Why a Luxury Manager Needs a Combination of Substance and Style A career in the luxury industry requires a diverse set of talents and skills to succeed.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
If there is a domain that has zero tolerance, it is luxury. Luxury companies set high standards for the brand and for everything that contributes to adding value and preserving their exclusivity and respect.
Employees play a prime role since they are brand curators and product experts. Everybody is a brand representative, starting from the CEO.
My career in luxury started over ten years ago when I was working as a hostess at a trade show at the Javits Center in Manhattan. One of the exhibitors asked me to join his company and open a branch on the East Coast.
I asked myself why he offered the position to me and not to my colleague. She was working there as well, and her curriculum was as good as mine. I discovered the reason many years later: Managing the East Coast office for a luxury design company requires a diverse set of talents and skills.
Luxury companies seek personalities who are well-versed with the needs and requirements of the customers. First and foremost: the ability to be present. Living in the present and dedicating attention to clients, even when they are not asking for help, is a talent. Having presence means being present.
Thinking back at the trade show, my colleague missed the opportunity because she was busy messaging nonstop on the phone. The exhibitor, seeing her disinterest, asked me for help instead. I was present and ready to listen. That made all the difference.
Messaging cost her access to the luxury industry. I always took my jobs seriously, even the temporary three-day hostess gig. Still now, most of the time, I don't even keep my cellphone on my desk.
Related: Costly Mistakes to Avoid When Pricing for a Luxury Design Startup
Setting intentions and dedication
The ability to perform with excellence in customer service and strike a conversation with affluent customers are skills necessary to succeed. With time, intention and practice, you can acquire and develop them. Make an intention and dedicate time and energy to your goal, and results will manifest.
Not being an extrovert is an advantage in the luxury business. You are more inclined to listen and control what you say and don't say. High-net-worth individuals value their time and won't spend a second with you unless it is meaningful. If they engage with an equally knowledgeable person, they will be delighted to entertain a conversation with you.
Command over the English language is important, though accents are very welcome in the industry. International clientele value interaction more than perfect grammar.
Related: The Rise Of Responsible Luxury
Possessing the right dose of essential skills
The right dose of charm, intelligence, sense of responsibility and mixed with good manners are desirable essentials. A luxury manager is a combination of 60% substance and 40% style.
In any working situation, you are perceived as more capable if you are familiar with the proper code of conduct and are aware of personal space, client privacy and gentle persuasion.
A luxury company values a pragmatic attitude and international vision. These are considered keys for an industry that is always a step ahead.