The Luxury and Retail Club (“LuxRet”) is taking member engagement to an innovative new level. On Monday, December 3, its members met at Sézane’s L’Appartement New York in Soho for the inaugural “Magazine Club” event, talking industry between sipping champagne and shopping the store’s new collection.
The Magazine Club idea was pitched by one of LuxRet’s new AVPs, Jamie Barrar, a Langone student and Account Executive at Google. Similar to a book club, the series is “slightly structured [and centers around] intimate conversation like a book club,” said Kate Burke, a Langone student and Senior Analyst at Tiffany & Co, who was the moderator of the evening. “But instead of a book, [they decided to focus] on industry news and trends that… members would be interested in discussing in an open forum.” Prior to the event, the board distributed five articles pertaining to the industry, including “Nike’s New NYC Flagship is the Face of Living Retail” from Nike News. The Nike NYC “House of Innovation 000” is a big bet on an unlikely horse: brick-and-mortar retail. At six stories high on Fifth Avenue, the flagship features experiences that are “both personal and responsive,” according to Nike News.
To test the waters, LuxRet introduced a variety of topics in addition to brick-and-mortar design, such as the importance of social media platforms in customer acquisition and relationship management strategies, marketing techniques and the inclusion of diverse voices in formulating brand strategy. The event’s topics drove active engagement from a group of full-time, part-time and accelerated 1-year MBA students. “Everyone had a chance to contribute their expertise to certain topics as well as listen and learn from others on topics they were unfamiliar with,” Burke said. “I think the diversity of material we covered fostered a balanced atmosphere in which attendees felt that they were being heard.”
Sézane was a most appropriate setting to host LuxRet’se event. The retailer started out in e-commerce in 2013 and opened its New York flagship in Nolita just last year. Its brand power is bolstered by its highly manicured and Instagram-friendly storefront, which is often dressed in flowers. According to Glamor, their Barry cardigan is waitlisted by more than 30,000 customers. Sézane is building on this momentum; in spring, Sézane partnered with Nordstrom to make its seasonal collection available on their site and in their largest stores, and a couple months later, it established a London presence.
“Many attendees were already fans of the Sézane brand, but those who were unfamiliar with the brand walked away with a great impression of Sézane, which I think speaks to the importance of brands providing experiences for customers as a way to spark interest and maintain long-term relationships,” said Burke.
In addition to being great partners, helping to plan down to the last detail of the event, Sézane also extended a 10 percent discount for attendees shopping during the event and two lucky raffle winners received a knit sweater.
The event was a successful first step for the Magazine Club; it was filled in just 24 hours. Next semester, students can look forward to more Magazine Club events, with special guest speakers, additional prizes and exciting venues.
To stay up to date on the next Magazine Club event, join the LuxRet Campus Groups here.