"He who walks with billionaires, will become a billionaire." ~ Christopher Kozoriz

Bernard Arnault - Quotes

French business magnate, investor, philanthropist and art collector.

"A good product can last forever."

"A star brand is current or you would call it fashionable. It is edgy, it has sex appeal, it is modern. In some way, it fulfils a fantasy. It is so new and unique, you want to buy it. You feel as if you must buy it, in fact, or else you won’t be in the moment. You will be left behind."

"A new product is not creative-it is not important-if it does not shock when you first see it."

"Choosing a creator is always difficult. It’s not a question of taking a talented creator and saying, ‘We’ll employ the person in such and such a business and it will work’. It isn’t true. It’s far more complicated. We need to find the talent, the ideas and the personality that can adapt to the spirit, the history of the brand."

"Designers are closer to artists than to engineers. They’re no like normal managers, and you have to balance their creativity and rationality. John, Karl, Marc, they’re genius. You can’t put them into a rational environment. They’re sometimes late, and you have to accept that if you work with them, you have to be understanding with them."

"Each brand very much runs itself, headed by its own artistic director."

"Even great talent could not launch a brand from zero. A brand must have a heritage; there are no shortcuts."

"Every time there’s been a crisis, we’ve gained market share."

"Formidable marques. But they do not have they mythic dimension that Dior or Vuitton have."

"I am quite competitive. I want to stay ahead and increase our advance."

"I assure you, we do not lurk around every corner, questioning every creative decision. The most successful creative people… want to see their creations in the street. They don’t invent just to invent."

"I don’t have alarm bells when it comes to creativity."

"If one day we must sell something, first we want to turn it around and make it profitable." [On company owned businesses like DFS]

"If you deeply appreciate and love what creative people do and how they think, which is usually in unpredictable and irrational ways, then you can start to understand them. And finally, you can see inside their minds and DNA."

"If you look over a creative person’s shoulder, he will stop doing great work. Wouldn’t you, if some manager were watching your every move, clutching a calculator in his hand?"

"If you think and act like a typical manager around creative people-with rules, policies, data on customer preferences, and so forth-you will quickly kill their talent."

"If you want to work with me, you have to work harder than the others and do well in school." [ To his son Antoine Arnault]

"I like that combination between creativity and the creative process and the organization needed to make a business like this successful worldwide."

"I like to see the reaction of the people in the shops. I also like to see the competition."

"In order to be able to sell a product at a relatively high price, you have to offer the craftsmanship and quality that goes along with it."

"In the luxury business you have to build on heritage. On brands, on history… It’s not an easy business, it’s a business of passion that takes time. But when it’s done right the potential is enormous."

"I see myself as an ambassador of French heritage and French culture."

"It gives people working at the group a feeling that they don’t exist only for cash flow, but for something bigger." [On philanthropy] 

"I read books about the internet – I’m fascinated with it." [In 1999]

"It is not enough to have a talented designer; the management must be inspired too. The creative process is very disorganized; the production process has to be very rational."

"It just takes experience. Years of practice-trial and error-and you learn."

"It’s a meeting between two personalities of different natures – the creative people and the organizers, water and fire. But out of the contradiction can come progress."

"I was always interested in the combination between creation and products. When I was working in my first job engineering construction, what I liked the most was working with architects and making buildings that had this creative side coming from the architect and that were making then a big success. It’s what I do with fashion today, with cosmetics, in this group, is to mix creativity and business sense."

"Mastering the paradox of star brands is very difficult and rare, fortunately."

"Money has never represented, in my view, an objective or even an indicator of any significance. I’ve been fascinated for a long time by artistic creation and by the search for perfection, of the highest level."

"Most artists don’t go around proclaiming, ‘I want to be a commercial success.’ They would actually hate to say that."

"Most competitors prefer to show off-mass produced clothing on their catwalks, or indulge in American-style marketing. We are not interested in working this way."

"My relationship to luxury goods is really very rational. It is the only area in which it is possible to make luxury profit margins."

"Not long ago, I said to one of our designers, ‘Why don’t you take a trip to Japan and see what the teenage girls are wearing on the streets at night?... I did not say to the designer, Go and see what kinds of shoes they are wearing and copy them.’"

"One does not invite a thousand guests to watch a procession of dresses which could be seen on a coat hanger or in a show room."

"One key element of management of a group like this is decentralisation."

"Our goal for the group is to remain a family company."

"Our strategy is to trust the creators."

"Our whole business is based on giving our artists and designers complete freedom to invent without limits."

"Products which are customer driven are usually not innovative. Consequently, it is difficult to charge a premium."

"Sometimes you do not succeed."

"[A] Star brand is timeless, modern, fasting growing, and highly profitable."

"Star brands take time to grow."

"The key to success is this duality – timelessness and the utmost modernity."

"The luxury industry is a key to Europe."

"The responsibility of the manager in a company is dependent on innovation… becomes picking the right creative people-the ones who want to see their designs on the street."

"The trust artists that make LVMH a success… They want people to wear their dresses, or spray their perfume, or carry the luggage they have designed."

"Today it’s clear that the world is driven by the growth of Asia and emerging countries." [In 2010]

"Vuitton has always been a pioneer."

"We are completely open to selling our products on the internet because the internet is the future." [In 2009]

"We are very fair with the consumer."

"We can see several companies trying to mix an image of luxury with a mass-market approach. In order to be able to sell a product at a relatively high price, you have to offer the craftsmanship and quality that goes along with it. There’s an increase in products that have approximately the same look [as luxury brands] while providing a much lower standard. It’s not counterfeiting, but it is misleading."

"We did not begin the creative process by talking about the bottom line."

"We do not put the entire company at risk by introducing all new products."

"We don’t like failures. We try to avoid them. That is why with many of our products, we make a limited number. We do not put the entire company at risk by introducing new products all the time. In any given year in fact, only 15% of our business comes from the new; the rest comes from traditional, proven products – the classics."

"We have  a lot of superstars… We have 50 brands." [In 2005]

"We have unique products."

"We know we must nurture them until they have some history. But even if it takes ten or 15 years for them to become stars, that has been an amazing investment, right?"

"We learned that genius is not enough to succeed."

"We’re the only group that has the ability to manage different activities that cover the entire range of the luxury business." [On Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey (LVMH)]

"What I like is to feel emotion… and I agree even more when I see the sales results." [On the credo he lives at LVMH]

"What we create is emblematic. It’s lined to Versailles, to Marie Antoinette."

"When something has to be done, do it! In France we are full of good ideas, but we rarely put them into practice."

"When you are on the management side, you still have to understand the artistic sensibility so that there is a dialogue with the creative side."

"With some businesses, you cannot avoid risk, and sometimes you do not succeed."

"Working in the context of ultra-famous brands like Dior and Vuitton, creative spirits are always going to feel reined in. It’s important that they are free to develop ideas."

"You cannot compromise creativity at its birth."

"You can’t charge a premium price for giving people what they expect…"

"You can tell time, dress beautifully or wear makeup produced by one of our brands anywhere in the world, regardless of your nationality, your beliefs or your culture."

"You need the right team of inspired managers."

"You will never be able to predict the success of a product… Obviously we won’t launch a product if the tests clearly show it is going to be a failure, but we won’t use tests to modify products, either… Our strategy is to trust the creators. You have to give them leeway. When creative team believes in a product, you have to trust the team’s gut instinct." [On conducting a market test]