British Luxury: Timeless Products in a Changing World
With passionate tones, Helen explained to us what really makes a luxury product luxury: the object’s beauty and craftsmanship. Luxury is an experience, and the product is a token of that experience. “Luxury is not about the price,” she told us. “It’s about the way it makes you feel.” She told us about her lasting love of opera, which she frequented as a student, buying the cheapest available ticket, and still frequents now (albeit with better seats), yet the warmth and glamour of the experience hasn’t changed with the price tag.
Helen went on to discuss the varied mentorship programmes organised by Walpole, mostly to support those launching their careers in the luxury industry; one of their main initiatives is Brands of Tomorrow. This programme fosters emerging talent at young companies by pairing new founders with experienced leaders from established brands, who are there to advise, teach, and transfer skills.
We learnt that recently, Walpole has partnered with The Careers & Enterprise Company to launch a national network that connects schools and colleges with local businesses, to teach young people about craftsmanship and service. Not only does this increase employment opportunities, but it also fills a gap in talent, as fewer and fewer people are developing the skillset to craft luxury products nowadays. “In a world where so many things are unfinished, it feels satisfying to actually finish something,” Helen said, drawing on her experience of crafting a steering wheel at Bentley’s car manufactures whilst on a visit.
At the end of the talk, Helen fielded questions on the impact of Brexit on startup companies in Britain, the definitions of luxury, and the differences between companies providing luxury services and luxury products. Long after questions had finished, guests came up to Helen to personally seek her master opinion on their companies and careers, which she gave thoughtfully and affably.
We would like to extend our greatest thanks to Helen Brocklebank, for her expertise and her candour, to the venue, Maison Assouline, who hosted us in the very lap of luxury, and to our audience for joining us and engaging so attentively.
We hope to see everyone at the next Londnr event!