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‘Luxury Is Who You Are’ – Modupe Ogunlesi

KEYNOTE ADDRESS BY MRS MODUPE OGUNLESI FOR THE LUXURY REPORTER AT 5 DELIVERED ON THURSDAY, 20THOF JUNE, 2019.

Good Morning everyone, it gives me a great pleasure to be here to be a part of Funke Osae-Brown at 5.

Modupe Ogunlesi Adam and Eve Homeware
Modupe Ogunlesi, CEO, Adam and Eve Homeware giving the keynote address at the 5th anniversary of The Luxury Reporter Magazine held at The Wheatbaker Hotel Ikoyi on June 20, 2019

This is what we are celebrating –Funke at 5.  You can say No, we are here for the Luxury Reporters at 5 but it is the same. For a business / project to succeed, you the visioner has to live it, breathe it and eat it until you become it or it becomes you. You cannot divorce it until it is successful and stands on its own feet. 

Funke, you have the tenacity, attention to details and creativity to make a huge success of this project. Congratulations!

The incubation period for a new business in Nigeria some 20 years ago was 5 years now it is nearer 7 years so just hang in there and forge ahead. 

An understanding of what you sell, psyche of your expected consumers are very basic ingredients for success. 

Google’s definition of Luxury is a state of great comfort or elegance. Why ‘or’ instead of ‘and’? 

If we look back to the 18thor 19thcentury, luxury was great elegance – the furniture, the fashion were epitomes of elegance but they were not comfortable. In the 21stcentury, the millennials value comfort and luxury is now redefined as state of great comfort or elegance- meaning that sometimes comfort is sacrificed for elegance but the greater emphasis is on comfort.

This shows that our notion of luxury is changing and the cultural background influences how we think of luxury.

  1. WHEN LUXURY IS FUNCTIONAL

The Germans and the British expect luxury to be functional, therefore, luxury must be superior functionality and will not be satisfied by functionality being sacrificed for elegance. 

  • WHEN LUXURY IS WHO YOU ARE

The French and the Italian consumers see luxury as part of their identity- the creativity, elegance, beauty and functionality is part of what they expect luxury to deliver. This is why there will always be a domestic industry for luxury goods. They understand the importance of the mix they consider luxury.

  • WHEN LUXURY IS EXCLUSIVE

Seen as means of distinguishing yourself from the lower cadre in society. It is important that the products are obviously branded with visibility as the key ingredient.

  • WHEN LUXURY IS AN EXPERIENCE

An experience that puts you in a bubble of euphoria, boosting your feeling of wellbeing. 

Incidentally, Luxury as an experience is the fastest growing concept of luxury at the moment worldwide. 

In Nigeria, we are a mix of all four definitions of Luxury. 

We are in homeware 

Luxury Homeware is all about feeling, self-pleasure and an experience. Why do you stay in a 5 star plus hotel? It is because you experience the luxury and it creates a bubble of euphoria.

Luxury homeware shopping means you can create the same bubble of euphoria within your space. Beddings, Pillows, mattress topper, rugs, throws etc. to give yourself the luxury experience everyday within your home. 

The ability to continue the opulence and grandeur of fine dining within your home, to fill your space with your choice of things which spell luxury to the individual. 

Having studied and followed the trend for the past 20 years, purchasing at Adam&Eve is based on comfort, functionality and elegance. Comfort which actually means ‘ease of use’. 

So, luxury in the Adam&Eve translation is the height of comfort, elegance and superior functionality with branded goods. Some obviously branded and some discreetly branded, this way we cover those whose definition of luxury is functional, exclusive or who they are but all get comfort and experience added on.  

The big challenges with homeware are: 

  1. It is not visible, it is self-pleasure, emotive, so more difficult to market in an environment where a great percentage think of luxury as exclusive and therefore must be visible. Homeware is so different from when you wear a Versace t-shirt, carry a channel bag or drive a Porsche. Everybody notices and recognizes that, ‘You have arrived’ or ‘you are in a special bracket’.
  2. Quality is built into luxury so you do not need to replace them often. Cutlery carries a 50 year guarantee, an extra vitrified dinner plate will be dropped a few times before it breaks etc. We therefore need to be constantly acquiring new customers. 

Gradually though more and more people are willing to spend on their personal comfort instead of on imagery, impressing the neighbors as a state of euphoria, superior wellbeing has been proved to boost immunity and keep us healthy.

Research shows that when income increases, a dis-appropriate portion of the rise in income goes on luxury goods. In other words, if you get a 5% increase in income, you are likely to increase the amount you spend on luxury goods by 7-10% because luxury is addictive but in a good way.  

The more economic policies reinvigorate the economy and the people, the bigger the pool to fish for our clients.

The great news is that the luxury market is actually resilient because it attracts the aspirational, the comfortable and the rich. So yes, there are challenges but nothing that cannot be surmounted.

Once again, I congratulate you Funke on this special occasion and wish you greater success in all your future endeavours.

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