Luxury Spotlight: Meredith Xavier from Ligné Magazine

Interior design can be dynamic and dramatic or it can be soft and supple but it should always be inspired. Meredith Xavier founder of the Ligne Agency and Ligné Magazine fell in love with beautiful things when working for Christies in Beverly Hills. After tiptoeing around the basement of the National Gallery and grabbing her Masters in Fine and Decorative Arts Connoisseurship she started the innovative Ligne Agency. Dealing exclusively with the creative world of interior design, the Ligne Agency offers a full public relations and business development service. Their highly selective client list boats the best artisans and designers in the business ensuring that high class vision is everything. We sit down with Meredith to find out how the ever tactile company of Ligne Agency is moving forward in the art of the digital age.

Meredith Xavier Creative Mind behind the Ligné Magazine 1

Every luxury expert has a different story on how they got started in the industry. What is yours?

I started at Christie’s Auction House in Beverly Hills. They hired me as an intern when I was a Junior at Pepperdine – and I became enamored with the culture. I was surrounded by incredible and significant works of art and decorative pieces. Soon I was cataloging sales and handling the business side of the art world.

I moved to London after I graduated and obtained my Masters in Fine and Decorative Arts Connoisseurship from Christie’s through the University of Glasgow. We spent our afternoons in the basement of the National Gallery viewing works of art the public has probably never seen. It was an incredible experience – and I knew working with the buyers and clients at this level was exactly where I wanted to be.

Tell us about Ligné Magazine. Who is your core audience and what marketing opportunities do you offer luxury brands?

Ligné Magazine started as an interior design focused publication and over the years has grown to encompass travel, fashion and culture. There is so much great design out there and sadly not as many places to get it published as there used to be in terms of print – so I decided to start my own magazine and tell the stories I wanted to tell. And I absolutely love to write, when I can find the time.

Our audience is consumers in the top 2% HHI and architects and designers that are working on multi-million dollar homes. Our print issue has controlled distribution, so our advertisers know exactly who it is going to. That is the biggest draw about working with Ligné Magazine. Our online readers vary greatly, but one thing they all have in common is a passion for interior design. That is the core of the magazine and always will be.

Meredith Xavier Creative Mind behind the Ligné Magazine 2.1

In what ways has your publication changed over the years? And how has your publication remained successful in light of competing digital magazines?

Like any magazine we have evolved dramatically each year. The design is better, the content is more international – and we are constantly striving to bring beautiful design to people who are perpetually on the lookout for ways to enhance their home, wardrobe and overall lifestyle. I don’t feel that we are competing with other digital publications – we live in a world that constantly bombards you with information. There is so much to see online that it is at times completely overwhelming. On the upside of that, digital publishing makes it easy to consume several magazines a day regardless of where you are. Ligné Magazine is meant to be something to escape with – a beautiful, clean design with great features that our readers can truly enjoy.

What do you think is the future for print publications, as compared to digital alternatives?

We print Ligné Magazine because the design industry is very tactile. They want to turn the pages, flag designs, bend a page corner – and even tear out images to put on an inspiration board. This is the beauty of print publications. What we are sharing and writing about is nothing like a newspaper. The magazines are meant to be kept and read over and over again – I will always prefer to read a magazine in print than online.

Digital brings accessibility. Articles are easy to share and everyone loves a good Pinterest board. We have a need for both, and I think we always will.

Meredith Xavier Creative Mind behind the Ligné Magazine 3

How has the world of social media affected print publications? And what is your strategy when it comes to social media?

Social media has allowed magazines to expand their audience by sharing original content and driving direct traffic directly back to their publication. It also helps build anticipation towards future issues – we love to preview articles or give sneak peeks to our social media followers so they have the inside track on our upcoming issues.

Many print magazines also manage a successful luxury blog. What is your take on this?

For us, we can’t put everything in print – so online is a venue to share stories and content that we think our audience would love, and just simply doesn’t work into an upcoming print issue. Having an online presence as a publication is vital to keeping readers engaged. It allows constant communication with readers that wouldn’t be available otherwise.

Meredith Xavier Creative Mind behind the Ligné Magazine 4

What do you think constitutes a successful marketing campaign? And what are some examples of successful campaigns that have featured in your publication?

A successful marketing campaign makes you stop and pay attention – whether through verbiage or imagery. It engages, and gives a relevant message to the audience for which it was created. Most of our advertisers are shelter industry focused, and the most successful campaigns are the simple ones. They exhibit great design with no fuss – they allow the quality of the product to come through and speak for itself.

Like most successful blogger/editor, you probably received hundreds of emails per month from luxury brands who want you to share their story. What makes you decide to work with a brand over the other?

I look for the unique – the one of a kind, and the true talent that isn’t just regurgitating what has been seen time and time again. I also publish products and projects that I personally feel stand for something. Sadly, that’s few and far between. And brands that send me a concise, to the point pitch that is tailored for our publication have a much better chance of getting coverage than the generic press release.

Meredith Xavier Creative Mind behind the Ligné Magazine 5

What is your take on press releases? Do you still enjoy receiving them or do you prefer a more personable one-on-one approach?

Definitely the one on one approach. We appreciate when a pitch is directed at our publication – knowing the individual who sent it has a knowledge and understanding of our audience and takes the time to send us edited and relevant content. Generic press releases that are sent to mass audiences are not of interest to us.

If you had to give advice to a new luxury startup on how to get featured in a prestigious luxury magazine, what would it be?

Get your brand out there – pick up the phone and call the editor you are pitching to. Let them know who you are – set a time to meet in person and show your work. Know your audience, your brand message and your PR goals. Editors appreciate hearing the story about the product and why it is significant, unique and worthy of valuable page space. Every pitch may not be a placement, but you are setting the foundation with that editor and building name recognition. That can only help the future success of your brand with that magazine.

Connect with Ligné Magazine on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn. Or reach out to us for an introduction.

Roxanne Genier

Roxanne is the Co-Founder of LuxeInACity and AgenceLuxury. An Avid sailor and traveler she stumbled into luxury in 2005 while working aboard superyachts. Since then she has been a private concierge for UHNWI and has helped several luxury brands with their digital needs.

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Tags: luxury magazine, luxury publication

Why All Luxury Brands Should Sell Online

Exclusive, elite, rare and sublime, these are just a handful of words that many luxury companies hope will emulate in a consumers mind when they hear a certain brand name. Yet these companies also feel that should they unmask their brand image online that they are at risk of falling from the luxury pedestal. The fear is almost palatable and doesn’t come without deep understanding.

The online world of commerce has long been associated with lower prices, swift availability and an easy shopping system that goes against the luxury grain. Luxury brands work hard to build intricate heritage stories, rich buyer experiences and to soak their status with being selective as opposed to all-encompassing and it seems that translating this to the online marketplace is a tricky feat. Hermes wants you to feel the slip of their scarves in your fingers, Chanel wants you to sip champagne in their opulent temple like stores and Baccarat wants you to breathe in the fragrance of myrrh in their crystal sculptured bottles before you buy.

Luxury companies are well aware that they are selling more than a product, that they are selling a lifestyle and a visage that taps into our subconscious urge to be special. How can you carry that prestige to the online world where everything is up for grabs and the whole platform reeks of impersonal clinical cut style? This may be the very reason why Chanel, Hermes and Dior have chosen to keep their wares strictly housed in brick and mortar. Yet the reality is they could also be falling short when it comes to opening the door of opportunity.

Luxury brands that don’t sell online may be keeping the valuable retail experience alive, they may be placing themselves far from the maddening crowds and they may be retaining their exclusive playing hard to get appeal, but they are also alienating many of their own potential buyers. The reality is that not everyone with a six figure income has the time, the patience and the drive to swing by the Champs-Elysees or Rodeo Drive in search of the latest trends. Wealthy people, like everyone else, are busy and also adore shopping from the comfort of their own home. Add into the mix the fact that many highbrow fashion boutiques have a bad rep for scrutinizing customers as soon as they step in the door and you start to see why the trends of luxury online shopping can seem attractive. There’s little doubt that luxury brands not adapting ecommerce are losing out on sales and kicking their own revenue in the teeth. Of course increasing sales isn’t always the aim of high class brands who tout retaining their integrity and protecting their image above all else.

Luxury branding is a creative entity there’s no doubt about it, building a beautiful brand, telling a story that inspires, showcasing the best of your talents and keeping the desire alive in consumers is an art form and why can’t that art form be applied to the online world? Just because a company chooses to sell online doesn’t mean it needs to lose its integrity. The very essence of an online luxury presence can be a remarkable challenge and can be controlled in the most exclusive fashion.  Beautiful online stores can be created much in the same vein as a brick and mortar set up and high spending clients can gain access to otherwise limited wares. In short there is a way for luxury brands to sell online without compromising their image and lowering the bar. Building an incredible online presence through social media is also something that luxury brands cannot ignore as this is where you lay the foundations for future clients, interact with customers and deliver innovative selling techniques to drive your revenue and reputation up. Of course all the social media interactions will drive traffic to your site and without anything to sell you are leaving the table bare and essentially turning your own customers away.

It’s not even all about money and loss of sales when it comes to the benefits of building an online marketplace, it’s about the future. The internet is here to stay and future generations are being raised to barely need to set foot in an actual store as everything is so readily available online. Luxury brands who continue to tread water rather than rising above the tides are sure to get left behind by not embracing the technological change.

Roxanne Genier

Roxanne is the Co-Founder of LuxeInACity and AgenceLuxury. An Avid sailor and traveler she stumbled into luxury in 2005 while working aboard superyachts. Since then she has been a private concierge for UHNWI and has helped several luxury brands with their digital needs.

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Great Luxury Marketing Resources for Brands

The Luxury market, like any market is constantly trending, changing and fluctuating with the economy and for those with a vetted interest it helps to stay abreast of these patterns. With the number of luxury consumers tripling over the past twenty years it seems that every day you can catch glimpse of headlines boasting luxury consumers new style, the changing habits of affluent shoppers and the rise of online marketing for luxury brands.

Of course many big name luxury companies choose to stick solidly to their roots and ideals, believing in the richness of their heritage as opposed to cresting and falling on the wave of the times. Yet all luxury businesses both big and small should be well aware of how the landscape around them is changing, who is emerging and who is lagging so that they are able to place themselves seamlessly in a way that effectively works for their business. The luxury niche no longer comes with a stiff upper lip and limited choice; it is savvy, sharp, wild and fiercely competitive, melding many styles and contradictions together. These luxury marketing resources for brands can be the perfect place to start in getting to grips with the world of luxury.

Luxury Daily

Leading the news in the world of luxury marketing, luxury daily is a divine place to peruse what’s hot, what’s not and what new launches and trends are currently making headlines. This is without a doubt one of the most comprehensive places to swing by with champagne in hand and find out who Sotheby’s have just signed a deal with, when you can expect Chanel’s new fragrance to hit the shelves and what pocket of the world the Ritz is planning on dazzling next.

Luxury Society

The luxury society is the place to be and be seen, even if it does exist in the sassy world of cyberspace. This virtual socialite party is a networking haven, throw on your pearls, grab your little black book and hurl yourself into an online world where you can have hearty debates, hash out new concepts, call on the expertise of other members and even strike up new business opportunities with other keen and able entrepreneurs. Along with meeting and greeting there is news to devour, headlines to hum over and close to the bone topics to explore.

Luxury Institute

Get a closer look into the world of luxury with the luxury institute. The blog is stuffed full of the latest luxury news whether its letting you know that Kate Spade is closing stores or giving you a glimpse into the most recent celebrity endorsements. Along with the latest headline grabbers there are many great articles pertaining to studies on luxury marketing and great advice from top affluent leaders on how to adapt your brand to boost your name and reputation.

LuxGuru

Lorre White AKA the luxury guru is no stranger to the world of the wealthy and with numerous press appearances under her belt she is the go to for all things fabulous. Lorre has firm connections in the power industry and her blog is filled to the brim with interesting articles, insights, product launches and so much more. For those who want to keep ahead of the current trends and who want to dabble in the world of inspiration and classy living, then the luxury guru can certainly point you in the right direction.

Brand Uniq

The power of marketing is arguably even more important when dealing in Veblen goods and this blog will give you plenty of pointers on how to place your brand in the limelight with strategic marketing skills. Simple, straightforward and free of fuss this blog is crammed with high caliber articles that will help you to place and position your brand, find the optimal pricing strategy, move your luxury presence into online world and more.

Bain Company 

Bain & Company have built their reputation for being the golden choice when it comes to consulting in the luxury niche and their articles have been published across the globe. From features in Forbes to the business standard they are certainly up there in the world of knowledge and know how. Covering a range of industries with far flung expertise it’s always good to swing by and check out their publications section to see expanding brands in the market, check equity reports and browse their archives.

Mckinsey 

Take a sneak peek behind the curtain with Mckinsey and find out the latest insights into luxury and consumerism. Those who want to know which markets are emerging, which digital consumer trends are growing and what’s happening differently in China than in Europe will adore the wealth of unbridled information available. Not only can you top up your know how on consumer trends but you can also get a ton of marketing strategy advice and tips on how to better engage your customers for growth.

Wealth X

Those immersed in the billionaire boom will find the news at Wealth X interesting to say the least. This financially indulgent blog not only shows you the money but also shows you where the money is changing hands, being kept, growing and falling. Not only can you find out about China’s newest investment laws but you can also get inside the heads of luxury entrepreneurs, see what designer bag maker Moynat has up his sleeve and see what challenges could be hitting the luxury market for the coming year.

Roxanne Genier

Roxanne is the Co-Founder of LuxeInACity and AgenceLuxury. An Avid sailor and traveler she stumbled into luxury in 2005 while working aboard superyachts. Since then she has been a private concierge for UHNWI and has helped several luxury brands with their digital needs.

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Future of Luxury – Trends to Follows

Future of Luxury – Trends to Follows

Recently, I was approached by Brady Dale, contributor at Fortune Magazine, for my opinion on the future of luxury. Although Dale presented my opinion in a very smart way (thank you Dale!), I wanted to take a little more time to put together additional thoughts on the future of luxury in 2015 to share with those who might need a few extra tips. So here you go, a few tips from someone who has held many luxury hats. Here are a few trends to follow if you want to keep up with the future of luxury.

The Shift From “Me” to “We”

In this new digital era, it’s no secret that luxury brands must embrace their community if they want to stand a chance against the test of time. New luxury consumers, especially Millenniums, need a little more interaction than a great advertising campaign plastered in print magazines and on TV. They want luxury brands to engage them through social media on a regular basis, not just by pushing products and branded facts, but by being real. To achieve this, brands must educate and entertain with interesting content and offer customer service through social media instead of setting up an offshore call center with no real value.

I recently spent a week analyzing the social media channels of dozens of luxury brands as part of a study for a patron and noticed that most are still stuck in the “Me” era. Most talk about them, themselves and …  once again themselves. They rarely acknowledge the fans they are speaking to, and they barely interact with influencers or other industry leaders unless it is for self-promotion. Although some luxury brand managers might think they have embraced the community, I suggest they take time to educate themselves on what it means to have a community mindset in 2015.
These “stuck-in-another-era” luxury brands will need to adapt quickly to the new realities of the “we” environment if they want to stay in the game. Select luxury brands are already paving the way and establishing a new luxury brand/fan relationship standard. A brand can still be exclusive and luxurious while being a member of the community; they simply need to be real.

The Rise of the Luxury Curator

We all know “Time is of the essence” but when it comes to the affluent audience, “Time is the ultimate luxury”. When I worked as a personal assistant for a High Net Worth Individual, roaming the world, planning luxury experiences or buying luxury goods, I was told “unless the cost is more than $10,000, please don’t come to me for an opinion. Just make the purchase yourself according to my taste and needs.” Obviously, when you start out as a personal assistant, that statement is a little scary, but with time, you realize that for HNWI, their time is more precious than their money. They have plenty of money, but little time to enjoy it. Once I gained the full trust of my employer, that $10,000 price point was gradually raised to $50,000.

Therefore, expert curators are luxury influencers, whether they are luxury bloggers, personal assistant, personal shoppers, art curators, and luxury travel agents. They will become even more precious to those who hold the real cash in upcoming years.

For luxury brands, this means that they will need to cater to these influencers and treat them with the same respect as HNWI since they often hold keys to the wallet. I will always remember the day when I entered a car dealership in Montreal and bought two new SUVS in 30 minutes. I didn’t want to drive them; I just needed a charcoal and black one that would be comfortable enough for a Golden Retriever. Now that is purchasing power in the luxury industry.

Luxury Experience Trumps Luxury Good

All good luxury marketing expert understands that in this highly competitive industry, it’s rarely about selling the characteristics of the product, but about promoting the brand experience surrounding the goods. This is why luxury brands spend large sums of money to bring forth their brand story through all available marketing channels.

Once again, it’s no longer enough to tell the story; luxury brands must allow their patrons to “live” this story through exclusive events, private shopping experiences, one-on-one interactions and more. For example, Shawn Boyer, head designer and co-founder of Anatomie, a luxury travel fashion brand, will often fly out to meet his patrons in their private homes to crank up their personal style. He will obviously coordinate Anatomie outfits, but also assist these influential women with heaps of fashion advice. His patrons have become his friends, and you can be sure that these ladies give him a lot back in return for his time and generosity. Shawn makes luxury human once more. He reminds me of Coco Chanel and other great luxury designers when they all started their career. You have to admit that it is a shame that you no longer get the same level of service with luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton and Yves Saint-Laurent.

Although, we have seen many trends in the last year to convince us that the future of luxury is changing, I feel that these are the most important and often the most disregarded by luxury brands. What do you think? Find me on social media, and share your opinion.

Roxanne Genier

Roxanne is the Co-Founder of LuxeInACity and AgenceLuxury. An Avid sailor and traveler she stumbled into luxury in 2005 while working aboard superyachts. Since then she has been a private concierge for UHNWI and has helped several luxury brands with their digital needs.

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