The President and CEO of Rimowa Luggage is only 26 year old..and has grand plans for the luxury luggage brand. But will he save Rimowa or ruin a brand that did not need saving?
First some background. French-born Alexandre Arnault took over Rimowa 18-months ago, a storied German luggage company established in 1898. The New York Times shares:
Mr. Arnault is the driving force behind Rimowa, the German suitcase company that, as he put it, is “a 120-year-old company that was owned and run by the same family for 119 years when I got there.” Mr. Arnault, barely out of university, persuaded Rimowa’s then-chief executive, Dieter Morszeck, the grandson of its founder, to sell, and his father, Bernard Arnault, the chairman of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, to buy, an 80 percent stake in the company, and in 2016, Rimowa became the newest addition to the LVMH luxury group.
Bernard Arnault is France’s richest man. Let’s put the envy aside for a moment and recognize, despite what privilege and fortune the young Arnualt has grown up in, he has taken on quite a daunting task.
I love Rimowa luggage and have used it for several years now. But Rimowa has traditionally appealed to a narrow subset of the population as a high-quality, functional German brand. That drives its exclusivity, but also limits its appeal.
During his short tenure, Alexandre Arnault has already made his mark. Rimowa has introduced a new logo (the style of the luggage is unchanged). Furthermore, Rimowa has begun to collaborate with other LVMH brands like Fendi to create cross products. Rimowa even teamed up with Supreme, a New York skate company, to create contemporary bags which sold out almost instantly. Thus far, Arnault’s changes have been well-received.
Here are some pictures of the new ad campaign:
The whole New York Times article is worth a read. I’m generally averse to change and liked Rimowa just the way it was. I’m also not a fan of the new logo. But by linking it to other LVMH brands, Arnault has already laid the groundwork to ensure that Rimowa remains an enduring and high-demand luxury brand.
Do you travel with Rimowa luggage? If so, what do you like about it?
> Read More: Rimowa Roaring 20s Ad Campaign Starring Alessandra Ambrosio
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This likely makes him one of the only 26-year-olds who can afford to own a Rimowa. 😉
My thoughts exactly – and I’m a Xennial juuust outside the Millenial window. If it’s one thing I always hear about Millenials it’s that they’re ruining some new market or industry through lack of consumption. I find it hard to believe that the generation that (rightfully?) blames Baby Boomers for lack of affordable housing/schooling/jobs is jumping at the chance to buy easily-scuffed, overpriced luggage.
I’m neither a market analyst nor a fan of Rimowa luggage, but I’m not sure this is a good move. It seems to incorporate all the wrong aspects of business:
1. a non-self-made billionaire
2. with minimal/questionable business acumen
3. who inarguably holds a job in a very large conglomerate solely as a result of nepotism
4. is taking over a niche luxury company
5. in an attempt to market it to an audience whose entire existence is predicated on whining about how much things cost
6. and is further diluting the brand by creating numerous cross-ties that add questionable value to the end product and are not necessarily brands that are part of the new target market
I’d love to hear from someone who knows the ins and outs of this sort of thing, though. But from an outside POV, it smacks of some pet project to keep Junior busy and out of the way.
Hold on to your original “German” Rimowa luggage as it is likely to become highly sought after.
For all the cash this guy has lying around, he could at LEAST give those models a sandwich and maybe a pair of shoes…
I was going to comment on the lack of shoes – because as everyone knows – all seasoned travelers travel barefoot.
Noticed the bare feet as well.
Perhaps Junior intends to have Daddy buy him a footwear company next!?!?
I see more Rimova’s in use in Japan than I do in the US, but of course this just a casual observation. I’d consider a Rimowa if that embedded luggage tag worked with more carriers than LH, LX, OS, and BR.
I like what he’s doing. The partners that he’s chosen so far have all been good ones (in my non-millionaire, 31 y/o, somewhat-fashion-interested opinion). That clear suitcase that they did with Off-white was fun/silly, but it got the attention of EVERYONE as did the Supreme collaboration. That shit was over instagram quicker than a fart in a lightning storm. I’ve also been seeing something about some kind of movie/clip that they’re doing with Nobu Matsuhisa about his traveling life (he’s travels an impressive amount). I dunno…it feels like they’re on the offensive, as opposed to resting on their laurels, and that’s cool to me.
They’ve removed the bag hanger, even from the topas line, the wheels are now different and they feel VERY inferior, and lastly they changed the colors of the (ex-) salsa line. Oriental red was a classic, now they have an awful ketchup red. Good thing I bought my Rimowa suitcases before all this.
The logo on the luggage strap is the Fendi logo. What is the new Rimowa logo?
They’re having it 50/50. LMVH owns Fendi as well, so flogging that brand in this campaign.
Young people with good sense ( perhaps not those with more money than sense) will buy practical, sturdy, attractive , cheaper alternatives to this over-hyped stuff. A thousand dollars or more for a case? … utterly ludicrous and all about style rather than substance.
I had a good laugh at the pictures. They struck me as being generic, cliché filled “fashion” pics that could have been used to sell almost anything.
“But from an outside POV, it smacks of some pet project to keep Junior busy and out of the way.”
I guess it could have been worse – daddy could have got him started on a political career.
Has anyone ever bought Rimowa because it’s cool, hip and trendy?
People spend large amounts of money for solid German engineering (or so they think). Therefore even “mixing” it with French fashion labels might be too much – let alone American…
I cannot imagine that this is clever.
Absolutely agree with butzi above. I am saddened to see what is happening with this renowned German brand. Simplifying and minimising the product lines while making the suitcases more expensive doesn’t make sense to me as it seems they got rid of a lot of cool features on the suitcases.
Rimowa stood for long durability, that surely came with it’s price, but a price that was worth it. The old product lines where solid, beautiful and definitely “trendy” enough. Rimowa was special in that way, now it’s just yet another unnecessarily expensive suitcase, visually less appealing with ridiculous advertising. I don’t think the kiddo CEO did a good job at all, I hope sales will go down and force another change, hopefully in the right direction (I don’t even thing the company needed any change at all).
It’s not “solid German engineering” any more. Last time I checked they had moved production to Czech Republic. They also had a factory in Cambridge, Canada but they laid off 149 workers there. So here’s what I see: Production is moved away from Germany to cut costs. LVMH raises prices 30%. They’re going to lose a lot of brand loyalty once people figure they aren’t getting what they pay for.
False, all Polycarbonate suitcases from 2000 till 2019 were/are produced in Czech Republic. Right, the factory in Canada is producing less since the takeover. Have a good one.
I don’t know what will or won’t happen as this brand evolves under new leadership. What I can tell you for certain is that their customer service is still a gold standard. I recently took a 2 year old salsa deluxe into one of their flagship stores because TSA broke the lock and near the handle the polycarbonate shell had cracked at the handle entry. I was given a sufficient loaner, with far cooler stickers on the outside than my own. Flash forward 8 weeks. They were unable to fix the case–specifically the crack in the shell. They are giving me a brand new case that I can select when I come in to return the loaner. I’m not suggesting that new CEO authorized this (LOL) but whoever is in place making these decisions for him understands the value of taking care of people. It is certainly the RIGHT way to handle a valued customer. I’m getting a new $900 case and they just got a customer for life. Everybody wins.
My polycarb luggage is just fine, thank you
Count me among the doubtful. I will not comment on the CEO’s persona as I don’t know the guy and neither do I envy him his father’s hard earned money. But the rest is just too sad for Rimowa and its dedicated base. The logo is horrendous (ask ten people whether they like it), the product line is uninspiring (unlike the one it had replaced/modified), by what appears to be nothing but malice they got rid of all the good pieces, and kept the boring ones (with the exception of the “classic” line, of course). To add insult to injury, LVMH decided to let everyone feel the house’s importance by increasing prices by some 20% without bringing any improvements. The sad result is that LVMH, ever incapable of resisting the smell of Asian money, moves the brand to less discriminating consumer in emerging market, and crap on the old base. I am glad I got my pieces some time ago.
LVMH is going to lose a lot of money on this enterprise. By cutting ties with all their former distributors they have alienated all the legitimate luggage stores who previously supported the brand. This can only decrease the popularity of the brand in my opinion. I mean if nobody you know has one and you never see them in stores, who is going to want one? They are out of sight and out of mind. Case in point: My local luggage store has replaced all their Rimowa with Samsonite and I see Samsonite now has aluminum cases at the same price point once occupied by Rimowa. That was shrewd move by Samsonite.
Still, the warranty of Samsonite is non-existing. Airline damage is not supported by this multinational. Funny fact is, how does their spare-parts policy works when all the parts come from China? Besides they bought Tumi (a brand with prices like Rimowa) and made it look like Samsonite after only 1 year. Hopefully one day they value again the manufacturing above the esthetics and sales numbers.