Historical Entrepreneurs in the Luxury Industry and Permanent Innovation

By Sophie Boutillier, Dimitri Uzunidis

While the history of luxury as an artisanal activity is a very long one, the luxury goods industry as we currently know it is relatively young. At the end of the 19th century, some entrepreneurs created a new industrial logic focused on luxury goods. Nicole-Barbe Ponsardin-Cliquot (Champagne), Louis Vuitton (luggage), Helena Rubinstein (cosmetics) and Gabrielle Chanel (haute couture) all launched dynamic businesses which still exist today, even if they are part of multinational groups, such as LVMH, for example. In this paper our aim is to describe the main steps that led to their enduring success. This analysis is based on the concept of the resource potential of the entrepreneur, which combines three elements: knowledge, financial resources, and social capital.
JEL Codes: L25; L26; O31


  • entrepreneurs
  • luxury industry
  • innovation
  • resource potential
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