who-owns-louis-vuitton

Who Owns Louis Vuitton? 

LVMH, among the world’s largest luxury goods companies, will own Louis Vuitton with over $53 billion in revenues by 2019. It holds 75 brands in six different sectors. These brands comprise Louis Vuitton, Bulgari, Christian Dior, Fendi, Loro Piana, Celine, Givenchy, Kenzo, Berluti, and Rimowa. The Arnault family owns LVMH.

AspectDescriptionAnalysisExamples
Products and ServicesLouis Vuitton (often referred to as LV) is a luxury fashion brand that offers a range of high-end products, primarily in the fashion and accessories categories. The core offerings include luxury handbags, luggage, leather goods, ready-to-wear clothing, shoes, watches, jewelry, fragrances, and other fashion accessories. The brand is known for its iconic monogram canvas patterns and high-quality craftsmanship. Additionally, Louis Vuitton provides customization services for select products.Louis Vuitton’s primary products are luxury fashion and accessories, targeting affluent consumers seeking prestige and quality. The brand’s iconic monogram patterns and craftsmanship enhance its desirability. Customization services cater to personalized preferences.Luxury handbags, luggage, leather goods, ready-to-wear clothing, shoes, watches, jewelry, fragrances, fashion accessories, iconic monogram canvas patterns, high-quality craftsmanship, customization services.
Revenue StreamsLouis Vuitton generates revenue primarily through the sale of its luxury fashion and accessories products. These products are sold through a network of company-owned boutiques, department stores, high-end retailers, and the brand’s official website. The company also earns income from limited edition and collaboration collections, as well as licensing agreements for fragrances and other products.Revenue from luxury fashion and accessories products is the primary income source, driven by high-end retail and brand boutiques. Limited edition and collaboration collections attract collectors and enthusiasts. Licensing agreements extend the brand’s reach.Revenue from the sale of luxury fashion and accessories products (e.g., handbags, clothing, shoes), income from limited edition and collaboration collections, licensing agreements for fragrances and other products.
Customer SegmentsLouis Vuitton serves a niche customer base consisting of affluent individuals who seek high-quality luxury fashion and accessories. The brand appeals to fashion-conscious consumers, collectors, and those looking for prestigious and exclusive products.Louis Vuitton’s target demographic includes affluent individuals, fashion enthusiasts, collectors, and those who value prestige and exclusivity. The brand’s luxury products and craftsmanship cater to a discerning clientele.Affluent individuals, fashion enthusiasts, collectors, consumers seeking prestigious and exclusive luxury fashion and accessories.
Distribution ChannelsLouis Vuitton distributes its products primarily through its network of company-owned boutiques and retail stores, including flagship stores located in major cities worldwide. The brand also sells its products through high-end department stores and select luxury retailers. Louis Vuitton’s official website serves as an additional distribution channel for e-commerce sales.The company-owned boutiques and flagship stores provide a luxurious and immersive shopping experience. Partnerships with high-end department stores and luxury retailers expand market reach. The official website offers convenience for online shoppers.Distribution through company-owned boutiques and flagship stores, partnerships with high-end department stores (e.g., Neiman Marcus, Harrods), luxury retailers, the official Louis Vuitton website (louisvuitton.com) for e-commerce sales.
Key PartnershipsLouis Vuitton collaborates with high-end department stores and luxury retailers to distribute its products. The brand may also partner with celebrities, designers, and artists for limited edition collections and collaborations. Additionally, Louis Vuitton forms licensing agreements with fragrance companies for the production and distribution of perfumes and other fragrances.Collaborations with department stores and luxury retailers extend the brand’s reach and accessibility. Partnerships with celebrities, designers, and artists enhance the exclusivity of limited edition collections. Licensing agreements for fragrances and beauty products diversify the product portfolio.Collaborations with high-end department stores (e.g., Saks Fifth Avenue, Selfridges), luxury retailers (e.g., Net-a-Porter), partnerships with celebrities and designers (e.g., Louis Vuitton x Virgil Abloh collection), licensing agreements for fragrances and beauty products (e.g., with LVMH-owned fragrance companies).
Key ResourcesLouis Vuitton’s key resources include its luxury fashion and accessories products, iconic monogram patterns and designs, high-quality craftsmanship, a global network of company-owned boutiques and retail spaces, a strong brand identity, creative designers, a history of innovation, and a focus on exclusivity and prestige.The luxury fashion and accessories products are the core resource, representing the brand’s prestige. Iconic monogram patterns and high-quality craftsmanship enhance desirability. The global network of boutiques provides a physical presence. A strong brand identity builds recognition. Creative designers drive innovation. A history of innovation and a focus on exclusivity and prestige are essential resources.Luxury fashion and accessories products, iconic monogram patterns and designs, high-quality craftsmanship, global network of company-owned boutiques, strong brand identity, creative designers, history of innovation, focus on exclusivity and prestige.
Cost StructureLouis Vuitton incurs costs related to the production of luxury fashion and accessories products, including raw materials, manufacturing, and craftsmanship. The brand invests in creative design and innovation efforts. Marketing and advertising campaigns promote the brand and its products. Employee salaries, especially for designers and craftsmen, represent a significant portion of costs. Investments in retail spaces and boutiques are necessary for the brand’s physical presence.Costs related to product production encompass raw materials, manufacturing, and craftsmanship expenses. Investments in creative design and innovation drive product development. Marketing and advertising campaigns build brand visibility. Employee salaries, including designers and craftsmen, are a substantial expense. Investments in boutiques and retail spaces are essential for the brand’s physical presence.Costs related to luxury fashion and accessories product production, creative design and innovation efforts, marketing and advertising campaigns (e.g., Louis Vuitton advertising), employee salaries (e.g., designers, craftsmen), investments in retail spaces and boutiques.
Competitive AdvantageLouis Vuitton’s competitive advantage lies in its iconic and prestigious brand, high-quality craftsmanship, innovative designs, a history of exclusivity, and limited edition collections. The brand’s global presence and strong brand identity contribute to its desirability.An iconic and prestigious brand, high-quality craftsmanship, innovative designs, a history of exclusivity, and limited edition collections set Louis Vuitton apart. A global presence enhances accessibility. A strong brand identity builds recognition and trust.Louis Vuitton’s iconic and prestigious brand, high-quality craftsmanship, innovative designs, history of exclusivity, limited edition collections, global presence, strong brand identity.
Value PropositionLouis Vuitton offers affluent consumers a value proposition centered on prestige, exclusivity, and luxury. The brand provides high-quality fashion and accessories products, characterized by iconic designs and craftsmanship. Limited edition collections and collaborations enhance exclusivity.Louis Vuitton’s value proposition revolves around offering prestige, exclusivity, and luxury. Affluent consumers value high-quality products, iconic designs, and craftsmanship. Limited edition collections and collaborations add to the allure of exclusivity.Prestige, exclusivity, luxury, high-quality fashion and accessories products, iconic designs, craftsmanship, limited edition collections, collaborations.

Origin Story

Louis Vuitton – officially Louis Vuitton Malletier – is a French luxury fashion house and company that was founded in 1854. The company’s namesake, Louis Vuitton, started as a trunk maker and later incorporated leather into other products such as purses, wallets, bags, and luggage.

Today, the company is just one part of the luxury goods conglomerate LVMH. But the division nevertheless has a storied history that is worth telling.

Early years

In 1837 at the tender age of 16, Louis Vuitton traveled to Paris to start as an apprentice malletier (trunk maker) under Monsieur Maréchal. Such was his passion for the craft that Vuitton walked 450 kilometers from his home in Anchay to the French capital.

Transportation in the mid-1800s consisted primarily of carriages, boats, and trains, which meant that one’s luggage was often damaged or exposed to the elements. Travelers relied on skilled craftsmen to not only pack their treasured items but also protect them from theft. 

Vuitton soon earned a reputation for his work and served under Maréchal for 17 years before deciding to start his own venture.

Louis Vuitton is founded

Louis Vuitton was founded in 1854 and became known for its flat-topped trunks that were light and airtight. Before this time, most trunks featured a rounded top to promote water runoff – but this meant they could not be stacked.

In 1859, Vuitton opened a workshop in Asnières and employed 20 workers to meet demand. This workshop is still in operation today and now incorporates the Vuitton family residence.

Vuitton’s design was soon replicated by competitors. To make his brand stand out once more, he introduced a new design in 1876 that featured brown and beige stripes. In 1888, products featured a canvas pattern that read marque L. Vuitton déposée (L. Vuitton registered trademark). 

Control is passed to Georges Vuitton

When Louis Vuitton passed away in 1892, control of the company passed to his son Georges. Georges had developed a patented locking system for luggage with his father before he died, and it was so effective that he challenged Harry Houdini to escape from a Vuitton box.

While Houdini declined to take part, the lock system was popular with travelers in the 1890s. Over this period, Georges focused on turning the company into a worldwide operation. He premiered Louis Vuitton products at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893 and patented several designs to counter the ever-present threat of counterfeit items.

One of these was the signature monogram canvas with the LV monogram, quatrefoils, and flowers that remains emblematic of the company today.

Stores were later opened in London, Washington, Alexandria, Bombay (Mumbai), and Buenos Aires. The company’s Louis Vuitton Building, which opened on the Champs-Elysees in 1913, was the largest travel goods store in the world at the time.

After Georges died in 1936, the reins were handed to his eldest son Gaston Louis Vuitton.

Post-war period

After the Second World War, Louis Vuitton started to sell leather wallets, purses, bags, and larger pieces of luggage. It also revamped its signature monogram canvas in 1959 to make it more amenable to leather. 

In 1966, Gaston also introduced the cylindrical Papillon bag which became one of the company’s most famous products. In fact, over the 1960s, Louis Vuitton products were increasingly spotted on celebrities such as French actress Catherine Deneuve, French singer and actress Juliette Greco, and Italian actress Anna Magnani. 

Henry Racamier

When Gaston passed in 1970, Henry Racamier assumed control of Louis Vuitton. Racamier had married into the family when he wed Odile Vuitton, Louis Vuitton’s great-granddaughter.

Despite the brand’s popularity among the French elite, Racamier recognized that there were only two stores in France generating less than $10 million per annum in revenue. Under his leadership, Racamier opened 100 stores in France and around the world over the next decade.

Merger with Moët et Chandon

Louis Vuitton went public in 1984 and merged with champagne brand Moët et Chandon and cognac brand Hennessy in 1987. 

The new entity became known as Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy (LVMH) which Racamier headed until 1990 before he was ousted in a well-documented legal battle with French entrepreneur Bernard Arnault.

The Louis Vuitton brand soon rose to new heights thanks to the appointment of Marc Jacobs as creative director in 1997. He introduced the brand’s first ready-to-wear line and over his 16-year tenure, developed innovative designs that attracted fashion enthusiasts and supermodels such as Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell.

Key takeaways

  • Louis Vuitton is a French luxury fashion house and company that was founded in 1854. The company’s namesake, Louis Vuitton, started a trunk maker and later incorporated leather into other products such as purses, wallets, bags, and luggage.
  • Louis Vuitton became known for its flat-topped trunks that were portable, airtight, and theft-proof. Before this time, most trunks featured a rounded top to promote water runoff – but this meant they could not be stacked. In 1859, Vuitton opened a workshop in Asnières that is still in operation today and incorporates the Vuitton family residence.
  • When Louis Vuitton passed away in 1892, control of the company passed to his son Georges. Georges focused on turning the company into a worldwide operation and patented several designs the counter the ever-present threat of counterfeit products.
  • Louis Vuitton went public in 1984 and merged with champagne brand Moët et Chandon and cognac brand Hennessy in 1987. The new entity became known as Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy (LVMH) which Henri Racamier headed until 1990. The company reached new heights in the 1990s thanks to the vision of creative director Marc Jacobs.

Key Highlights

  • LVMH Overview:
    • LVMH is one of the world’s largest luxury goods companies, owning Louis Vuitton.
    • It generated over $53 billion in revenues by 2019.
    • LVMH holds 75 brands across six sectors, including Louis Vuitton, Bulgari, Christian Dior, Fendi, and more.
    • The Arnault family owns LVMH.
  • Louis Vuitton’s Origin Story:
    • Founded in 1854 by Louis Vuitton as a trunk maker, which later expanded into luxury fashion and accessories.
    • Started with leather products such as purses, wallets, bags, and luggage.
  • Early Years of Louis Vuitton:
    • Louis Vuitton, at 16, apprenticed as a trunk maker in Paris under Monsieur Maréchal, traveling a long distance to pursue his passion.
    • Transportation challenges in the mid-1800s led to the need for protective luggage.
    • Vuitton earned a reputation for his craft, serving under Maréchal for 17 years.
  • Founding of Louis Vuitton:
    • Louis Vuitton founded the company in 1854, known for creating flat-topped trunks that were airtight and stackable.
    • In 1859, Vuitton opened a workshop in Asnières, which remains operational and includes the Vuitton family residence.
    • Introduced distinctive designs like brown and beige stripes (1876) and the L. Vuitton registered trademark canvas pattern (1888).
  • Georges Vuitton’s Contributions:
    • After Louis Vuitton’s passing, control passed to his son Georges.
    • Georges patented a locking system for luggage, challenged Houdini, and focused on global expansion.
    • Introduced signature monogram canvas with LV monogram, quatrefoils, and flowers.
    • Opened stores worldwide and showcased products at the Chicago World’s Fair (1893).
  • Post-Georges Period:
    • After Georges’ death in 1936, his son Gaston took over.
    • Post-World War II, Louis Vuitton expanded into leather wallets, purses, bags, and luggage.
    • Revamped the signature monogram canvas to accommodate leather (1959).
    • Introduced iconic products like the cylindrical Papillon bag (1966) and gained celebrity recognition.
  • Henry Racamier’s Leadership:
    • Henry Racamier, through marriage to Odile Vuitton, took control in 1970.
    • Recognized the need for global expansion, opened 100 stores worldwide.
  • Merger with Moët et Chandon:
    • Louis Vuitton went public in 1984 and merged with Moët et Chandon and Hennessy in 1987.
    • Formed Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy (LVMH) with Racamier as head.
  • Marc Jacobs and New Heights:
    • Creative director Marc Jacobs (1997-2013) introduced the brand’s first ready-to-wear line.
    • Jacobs’ innovative designs attracted fashion enthusiasts and supermodels.
  • Key Takeaways:
    • Louis Vuitton, founded in 1854, evolved from a trunk maker to a renowned luxury fashion house.
    • Signature designs, including flat-topped trunks and distinctive patterns, contributed to its reputation.
    • Georges Vuitton’s efforts led to global expansion and iconic monogram designs.
    • The brand merged with Moët et Chandon and Hennessy, forming LVMH, a luxury goods conglomerate.
    • Marc Jacobs’ creative direction elevated the brand’s status in the 1990s.

Inside the French Luxury Empires

lvmh-revenue-breakdown
LVMH is a luxury group owned by the Arnault family, which generated over €79 billion in revenue ($83 billion) in revenue in 2022, with a luxury empire that spans many segments, from spirits to fashion, luxury and cosmetics, and luxury retail. Over the years, fashion and leather goods has become the leading segment, generating over €38 billion in revenue in 2022, followed by selective retailing, watches and jewellery, perfumes and cosmetics, and wine and spirits,
lvmh-revenue-by-segment
LVMH is a luxury group owned by the Arnault family, which generated over €79 billion in revenue ($83 billion) in revenue in 2022, with a luxury empire that spans many segments. Yet the fashion and leather goods segment (which comprises brands like Fendi and Louis Vuitton) is the major one, and it generated over €39 billion in revenue, in 2022.

Other fashion empires

Kering

kering-business-model
Kering Group follows a multi-brand business model strategy. The central holding helps the brands and Houses part of its portfolio leverage economies of scale while creating synergies. At the same time, those brands are run independently. Kering is today a global luxury brand that made over €20 billion in revenue based on this multi-brand strategy. Within Kering Group are brands like Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Saint Laurent, and many more—the primary operating segments based on luxury and lifestyle.

Prada

prada-business-model
The family-owned Italian luxury brand – Prada – generated over four billion euros in revenues for 2022. Among Prada brands, Prada made more than 87% of the company’s revenues, followed by Miu Miu and Church. Prada also owns Marchesi 1824 (a luxury bakery) and Car Shoe (a shoe company) made about half a percent of the total revenues.

Inditex

inditex-brands
Inditex is the Spanish fast-fashion empire which owns different brands that span from Zara to Oysho, and it generated almost €28 billion in 2021 by following a company-operated strategy, where its flagship stores drive high traffic toward its central locations across the world. In addition, post-pandemic, Inditex has been ramping up its e-commerce strategy. Indeed, by 2021, over 25% of the sales were generated online.

Cucinelli

brunello-cucinelli-business-model
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.

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Slow Fashion

slow-fashion
Slow fashion is a movement in contraposition with fast fashion. Where in fast fashion, it’s all about speed from design to manufacturing and distribution, in slow fashion, quality and sustainability of the supply chain are the key elements.

Patagonia Business Model

patagonia-business-model
Patagonia is an American clothing retailer founded by climbing enthusiast Yvon Chouinard in 1973 who saw initial success by selling reusable climbing pitons and Scottish rugby shirts. Over time Patagonia also became a fashionable brand also for its focus on slow fashion. Indeed, the company sells high-priced clothing items built to last which it will repair for free.

Patagonia Organizational Structure

patagonia-organizational-structure
Patagonia has a particular organizational structure, where its founder, Chouinard, disposed of the company’s ownership in the hands of two non-profits. The Patagonia Purpose Trust, holding 100% of the voting stocks, is in charge of defining the company’s strategic direction. And the Holdfast Collective, a non-profit, holds 100% of non-voting stocks, aiming to re-invest the brand’s dividends into environmental causes.

Fast Fashion

fast-fashion
Fash fashion has been a phenomenon that became popular in the late 1990s and early 2000s, as players like Zara and H&M took over the fashion industry by leveraging on shorter and shorter design-manufacturing-distribution cycles. Reducing these cycles from months to a few weeks. With just-in-time logistics and flagship stores in iconic places in the largest cities in the world, these brands offered cheap, fashionable clothes and a wide variety of designs.

Inditex Empire

inditex-fast-fashion-empire
With over €27 billion in sales in 2021, the Spanish Fast Fashion Empire, Inditex, which comprises eight sister brands, has grown thanks to a strategy of expanding its flagship stores in exclusive locations around the globe. Its largest brand, Zara, contributed over 70% of the group’s revenue. The country that contributed the most to the fast fashion Empire sales was Spain, with over 15% of its revenues.

LVMH Business Model

lvmh-group-business-model
LVMH is a global luxury empire with over €79 billion ($83 billion) in revenues for 2022, spanning several industries: wines and spirits, fashion and leather goods, perfumes and cosmetics, watches and jewelry, and selective retailing. It comprises brands like Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior Couture, Fendi, Loro Piana, and many others.

Kering Business Model

kering-business-model
Kering Group follows a multi-brand business model strategy. The central holding helps the brands and Houses part of its portfolio leverage economies of scale while creating synergies. At the same time, those brands are run independently. Kering is today a global luxury brand that made over €20 billion in revenue based on this multi-brand strategy. Within Kering Group are brands like Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Saint Laurent, and many more—the primary operating segments based on luxury and lifestyle.

Kering Brands

kering-brands
Kering is a luxury goods multinational founded in France by François Pinault in 1963. The company, which initially specialized in timber trading, grew via acquisitions and was listed on the Paris Stock Exchange in 1988. Two years later, Kering merged with a French conglomerate interested in furniture, department stores, and bookstores.

Ultra Fast Fashion

ultra-fast-fashion
The Ultra Fashion business model is an evolution of fast fashion with a strong online twist. Indeed, where the fast-fashion retailer invests massively in logistics and warehousing, its costs are still skewed toward operating physical retail stores. While the ultra-fast fashion retailer mainly moves its operations online, thus focusing its cost centers on logistics, warehousing, and a mobile-based digital presence.

ASOS Business Model

asos-business-model
ASOS is a British online fashion retailer founded in 2000 by Nick Robertson, Andrew Regan, Quentin Griffiths, and Deborah Thorpe. As an online fashion retailer, ASOS makes money by purchasing clothes from wholesalers and then selling them for a profit. This includes the sale of private label or own-brand products. ASOS further expanded on the fast fashion business model to create an ultra-fast fashion model driven by short sales cycles and online mobile e-commerce as the main drivers.

Real-Time Retail

real-time-retail
Real-time retail involves the instantaneous collection, analysis, and distribution of data to give consumers an integrated and personalized shopping experience. This represents a strong new trend, as a further evolution of fast fashion first (who turned the design into manufacturing in a few weeks), ultra-fast fashion later (which further shortened the cycle of design-manufacturing). Real-time retail turns fashion trends into clothes collections in a few days or a maximum of one week.

SHEIN Business Model

shein-business-model
SHEIN is an international B2C fast fashion eCommerce platform founded in 2008 by Chris Xu. The company improved the ultra-fast fashion model by leveraging real-time retail, quickly turning fashion trends in clothes collections through its strong digital presence and successful branding campaigns.

Zara Business Model

zara-business-model
Zara is a brand part of the retail empire Inditex. Zara is the leading brand in what has been defined as “fast fashion.” With almost €20 billion in sales in 2021 (comprising Zara Home) and an integrated retail format with quick sales cycles. Zara follows an integrated retail format where customers are free to move from physical to digital experience.

Wish Business Model

wish-business-model
Wish is a mobile-first e-commerce platform in which users’ experience is based on discovery and customized product feed. Wish makes money from merchants’ fees and advertising on the platform, and logistic services. The mobile platform also leverages an asset-light business model based on a positive cash conversion cycle where users pay in advance as they order goods, and merchants are paid in weeks.

Poshmark Business Model

poshmark-business-model
Poshmark is a social commerce mobile platform that combines social media capabilities with its e-commerce platform to enable transactions. It makes money with a simple model, where for each sale, Poshmark takes a 20% fee on the final price for sales of $15 and over and a flat rate of $2.95 for sales below that. Its gamification elements and the tools offered to sellers are critical to the company’s growth as a mobile-first platform.

Read Next: Zara Business Model, Inditex, Fast Fashion Business Model, Ultra Fast Fashion Business Model, SHEIN Business Model.

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