THE BLOG
09/23/2014 04:22 pm ET Updated Nov 23, 2014

Let's Talk About Luxury

gaspr13 via Getty Images

The wonderful all-embracing word "luxury" has been around for centuries... since ancient Rome, more than 2,000 years ago and before that the Athenians used it. Since the late 16th Century the word became part of the meaning it has today. The word rolls off your tongue like a great glass of champagne or wine. The meaning of Luxury is the exquisite, the extraordinary, the quality...it is the best of all. It can mean a lifestyle or a product. For many people it means also self-indulgence at great expenses. For some it can be a time away from everyday drudgery or just time-out to take a walk along a favorite park or beach, time with a friend. It has the meaning of joy. Whatever it is, it can be a great artwork, a beautifully crafted piece of furniture, a fine architecturally designed house. It always brings pleasure to the human spirit.

Throughout centuries luxury has had a meaning of the absence of vulgarity. There are many quotes of how people understood Luxury. Here are some of these quotes through centuries from businessmen, poets, writers, artists and others:

Gregory Furman, Founder and Chairman of The Luxury Marketing Council since 1994, with 1000 Luxury Brands, 5000 CEO's and CMO's in 57 Cities Worldwide says it best and among it quotes Mr. Stanley Markus:

"Luxury is the best that the mind of man can imagine and the hand of man can create."
He meant both luxury products and luxury services. Once that artisanal quality is appreciated and seen to stand far above others, price is no object. All major research on the luxury market and its customer shows that the most sophisticated, affluent buyers are becoming more participative in the ways in which they buy luxury products and services. Bespoke buying, meaning personification, customization and allowing best customers to influence the shape of products and services is now commonplace. The smartest luxury marketers are creatively engaging elite buyers to "surprise and delight" them at levels of participation not dreamed of a decade ago. This is particularly true among the millennials - 86 million of them in the US who increasingly demand high levels of personalized customer service. Today the experience, the memory, the story, the service are luxuries unto themselves. Luxury brands are investing in heightening their in-store communications of how they "touch" the sophisticated customer whose critical eye for luxury is ever more demanding.

Coco Chanel (French designer 1883-1971) said:
"Some people think luxury is the opposite of poverty. It is not. It is the opposite of vulgarity"

Edith Wharton (American author 1862-1937) wrote:
"Her whole being delighted in an atmosphere of luxury. It was the background she required, the only climate she could breathe in."

Samuel Johnson (English Poet 1709-1784) spoke of luxury:
"Every state of society is as luxurious as it can be. Men always take the best they can get."

Johan Wolfgang Goethe (German Poet 1749-1832)
"Beauty is everywhere a welcome guest"

Alan de Boton (Swiss Philosopher, Author 1969 - )
"The materialistic view of happiness in our age starkly reveals our understanding of luxury."

Giorgio Armani (Italian Designer) says:
"I believe that style is the only real luxury that is really desirable."

Ralph Lauren (American designer) is saying:
"I am interested in longevity-timelessness, style-not fashion."

Oscar Wilde ( English Author 1854-1900) wrote:
"I have a simple taste, only the best."

Rebecca Miller, Principal of Miller and Company, Consultants for Luxury products
"Luxury is about quality, details, materials, the hand of the artisan, the design of the creator, this total experience provides the foundation for its authenticity."

These various quotes throughout time also tell us that the meaning of luxury has changed little. Contemplating 'luxury' is already a luxury in itself and it requires time, thought and taste. In our hurried age it is a luxury to spend time with a friend, to allow yourself the contemplation of being, to read a book, linger in front of a painting, enjoy a play or concert. Many of these enjoyments are luxurious for they take time and thought. Luxury has not always to do with monetary value for Luxury is also a gift you can give yourself...for the time is precious and cannot be recaptured.

Learning to understand luxury, one also learns about the significant investment needed to earn the trust and respect by the patrons of a brand or brands. A car, a watch, a beautifully designed piece of jewelry, a bottle of wine or bottle of perfume, a gown... everything and all has to be led by the strategy of what it means to be luxurious and its message. It starts with the mundane things like marketing, public relations, customer service, packaging ...it has to be flawlessly developed, including the Logo and its message. It has to be consistent in its message. The basis of it is a vision, a craft, learned centuries ago... and it is the foundation upon which luxury is built. It will end in the proud owner's possession of a piece of luxury which keeps its value and its sentiment for years to come.