• Building a Luxury Brand with John Idol, CEO of Michael Kors Posted by Admin

    John Idol

    “Luxury has many different levels to it,” said John Idol, CEO of Michael Kors. Everyone has access to luxury these days, but it wasn’t always that way. Brands have tapped into an overlooked group which have led companies like Michael Kors to billion dollar brands. MillionaireMatch got the scoop on how Idol grew the company with just one item.

    A key luxury item for both men and women is a quality watch. That’s why Michael Kors decided to introduce their line of watches that looked like quality with an affordable price tag. Idol first offered the MK watch at $125, but the quality wasn’t there. The result? No sales. After he went back to the drawing board, improved the quality, and slapped a new price tag of almost $300 the result was completely different. “Customers understand quality,” Idol said. Once they understood that, MK became one of the biggest watch retailers.

    Idol, who has been the CEO for MK since 2003, offered key tips to building a luxury brand. “You have to be prepared today to embrace technology. Utilize it to help build your brand, and to expand your customer base,” he said. With social media and more people shopping online than going into a brick and mortar, it’s important to capture and keep your audience with the use of technology. “The behavioral shopping patterns of consumers are changing rapidly,” he said. “The consumer today, the wealthier consumer, are adept at shopping online. It’s a convenience of seeing a broader assortment of what you could have in house. You have the convenience of having things delivered in 24 or 48 hours. You need to be able to serve that customer in a completely different way,” he added.

    Even with technology pushing out brand messages so quickly, it’s still important to not get off target. “You have to build a global brand, and you have to have a consistent image,” Idol said regarding MK’s consistent branding. Over the years audiences have watched a brand promote the jetsetter who loves to be stylish. They incorporate an exciting feeling for the newcomer who may be experiencing luxury for the first time. “Many people have never had the kind of money they have come into. The customer wants to show that they have luxury,” he explained. “Many customers in the emerging markets want to show their wealth off. That is one of the drivers of luxury,” Idol said.

    For the entrepreneur creating the next luxury brand, there a few steps you can take. “If you are going to be successful in our business, or any business, you’ve got to work hard. You’ve got to dive for the ball,” Idol said about getting your foot in the door. If you are in college be sure to study abroad. Different climates and cultures speak to the fashion industry differently. Idol also said that brains aren’t the only thing you will need. “The smartest people who work for us are not the people who graduated at the top of their class. They are the ones who are the most interested. They are the ones who are most curious and ask the question ‘why?’. They are always wanting to know why, and aren’t afraid to work hard,” he said.

    To see the latest fashion trend from this luxury brand, visit their site at www.michaelkors.com.

  • Francois-Henry Bennahmias, CEO of Audemars Piguet: “Luxury is true emotions. It’s not something you need.” Posted by Admin

    Francois-Henry Bennahmias

    There are a few key things that everyone should own and feel great wearing. A watch is one of them, but not just any watch. A market that may seem overly-saturated, Audemars Piguet is a brand that only a select few wear. This luxury watch is sure to stand out on anyone’s wrist. CEO François-Henry Bennahmias leads this luxury brand which started in 1875, and remains to be a rival in the industry. MillionaireMatch got the scoop on how Audemars Piguet continues to be the choice for wealthy men.

    “We are a very high end brand. We like to show our craft. Every link is unique. You have to create a new mold every time. It’s very complicated,” Bennahmias said about the process of creating their watches. Because of the complexity, it can’t be copied. Another reason why customers opt for the brand and its price tag which can range from $3500 to over a million dollars. “There will always be an appreciation for things that are done well, and that lasts. You feel it is completely different compared to something that is duplicated by millions,” he said.

    How do they compete with other major brands? “Sometimes we think it’s about re-inventing the wheel. It’s not about re-inventing the wheel. It’s a matter of respecting the basic rules of business which are having an amazing product and amazing partners, and boutiques to sell the product,” he said. He doesn’t feel threatened by the wave of new smartwatches. Bennahmias also believes in forward movement and never standing still when it comes to your business. “Intense work on quality and innovation,” he explained is what keeps them in the game.

    “The purpose is not to be sold to everybody,” Bennahmias said. The company’s model of connecting with customers is a very organic one. Half of their sales happen right over the phone. “When they talk to us the first connection is going to be over the phone. Internet sales, we don’t do it,” he said. Once the Audemars Piguet team has made a connection with a potential customer, they start a relationship with them. “We will continue to use the internet to communicate with clients, but we need to directly connect with the client. At this level of prices and experience, I can’t explain or justify over the internet,” he said. “Luxury is true emotions. It’s not something you need,” as to why a more personal connection is needed to take care of clients one at a time.

    Audemars Piguet has taken a few turns and pivots to become the well known brand it is today. They started out as wholesalers and selling to distributors, they’ve now become their own distributor. With locations all over the world from Spain to Beverly Hills, they are surely a staple for the man and woman with class and style.

    If you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon yet, you can always visit www.audemarspiguet.com. We, like Bennahmias, recommend you give them call for that one on one attention. It’s included in the price!

  • Being a Millionaire Investor with Manny Fernandez Posted by Admin

    Manny Fernandez

    Most people have big dreams, and the only thing stopping them is funding. Well, not anymore. Manny Fernandez, CEO of DreamFunded, has created a platform that benefits the entrepreneur and the investor. Fernandez launched the company after founding the SF Angels Group, a group of 32 angel investors. He was recently seen on CNBC’s Make Me a Millionaire Investor, and is a bestselling author. MillionaireMatch got the scoop on Fernandez and his passion to help entrepreneurs launch.

    The big question from entrepreneurs is always about the money. How do they get it? “Raising money is hard,” said Fernandez. “If more people had access to money, they could create more jobs,” Fernandez offered. That is the reason why he created DreamFunded. He also had big dreams of creating a startup, and then he needed money to make that dream happen. Each startup is vetted before being asked to showcase on the site. Startups could get as much as $1 million of investments. Today, DreamFunded has investors all over the world. The platform allows people to invest in projects with as little as $1,000. “It’s for the people who want to co-invest and find the next Twitter. You may not have to find them, because they could be within our network, ” he explained.

    Fernandez is well aware that many people who are passionate about creating businesses that solve a problem just don’t have the right connections. Fernandez is one of the few Latino venture capitalists in Silicon Valley. In Hispanic communities, most go to family and friends for support when launching a business. With DreamFunded, he has brought together over 5,000 investors hoping to help the next Google. “You will have more people getting funding that can create the next Facebook, but no one knows who they are in advance,” he said regarding co-investors.

    Since he sits on the other side of the table, Fernandez shared some tips for entrepreneurs on getting funding. “Ask for advice from investors instead of pitching to them. In the beginning, a lot of investors were running away from me. Work with people that may have a shared passion in what you are doing. Create a relationship with them, and then present them an opportunity,” he said. Building those relationships are key before making your big ask. He suggests getting a referral when possible.

    He also looks for a few important things when he is considering putting up the big bucks. “The team. It’s always about the team,” he advised. Investors want to like the team they will be working with and investing in. “Everyone is moved by stories,” added Fernandez. You should have a story behind your product or software that is going to solve a problem. “As an angel, we are emotional people. We are doing it because we like you, and we like the problem you want to solve,” he said. They look for logical reasons to make an investment. He also believes attitude has a lot to do with it. That you should be confident knowing you are going to solve the problem through your startup. You have to be relentless and figure it out. “If you believe you are going to raise money, you are going to raise money,” Fernandez said.

    To learn more about DreamFunded, visit dreamfunded.com.

  • This Holiday JetSmarter with Sergey Petrossov Posted by Admin

    Sergey Petrossov

    If you are a busy professional that travels a lot for work, you just may need to ditch your commercial flights and book a private jet. Labeled as the Uber of jet travel, JetSmarter has built a platform that allows you to grab a seat on a jet with a few taps on your phone. Sergey Petrossov, CEO of JetSmarter, came up with the idea after a few frustrating moments of booking his own private travel. The company is now sporting a valuation of $1.5 billion with the help of investors such as Jay-Z and the Saudi Royal Family. MillionaireMatch got the scoop on how they plan to take over the traveling industry.

    Petrossov, who is based in Florida, flies often for work. With offices in London, Zurich and Dubai, it was important to be able to pick-up and go without a hassle. The first customers who tried the app booking service were Petrossov’s friends who soon gave their approval. He released a beta version of the JetSmarter app in August of 2012. By March 2013, JetSmarter officially launched and offered over 3,000 planes that could be booked within minutes.

    Having sold a previous IT company, Petrossov is no stranger to the startup world and creating a profitable model. For those who can splurge on a membership with JetSmarter, you can pay up to 70% less for a seat through using the app. Petrossov wants to make the service open to everyone. “We are not just trying to serve the one percent,” he said. “The airport experience just isn’t there any more,” proclaiming his thoughts that everyone soon will be opting for private travel over big commercial airlines. With the core demographic being 20 to 50 year olds, this may be achievable.

    “You don’t have to go through that archaic process and waiting on the phone,” Petrossov said. The membership includes a 24/7 concierge, as well as access to exclusive events. “You can go in the app, book it and pay for it. You can communicate with a certified aviation expert directly through the app. It’s an A to Z service. It really allows people to bring this industry to a digital world,” he added. These are a few more things that set JetSmarter apart. Those special perks have helped Petrossov to attract celebrity endorsements from major names including Christina Milian and Jenny McCarthy.

    So far, the business has been lucrative for Petrossov. Before JetSmarter, carriers would send empty legs from city to city. “Carriers use our platform to put hours on their planes,” he said. The app also connects to a GPS feed to provide all flights with empty seats in real time.

    With holiday travel in the air, JetSmarter sounds like a great way to make a good trip great. If you are looking to add some fabulousity to your travel plans, get more information at www.jetsmarter.com or download the app.

  • Eric Migicovsky: The Reason You Need to Have a Smartwatch Posted by Admin

    Eric Migicovsky

    Apple and Google may have jumped on the bandwagon of smartwatches most recently, but Eric Migicovsky can be noted to have started the trend. In 2008, Migicovsky rolled out his first prototype for a smartwatch. Migicovsky’s company Pebble sold thousands of smartwatches to their first customers via Kickstarter. After eight years of providing their customers with luxurious arm-wear that could connect them to the world or even keep track of their activities, Pebble was acquired for $23 million by Fitbit.

    “They’re not for everyone. For a couple of large groups of people, they are extremely useful,” Migicovsky said about who needs a smartwatch. “People who love to be connected, and want to keep up with the latest thing. They use smartwatches as their sixth sense,” he said. The watches connect to IOS and Android smartphones. If you are the type of person that doesn’t want to take out your phone to check messages or check other notifications, then you may be the right customer.

    Migicovsky went a different route when it came to raising money. Coming out of Y Combinator he thought they would easily raise $1 million. After receiving over 40 nos, he decided to use Kickstarter. That was one of the best decisions resulting in $10 million in his first round, and $20 million in a second round. Migicovsky also had the help of a senior editor at Engadget who released an article at the same time of the initial launch. Migicovsky had only hoped for about $5k from the first day of being on Kickstarter, but within hours they had raised over half a million dollars.

    Once Apple launched a smartwatch, the question of survival came up often. Migicovsky was sure Pebble supporters wouldn’t go anywhere. “We made a good product. It’s useful, functional, affordable, cool, and creative,” he said. “If you build something that people truly want and use, I believe there is long term value in that,” he continued. Pebble definitely had a community as well as a great price compared to the competition. To get you a luxury Pebble watch, it would only cost you between $99-250. Apple can start around $269 and go as high as $1500 for special editions.

    If you still aren’t convinced that a smartwatch is for you, there are a few reasons you should get one. “People who want to disconnect. They use smartwatches to keep in touch with one or two people they care about,” Migicovsky said. “The second group of people are health and fitness conscious folks,” he added. Finding the right one for you depends on your needs.

    “It’s all about the software,” the entrepreneur said. That would be the reason Fitbit purchased the software and operating systems of the company. You can still get a customizable watch that keeps you informed. In addition, you can still grab you a smartwatch at an affordable price with the same luxury. Check out some of the newest styles since the merge at www.fitbit.com.