Business Model


With over $495 in net sales as of January 2018, and over $4.5 billion coming from Membership and other income.

The company operates three primary units that in 2018 comprise Walmart U.S. (approximately 64% of our net sales), Walmart International (about 24% of net sales), and Sam’s Club (approximately 12% of its net sales) a membership-only warehouse clubs and operates in 44 states in the U.S. and in Puerto Rico, as well as eCommerce.  


Walmart’s Mission can be summarized as “helping people around the world save money and live better – anytime and anywhere – in retail stores and through eCommerce.” While its vision is to “make every day easier for busy families.” Walmart defines “busy families” as the bull’s eye of its business strategy.

Key takeaways

Family business models, just like other companies can take several forms that help them scale and yet keep the business successful. Some of the examples we saw, you can have a deeper look below:

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