Our trip to meet with the CEO and Executives at STL, parent company of the Carolina Herrera, Purificación Garcia, and Dominio do Bibei wine brands, was definitely one of the highlights of the trip. From the moment we arrived, we were in awe of the beauty, kindness, and humility of our hosts.
We began with a presentation on the STL brand architecture (its House of Brands). It’s funny — prior to my visit, I associated the Carolina Herrera label with three things: the iconic white shirt, red carpet couture, and an older sophisticated clientele. After our visit, I realized that the brand is so much more. It is luxury with energy, or “upbeat elegance,” as they say at STL. The students felt likewise and now view themselves as the brand’s target audience.
We were impressed not only by the STL brands, but also by the executives’ personal leadership styles. They are phenomenal brand ambassadors who are clearly passionately dedicated to quality and style. Their graciousness as hosts extends to the Carolina Herrera brand: they offer impeccable customer service, should your bag experience damage.
We were treated to a two-part tour. First, we toured the Carolina Herrera factory. There, we saw exceptional craftsmanship and quality. The leather goods are hand-made and hand-stitched. Exquisite. The patterns are fresh and vibrant. And the shoes, oh, the shoes! You can see for yourself; the Carolina Herrera brand is truly unique and enticing.
Thinking about brand strategy issues, I couldn’t help but think that there are some great research projects going on at MIT that could be relevant for STL. For instance, translating the luxury experience to the e-commerce environment, the role of storytelling in building brand equity, and balancing the tension between exclusivity and accessibility. It would be great to continue this relationship with experiment-based collaborative research.