keeping up with the times
American television personality Craig Ferguson once said, “Canada is not the party. It’s the apartment above the party." Well, James Mun, a Canadian and the CEO of luxury home decor brand L’Objet, could turn that apartment into a very stylish one. Mun comes from the world of finance and has consulted for small- and mid-sized businesses in the luxury and fashion industries in such areas as strategic planning and capital raising through private equity. He discovered a passion for top luxury brands and has worked as CFO for French crystal brand Lalique, luxury catalogue Vivre and fashion accessories site Luxlook.
L’Objet caters to the affluent in more than 50 countries, which involves a lot of travelling. I enjoy flying as it gives me time to relax and read magazines and newspapers.
I wouldn’t consider myself very creative, but my professional experience with a variety of luxury brands has enriched my taste and style in choosing items for personal use. I’m an avid collector of Lalique crystal objects and one of my selfindulgences is briefcases. I may even have more bags than my wife (since I take my computer everywhere).
As a consultant, I gave a lot of advice to my clients and I kept getting offers from brands to implement my ideas and to put my money where my mouth is, so to speak. Lalique, for example, needed somebody to grow its business within the Americas and align it with its European office.
Luxury is going through a paradigm shift. For many years, older heritage brands have prevailed and there is always a need for them. But now, people are looking for something different, something fresh. It’s one of the reasons why brands like L’Objet are growing. It offers unique interpretations such as merging old-world techniques with modern sensibilities, thus creating a new luxury lifestyle experience.
One of the difficulties faced by luxury brands today is new wealth that was acquired in the last 10 years. Some of the big spenders accumulated their fortunes very recently. Brands have to learn new ways to communicate with them. We are all experiencing the effects of globalisation. Even the definition of the modern family is very different from what it was 20 years ago. Today, it’s rare to find all family members living in one city, or even one country. Everybody is very much on the move. Luxury customers have changed as well. There is no more passing on of a heritage dinnerware set, for example, from one generation to the next.
The inspirations these days are truly global. Customers are well-travelled and much more educated than they have ever been. Technology, especially, has changed luxury and fashion, which is no longer contained within a boutique’s four walls. It’s omni-channel commerce now. Customers will go to a store to experience the luxury and fashion but will buy online, or they will do their research online and buy during their trip to Singapore, Hong Kong or New York City.