Business owners want to find their success identity. For that, they must propel themselves to their performance zone – and prepare for the inevitable Millennial Merger. Jesse Henry, founder of TheTheoryOfSuccess.com, can help you do exactly that! After college, he gave a TED Talk and became a peak performance strategist for Tony Robbins. Although that was an extremely positive experience, he quickly realized that working for someone else was not in his best interest, so he left the company to go off on his own. Jesse dedicates his time to helping people achieve their business goals, slowly but surely. Now you can, too!
The luxury space is going through such a dynamic change right now. For example, 40 percent of luxury goods consumption over the next few years is going to come from millennial dollars. We’re reaching peak earning years and a lot of luxury brands haven’t set themselves up to successfully cater to a millennial audience. Leyda Hernandez, CEO of C’est Du Luxe, is leading trend and consumer forecasting for luxury brands. C’est Du Luxe helps luxury brands understand new generations of customers, anticipate changes in luxury values and consumption, and respond strategically to emerging opportunities. Leyda has been recognized in Forbes’ 30 Under 30 and listed among the Top 10 Women in Tech by Everstring. She is also an adjunct professor at New York University’s School of Professional Studies, where she teaches campaign measurement and marketing analytics courses at the graduate level.
On this episode, we have Jesse Henry and Leyda Hernandez on the show. Jesse has a new book and we’re going to talk to him about that. If you haven’t seen his TED Talk, it’s really impressive as well. Leyda Hernandez is somebody you’ve probably seen on a Forbes 30 Under 30 list or even the Top 10 Women in Tech by EverString. She’s got a new company and I’m very anxious to talk to her about that.
Listen to the podcast here:
The Millennial Merger With Jesse Henry
in college. After college, he gave a TED Talk and became a peak performance strategist for Tony Robbins. Although this was an extremely positive experience, he quickly realized that working for someone else was not in his best interest, so he left the company to go off on his own. He is now the Founder of TheoryOfSuccess.com, where he dedicates his time to helping people become the best version of themselves. For someone to find their success identity, they must be able to propel themselves to their performance zone. He provides workshops, consulting, speaking, and individual development to help people achieve their goals. It’s so nice to have you here, Jesse.
Thanks, Dr. Hamilton. Thanks for having me on the show.
I watched your TED Talk. It was very impressive. I was really interested in your childhood story. Do you want to share that?
Like many people in the audience, everyone knows someone who had a stutter. I was the tall, semi-awkward, a little too tall, a little too skinny guy who had a stutter as a kid. I did speech therapy for a little over a decade and the tools and tactics that they were giving me weren’t very real world applicable because at the end of the day, you can use all these tools and tactics, but you get up on stage and everything seems like it goes away at that moment. A lot of what really helped me was stage acting and it’s definitely not a traditional form of speech therapy, but you give someone 50 lines to memorize and a microphone and 2,000 people in the crowd, you’re going to learn how to stop stuttering pretty quickly.
It’s something that was hereditary. My Dad had it, my brother had it. I knew that at some point I would overcome it, but as someone who was a terrible communicator as a kid, a lot of the purpose that I was seeking towards the end of college and at the very beginning of my career was the significance and people telling me that I was a great speaker and then I could turn my biggest weakness into my biggest strength. That’s what really drove me towards the opportunity with Tony Robbins is that I used to be such a bad speaker that for me to have the opportunity to be one of several people that travel the country doing these corporate trainings, it felt like I was proving myself and proving to the world that I could turn my biggest weakness into my biggest strength.
Unfortunately, after six or so months I decided that this isn’t for me. There’s some misalignments that I felt, so I moved on to the next step in life. I started working on a book and now I’m in the investment banking and private equity space. I’m exploring these new territories and a lot of them are byproducts of people saying, “You went and worked for Tony Robbins. What made you get into banking or what made you get into finance?” As my career’s propelled, the questions, the insights and the conversations have propelled with it.
I’m curious how you got on Tony’s radar. What made you want to do the TED Talk first of all? You’ve got on Tony’s radar after that, correct?
Yes, I got on his radar because of the TED Talk. I had met his son, Jairek, at a conference and shared with emceeing. As an emcee, you’re always looking for the participants, the crowd. Anyone who sat in a classroom with me knows I’m the annoying participant that has far too many questions. Jairek came up to me and any type A personality is great for him because he’s totally independent of people who are confused about what’s going on. Jairek came up to me halfway through the event and was like, “My dad does this thing with speakers, they travel the country and I think you’d be great at it. Is it something you’d be interested in?” I was like, “I have my own company. I’m studying entrepreneurship.” I had this self-righteous ego during my last semester of college and so I blew it off. He’s like, “If you’re interested in it, go online, check it out.” I was like, “Where can I find out more info?” He said, “TonyRobbins.com.” I was like, “Now that you say that, I could see the resemblance.” You couldn’t really see it.
The day after the TED Talk, I sent an application and said, “I’m sure most of your speakers, as I’ve seen online, is 35, 40 years old. They’re all super successful, but I noticed none of them had done speaking at the highest level. This is a copy of my TED Talk. If you like it, feel free to reach back out. If not, no worries.” They reached out five or six weeks later and had to start off with good old-fashioned scripts, 8,500 words. Imagine an actor doing a monologue. The process to get on boarded to the company was very tedious and rigorous, probably four or five weeks of straight memorization and making flashcards and creating associations and remembering the script. To get the job, you have to script it out.
I saw Tony Robbins live at an event here, but he was a panel where he was being asked questions. He wasn’t doing his deal in front of the crowd. I’ve never actually gone to one of his other events that you probably were involved in. Would you be up on stage when he wasn’t up there? He has other people come up there and then you have to memorize this talk. This is fascinating to me because I’d never really thought about what happens when he’s not up there.
Tony has a sales organization and across all those companies, he does $4 billion or $5 billion dollars. The guy has really figured out how to systematize his products. Before Tony goes to an event, say he has an event in New York City in four months, he sends out his speakers and different people on his team. He has a few people that are boots on the ground, which are the speakers and then he has just coordinators. Without giving away too much of the organization, they have a whole penetration strategy on market segments. Three or four months before tony gets to the event, his people and his team fill up these seats so that when Tony arrives, all of a sudden, there’s 10,000 people in the crowd. He’s created the infrastructure. It’s taken them 40 years to get to where he’s at. He’s built an empire so you can get 10,000 people in a room.
You had to be an expert to talk onstage. What did you talk about?
This is part of the reason why I left is because in my TED Talk, I specifically mentioned it, there’s two types of people. There’s talkers and doers. I left college and what did I go do? I went to go be a talker. I decided that, “I’ll be a great speaker forever. That skill set isn’t going anywhere, but I need to go and actually do something and gain some experience, so that I have something to talk about.” I’m not just talking about other people’s words because as I found out with Tony Robbins world, there’s a lot of information repackaging out there. Most of these people who were gurus, who were these high-end professionals, the people that are on your Facebook newsfeed that are targeting you. These are 90% of market or 10% value. These are not people who have these new innovative methodologies. Most of the Tony Robbins methodologies are based around an LP, neuro-linguistic programming system. If you understand what the philosophers from 500 BC were saying, Aristotle and Socrates, if you understand those concepts and you understand neuro-linguistic programming, how the brain associates pain and pleasure, then you really understand a lot of what the Tony Robbins world has to say. There is a stigma with the self-help environment. What I was doing is I was doing these corporate trainings, helping people uncover and eliminate their beliefs and patterns and removing these emotional blocks and inner conflicts that they’re facing in their lives. At the end of my engagement, I more or less like say, “If you like this, you’re going to love this.” If you are really understanding and feeling some of the things that we’ve talked about, some of the pain, some of the gaps in your life, then the solution is the Tony Robbins spree and in a half-day unleash the power within the event.
The problem for me is like, “I really enjoy helping people.” At the end of the day, if I’m running a script and then I’m going to another event and I’m running the same script, like the way you talk to a real estate agent versus a car salesman versus an insurance agent versus an entrepreneur, these are all going to be different ways of communicating. I felt like I was stuck in these patterns of communicating the same way to different people. I felt on top of that that although I was using my personal peak performance methodologies at the highest level, that my business acumen was taking a hit because I wasn’t able to help people from a finance standpoint. When I left the Tony Robbins Organization, I noticed two blatant problems.
One is access to capital, which is age old. It’s not changing. Every business is looking for more access to more capital. Number two is millennials. People will come up to me and say, “Jesse, I like you. You’re cool, but your generation sucks.” I do not know what to do. I’d sit there and be like, “Are you using the same strategies and tactics and methodologies to solve problems for someone in your organization that’s 50? Then you are solving a problem for someone who’s 25.” Their answer was always yes. I’m like, “If you’re seeing that something works for a 50-year-old but not a 25-year-old, now you’re starting to uncover the solutions.” After I quit, I went on two adventures. One is, I wrote a book. It’s called The Millennial Merger: How to Sell, Manage, Empathize, and Communicate in a Multigenerational Workforce.
I really focused on the problems that executives especially the Gen X and Baby Boomer executives are having, connecting to not only their millennial workforce, but in some cases their target demographic. Outlining the millennial ideology how we think, why we think the way we think, and not saying, “Everyone has to adapt to us,” but giving some insight and perspective as to why we think differently and how we can solve some of those generational nuances moving forward, that’s how I solved the millennial problem. Then the finance problem, I decided that by entering into investment banking and then eventually the private equity space that I’m raising the stakes. I’m doing public speaking. Instead in front of 200 people, I’m doing it in front of three people, but for lots of money.
All I did was I raised the stakes and I said, “I want to sit at the intersection of the economy.” The intersection of the economy to me is where small companies get medium and medium companies get big. If I can help companies get financing and access to capital, then one day I can go out and raise my own fund and provide access to capital and financing to companies who really need it and serve. The Tony Robbins experience really helped me dive into these different directions and helped me see the greater market as a whole and some of the nuances and problems the market was facing and gave me the opportunity to find solutions to those problems.
Your stuff that you write about are very interesting to me. I talk to groups about that all the time and it’s such a hot topic for the generational conflict. Everybody wants to talk about it before. I couldn’t agree with you more that people need to be treated individually and if you put people into boxes and just treat everybody the same way, you’re going to fail. I love that you’re talking about that and you did talk a lot about perspective in your TED Talk and we all have such unique perspectives. You were saying that because of that, you can’t really teach somebody how to be an entrepreneur. What do you mean by that?
That’s somewhat loaded because I studied them. My degree is in entrepreneurship and professional sales. To me though, can you teach someone innovative business models, financing, how did it evolve the team, management, marketing, and sales? You can teach all of these in very segmented and nuanced ways, but you can’t teach the ability to put things together and make shit happen. That’s a skill set in and of itself. They have the big five conscientiousness. I know one of the top ones, patience. Patience is a great skillset to have in business. The greatest entrepreneurs, what they have is they have these value stacks. Over time, they build up these layers of value.
Matthew Hussey talks about it from a dating standpoint. The guy that you want or the girl that you want, you don’t want them because they’re just funny. You can find someone that’s just funny. You can find just good looking. You can find someone that just witty, but when you start to stack and layer these things, when you find someone that’s funny, they’re witty, they’re smart or good looking, they make you think critically, when you start to stack and layer these qualities, that’s what he refers to as a rare bird. He’s like a Tony Robbins in the relationship world. You can use that though, if you pull that over into entrepreneurship. Of course, you could teach someone how to be more patient or a better leader but when you start to stack all of these things on top of each other, the thing about entrepreneurs to me is you have to be super smart, but you also have to be crazy enough to really think you can actually do it.
Even Steve Jobs said that any sane person would quit. You got to be a little crazy. No sane person is going to stay up for twenty hours straight to get something done, but an entrepreneur is. There’s a big gray area. Can you teach the techniques and the tactics and the distinctions? Of course, it’s a skillset that can be learned, but the execution of a lot of these things takes a lot of time and people are really focusing on the business end of it, not the personal end, and what they’re doing versus what the business is doing. For me, mindset isn’t necessarily a big problem for myself. I can get myself out of bed and get the day going. Just like you said, you start at 4:00 AM and you get it rocking. I don’t need the mindset work. I need to execution work and the teamwork. Those are where I need to build up some equity, but people tend to focus a lot on the business and what’s wrong with the business. They don’t take time to look within and think about the problems that they could be solving.
Warren Buffett, he even says it himself. He spends most of his days thinking and reading. I’m finding as I’m in the banking space and I’m working with a lot of high level entrepreneurs who are making great money and have the ability to raise capital is that they’re not spending twelve hours a day working. They’re not burning the candle at both ends. They’re giving themselves time for exercise. They’re giving themselves time to just think. They’re giving themselves time with family, and this is what’s giving them perspective and insight. This is what’s honing their intuition. It’s really hard to hone your intuition if you’re working for eighteen hours a day because it’s just nose to the grindstone. If you give yourself that space, it allows your consciousness to pull in all the resources that it has at its disposal.
The hustle as Gary V would say, gets glamorized. It gets sensationalized, like you’re celebrated if you stay up for 24 hours and drink three Red Bulls and code 100 lines of code, but the reality is the most successful entrepreneurs aren’t doing that. It’s not that they’re not working hard, they are working hard, but their consciousness can’t put the pieces of the puzzle together when they’re three inches from the project. They need to take a step back and get a better sense of perspective.
You said a couple things before about people aren’t talkers or doers. I’m wondering if you’re thinking strategic or tactical, if you’re making it like leaders or followers differentiation there. My biggest question to you based on the things you said you can learn or things that you can stack up or things you can’t really learn, you mentioned the big five. One of the big five is openness to experience, which to me, is curiosity. Do you think that you can teach somebody to be curious? Does that have to come naturally to entrepreneurs? What advice would you give somebody? Don’t you think that in order to have the drive and motivation, you have to first be curious?
Curiosity is one of the core constructs of being an entrepreneur because in order for you to find the problem and create a solution to a problem for your business, you have to be curious. If you’re not curious, you’re just going to identify the problem and say, “Screw it.” That’s a problem. Other people have seen the problem. Like Uber. We all had the solution for Uber before Uber came out, and only one person capitalizes on their curiosity and now he’s in his own little situation, but he executed at the highest level and everyone sits there and they said that they thought about Uber. Everyone thought about it, but no one executed on. Curiosity is very important. One of the hardest problems that humans face is knowing when to maintain a pattern or keep a steady process and knowing when to shift that process.
I’m very open to change. Change is a big part of my life. It’s a big part of humanity and I embrace it. What happens when you’re in a great situation? Because you’re so open to change, you naturally seek to change something when the best thing to do would have been to maintain it as it was. People like Tony Robbins are always talking about the importance of habits and patterns and rituals. Success is doing things over and over and maintaining a certain process and trusting the process and then after a certain period of time, that process gets fulfilled. What happens when you have an internal conflict, where we see a new path, new potential pattern, a new, a way to transcend the life that we currently live? How do we know whether that’s a pattern we should adopt or whether that’s a pattern we shouldn’t be gaining?
Human curiosity is great but sometimes it can get us into trouble. It’s like anything. It’s good in small doses. You eat a whole bowl of grapes; you’re going to have a stomach ache. You fix for every curiosity that you’ve ever had, you’re not going to get anything done. What entrepreneurs have to focus on is their ability to really hone in on that inner voice. Steven Spielberg says it best. He says, “That inner voice that we have, it doesn’t scream at us. It whispers.” It’s a very calm whisper and so you’re waiting for the answer that you’re looking for in your life. If you’re waiting for Jesus to scream out on a Tuesday morning that this is the answer, you’re not looking in the right places.
The answer is within your consciousness. It’s whispering at you and it’s your curiosity. It’s itchy everyday saying, “Come down this path, come down this path.” It’s very hard for entrepreneurs to really hone in on that skill set and listen in to that skill set because there’s so much advice out there on what to do, how to do it, when to do it. People are very susceptible to that advice and not that any advice is good nor bad, but individuals are individuals and if we take advice with a grain of salt and know ourselves within the context of the advice that we’re being given, then it’s a lot easier to see if this is a pattern we should adopt, if this is an aspect of curiosity that we should delve deeper into, or if we should stay focused and not let the shiny objects get in our way because shiny object’s syndrome for entrepreneurs. It’s a bad habit for every one of us.
I’m getting an image of a dog going, “Squirrel.” It’s really easy to get distracted by the squirrels. You said know yourself, but is there some way that you’ve learned to hone in on that, to not get distracted by the squirrels, and to know when to become curious?
I’d been listening to a lot of YouTube videos. I’ll just download them on my phone and start listening. A lot of times, we overcomplicate it. There’s a BuzzFeed article that says, “Seventeen things entrepreneurs need to do,” or “23 skillsets that you need to have as an entrepreneur.” It’s over complicating things. You need to master two things, your thoughts and your actions. Many would say that that’s oversimplifying something that’s a lot more complicated, but let’s call it what it is. If you set your intentions on something, you set a goal. You know that you want to attain that goal. All you need to do is fulfill the action items. This year for me has been quite different. I set goals at the beginning of the year and what I realized is that goals tend to not work for me. What works for me is aligning with my intentions.
If I have the intention to work out today and I wrote that down, there’s really no excuse for me to not work out today. If I aligned with my intentions, then I’m going to work out. If I don’t align with my intentions, then I’m not going to work out. I find myself in a state of either aligning with the intentions or deciding that the attention isn’t really the best thing for me. What that’s helping me do is really hone in my focus and cut out the noise. In the ‘90s, maybe information was power. That old adage probably popped up late in the 20th century. In the 21st century, knowledge isn’t power. It’s the ability to filter out all the noise and get down to the one piece of information or the one action item you need. That’s what power is. We have information overload today. If you listen to everyone’s advice, you’re going to get analysis paralysis and never actually do anything. You find the one piece of advice that works specifically for you. You have your intention and as long as you’re aligned with your intentions, you are going to be driven to do what you need to get done. When you have these big lofty goals and you get intimidated and you don’t know action items and you didn’t really set clear intentions, you want to make a million dollars, but you didn’t really set the intention is on why you want it and how you’re going to get there, it’s a lot harder to make a million dollars when you’re in that state.
If you know that the million dollars you’re going to make is for specific purpose, you have that purpose written. Setting an intention is so much deeper than a goal and intention. To me, it really sits in your heart. You are a part of your identity. Whereas the goal is something superficial. The goal doesn’t really matter. The Lamborghini doesn’t matter. It’s who you become in the process of attaining that Lamborghini or attaining that million dollars, the person you become, that’s the real sense of fulfillment. That’s what you’re really searching after. The goals that I’ve found for me working with clients when they set goals, they’re very short-sighted. They’re very short-winded. They don’t last very long. If you set an intention with a purpose behind it and some action items, you’re going to be driven towards that purpose on a daily basis and by aligning with your intentions, you’re going to filter out all the noise, filter out all the BS, and just get down to what you need because you and I know it’s too much information out there. We need to cut it out, not add more to it.
You offer amazing amount of content on your workshops, your consulting, your speaking and your book. If you want to share how people can reach you? A lot of people would like to know how they could follow you. Can you share that?
My book is called The Millennial Merger and there’s definitely some interesting insights there. You can also add me, I’m very active on the Zen. I try to answer every message, every incoming request. If you shoot me a message on LinkedIn at Jesse Henry, I should pop right up.
Jesse, this has been so much fun. Thank you so much for being my guest. I really enjoyed this.
I’d appreciate it. Thanks for having me on.
Consumer Forecasting With Leyda Hernandez
I am here with Leyda Hernandez, who’s the CEO of C’est Du Luxe, the leader in trend and consumer forecasting for luxury brands. C’est Du Luxe helps luxury brands understand new generations of customers, anticipate changes in luxury values and consumption, and respond strategically to emerging opportunities. Hernandez is an award-winning marketing expert, recognized on Forbes 30, Under 30, and listed among the Top 10 Women in Tech by EverString. Leyda is also an adjunct professor at New York University’s School of Professional Studies where she teaches campaign measurement and marketing analytics courses to the graduate level students. I am so anxious to speak to you. Welcome, Leyda.
Thank you, Diana. I’m so excited to be on the show. I’m so excited to share what we’re working on.
I’ve had quite a few Forbes 30 Under 30 on my show and you guys are always so impressive to me, what you’ve been able to accomplish at such a young age. I would have never had the drive at that age to even do some of the stuff. You take on bigger responsibilities. This is a huge undertaking. Is this your first company that you’ve been the CEO of? Can you give me a little background?
I’ve always, in some ways, been an entrepreneur at heart and in many ways, I feel like C’est Du Luxe is a culmination of all of my experience. I started in the art world, so I have a bachelor’s degree in studio art. I wanted to figure out how I could still be creative, but in the business world. That led me to PR and then ultimately marketing in the world of digital and analytics. C’est Du Luxe was a culmination of all of that because it’s bridging the worlds of arts and sciences. There’s so much of luxury that is an art in itself and it’s these traditions and craftsmanship. This is like an artisanal, exclusive feel.
There’s so much of the luxury world that’s emotional and artistic and creative and so much of it that in retrospect, when you look back from a historical standpoint, there’s so many of these luxury goods or services or these moments that affect culture on a much larger scale, not just the culture of luxury. It felt like I was bridging all of these things together. I had come from the art world and from a creative background. Because of this tech boom and because of everything that’s going on in digital, and I am a millennial myself, I got very well-equipped and the world of data, the world of analytics, and the world of tech. Some of the courses that I teach at the graduate level at several universities are on the analytics and data.
It was a blessing to be able to bring in the world of science and the world of data to the world of luxury that, in a lot of ways, has not been able to take advantage of the events that come along with technology. It’s a culmination of both of those worlds, of the arts and science world. The luxury space is always exciting, but it’s exciting because it’s going through such a dynamic change right now. For example, 40% of luxury goods consumption over the next few years is going to be coming from millennial dollars because we’re reaching our peak earning years and a lot of these luxury brands haven’t set themselves up for success to talk to a millennial audience. A lot of them have been very hesitant to embrace digital and to embrace the internet and for good reason. You have brands that are basically built on this perception of exclusivity and this perception of this field being aspirational. How do you manage that on a platform like the internet where everyone had access? How do you still manage to be exclusive in that world? That was very hard for a lot of luxury brands to tackle. You still have a ton of them that don’t have eCommerce websites.
If the consumption of luxury goods is going to be coming from millennial dollars, they haven’t set themselves up in a way to be present for that change. It’s coming out at a very exciting time because luxury itself is changing, who the luxury consumer is changing, what we consider a luxury today is changing. C’est Du Luxe is in the middle of that, helping these brands understand what’s going on in the landscape and understand what’s going on with their customers and focus on where their business is going anywhere from three months to five, seven years from now and making sure that they’re setting themselves up for success.
You said, “What do we even consider as luxury?” When you talk about luxury, are we talking travel? Are we talking about Chanel handbags? What are we talking about when we’re talking about luxury here?
We’re industry agnostic, so we’re looking at the entire luxury category. The way that we think of it is that there’s a luxury good or luxury presence for every aspect of your life. In a lot of ways, I think of luxury as the celebration or an art of living. You think of like, “What’s the best possible way that I could travel or what’s the best possible way?” It’s a personal choice for everybody. I think of it a celebration of a lifestyle or a celebration of identity. We’re really industry agnostic because you can have one person that has ten luxury brands that they might feel connected to because each one of them serves as a different aspect of their life. One of them might be for skincare, the other one might be fashion, the other one might be travel, the other might be watches.
You have a very broad spectrum in terms of industries, but at the same time, what all of these categories have in common is that they share a very unique model in terms of how they approach business, in terms of how the approach brand, and in terms of how they approach marketing. A luxury brand, you simply cannot market it in the same way as you would any other brand. It doesn’t follow most of the rules of traditional marketing. It doesn’t follow most of the models and concepts that we use for traditional marketing. I’ll give you a good example of what that looks like. It’s very rare for luxury brands to go directly to the consumer or to their potential customer, which seems completely contradictory to the laws of marketing, but if you figure out who your target market is, then you go directly to that person and you convince them to buy. You have these one-on-one conversations once you’ve identified who that person is. In the luxury world, because you have to manage that illusion of exclusivity and this aspirational dream world and dream universe, you can’t be too close to the customer. It’s very rare for luxury brands to go directly to the consumer. What you want to do instead is affects the culture around that consumer. Versace is a very good example of what they’ve done in the last few years.
They had a big pay day in the ‘90s and then their brand, in a lot of ways, became synonymous with tackiness over the years. All of a sudden, they are so relevant again. I’m like, “How do you do that as a brand, especially as a luxury brand where you still have to have some distance?” Luxury in and of itself is socially and economically segregation. It’s not for everybody even though everybody might be interested in luxury. Your luxury consumers are a much smaller group and so you have to affect the culture around that person. You have to make this seem desirable. You have to create a universe or dream world of who this person is and the idea that is behind that brand.
Versace, for example, you have Bruno Mars that has been choosing Versace for the last couple of years. All of a sudden, you might not necessarily be looking at something for Versace related, but you’re looking at Bruno Mars and you’re looking at all these different kinds of musicians. All of a sudden, you’re seeing Versace everywhere. They’re dressed head to toe in Versace. He has a song called Versace on the Floor, so all of a sudden, it’s not just in Hollywood, it’s in the music. We had the 20th anniversary of the assassination of Gianni Versace. We had the release of the American Crime Story that was profiling him. Now, you see Versace in Hollywood, you see Versace on a stage, you see it on the Grammy’s, you see it on MTV or in your music videos on YouTube, you see it infiltrating your television in a way that you didn’t expect. It’s becoming so relevant and it’s created this bubble around you.
Versace, in one of the fashion weeks that they did in the fall, maybe you’re familiar with this because this was a moment that transcended the fashion world and it was like a cultural phenomenon moment. Donatella Versace had all of the ‘90s supermodels walk the runway and that was a massive moment, not just profession, but for culture in general. Versace is now responsible for creating that historical, cultural moment. Whenever you have a fashion week, you have probably hundreds of designers that are showcasing their designs. Of that fashion week, the one that you heard the most about was Versace because they created this moment that transcends even just a little bit fashion.
With luxury brands, it’s a completely different approach when it comes to marketing and when it comes to branding. A lot of the insights that might be great insights, great marketing insights, great best business best practices for any other industry, would just not apply to any brands in the luxury category. It might apply for other watchmakers, but it’s not going to apply for the creators of luxury time pieces. In business best practices that work well for restaurants generally would probably not work well for luxury restaurants. It’s a completely different dynamic. We’re industry agnostic for that reason because there’s a lot that happens at a macro level in terms of what changes the values of luxury, what changes the consumer of luxury.
In reality, you have all of these different categories that are complementing different aspects of possibly the same person’s life, and because you have so many different marketing recommendations and business practices that might apply to that industry at large, but don’t apply if you are all of a sudden in our luxury category, is why we’ve separated ourselves to focus specifically on just luxury. You have a lot of these insights that are great insights, but they’re completely useless to the luxury world. How good is an insight if it’s not relevant to you?
You’ve mentioned how Bruno Mars helped with a song. Can a song take down a brand and how do you track all this? You’re helping them look at these ways of forecasting and trending. What do you do exactly for them? You give them data, is it some kind of a predictive analysis?
There are several ways that we do this. We do trend forecasting for luxury brands. What inspired C’est Du Luxe is I was looking at a lot of other trend forecast. We do a lot of work in fashion. A lot of the recommendations that were coming from that world or the traditional forecasting world were not actually data driven, which was shocking to me. I have a lot of experience in the tech world and you would never give somebody a business recommendation that you didn’t have data to support that. In the tech world, we have this thing that if somebody’s given you a recommendation and they have no data to back it up, then it’s just an opinion.
You had a lot of opinions in the trend forecasting world in terms of what was going to be coming up, what was a trend, what was going to be popular, but you didn’t have solid connections or data to support these kinds of insights. That was what inspired C’est Du Luxe, but there was not a whole lot of people that we’re focusing on the luxury category specifically, which has its own different rules of marketing and business. A lot of these other trends insights that would be offered to them might not be relevant to them at all. There’s a lack of data in technology that is used in a lot of other trends forecasting services. What we do is we connect the dots always using data but at a different scale.
We have a platform that people can come and access a library, like an archive of reports that continuously get published. Instead of giving people the raw data because then you would need an analyst. In some ways, we haven’t solved your problem because we didn’t give you any answers, we just gave you a something that you then had to digest. That’s a huge problem in the business world is that you have too much data and so you end up being data rich and insight poor. We’ve skipped over that so that we provide the insights. We’ve done all of the analysis. We have a team of researchers, of analysts, of academics, and we provide the insights. You don’t have to do that work for you, specifically within the luxury world.
It’s like the lifestyles of the rich and famous. You’re an expert in understanding what it is that people want that’s luxury and you know how to forecast based on your experience and you’re looking at all the data and you interpret it for them.
We do interpretation at the macro level, so these big changes of where the distribution of wealth is coming from. Who the billionaires of today is a completely different group even just in terms of ultra-high net worth individuals, so like $30 million and up. These individuals are very different. The demographic and psychographic makeup of this group of people is very different than it was even just a decade or two ago. We look at these macro level trends, like how social changes, economic changes, political changes, how are these things affecting business and luxury business in general? Then we start to drill down from there. We have reports that are segment specific. We’ll look at, for example, the behavior of millennials. We’ll look at specifics within certain industries and different behaviors.
We have the macro report and then within that we dig deeper by segment, by industry, and by behavior. You might get to the level where you would have, for example, a report that’s very specific of how these millennials are responding to jewelry and what kind of moment where we’re actually celebrating now and how is that different. We’re always focused on what the future of luxury is. We’re understanding what’s going on today, but the biggest thing is not just be factual information of, “This brand is doing this,” or we find that this is interesting, but how are these influences going to change and continue to grow. For example, we have a big feminist movement right now in the United States. With every action, there’s a reaction. In some ways, we play devil’s advocate of where this is going and what are all the things that this could possibly impact. One effect of that, for example, is that in some ways, you have an anti-male narrative that comes with feminism and not all of it is like that, but you do have a small piece of a conversation that is anti-male.
You have it in a larger scale, so you analyze that specific behavior and you start to see that marriage rates are declining. You search that the genders aren’t getting along and that has a big effect, not just in terms of feminism and what’s going on in the workplace, but it has a big effect in terms of birth rates. We’ve had a big birth rate decline in the United States in 2011, so what does that mean for our future generation? We are think that this big feminist movement is trying to improve the future for all of our daughters, but in reality, are we having children? For example, if we’re just looking at that group, millennials are having children a lot later. Because they’re having children later, they’re also having less children. You start to look at a future of one child household or pet-child household. What does that mean? For example, Generation Alpha, that’s the generation being born now, the first one from that generation after Gen Z. Generation Alpha is going to be largely one child household. What does that mean for the distribution of wealth? All of a sudden, you have an inheritance that’s just been passed down to just one individual. Generation Alpha is probably going to be the wealthiest generation that we’ve seen. We’re constantly looking at how all of these things are affecting each other and where this is possibly going to go.
I’ve had billionaires on my show and sometimes I ask them what they do with their money and a lot of them don’t even want to spend that much of it. Then you talk to people who maybe someone might consider nouveau riche that tend to want to spend it all, that don’t have as much. It’s a different time of how people are spending their money. What you do is fascinating because the way we’ve always done things is going to be different. I’m curious what you think about the Bruno Mars thing. Can we set up a company for success or failure by setting up these songs and different things? Did Bruno have a contract with Versace to do that or did it just happen on its own that he just thought, “This is a cool thing,” and then it became a success later?
It’s definitely a partnership. It’s not a one-sided thing. It’s definitely a conversation on both sides. Bruno Mars is head to in Versace, you have Versace on the Floor, but you also see Donatella Versace lip syncing to Versace on the Floor on her own Instagram. It’s definitely two-sided. They’re looking for mutually beneficial relationship. With luxury, you’re always playing this game of being relevant and being part of the culture. Luxury brands, they are historical power of houses, but even that, a lot of time has an expiration date. You have to continuously be evolving. For example, we had Chanel. It was the first one to ever do a fragrance coming out of a fashion house and now that is pretty commonplace. The new thing that you see is not an expansion into fragrance because that’s been exhausted, but the new way to stay relevant is cosmetics. That’s a huge rising industry, not just in the United States, but internationally.
You have to continuously look for these opportunities. When something goes to sleep at night that they are dreaming of the Chanel brand, what does that mean? Their aspirational goals and how that matches up with what you and your brand represent constantly has to evolve. For example, we saw Coach do a very large campaign with Selena Gomez. They’re directing where they want, and that’s the perfect way to think about it. You want to be in charge of the brand and direct where you want to go with it. You’re not necessarily a lot of times competing against each other, but you’re trying to be the best version of yourself. The best versions of that brand, the best product, the best version of Louis Vuitton versus being a competitor of any of the others.
You do have to be very purposeful about these relationships. It is still a game. We have seen a big democratization of luxury in the sense that is in a lot of ways more pop culture. You have a lot of these luxury brands that have moved away from high levels of craftsmanship. For example, you see the fashion brands moving away from haute couture to more and more towards ready to wear. You do see that more people have access to luxury today than it has previously. You do see that in a lot of ways. It has been democratized but then they’ll have a long way to go. It is socially segregationist. Bruno Mars is not the only musician that has done a Versace song, but he chooses who. There are other ones that are huge names but don’t represent the markets that maybe Versace wants to be in.
Versace, when they create these relationships, they are very purposeful about their role within culture and within society. They don’t choose everybody that name drop them. A lot of them have Versace in the name of the cooperation, so it’s the same kind of power that Bruno Mars has made, maybe the same level as a celebrity, same kind of product placement within their music. However, Versace has not chosen to have a productive relationship with them because they are picking and choosing who their audience and who they want the Versace customer to be.
All the work you do is so fascinating. I love that you gave us a little bit of insight on some of this because this is all different for some of the shows that we do. I found this fascinating. I’m sure a lot of people will want to know more about your company. If you could share how to find your information and your company online, I’d love to share that with the audience.
Thank you, Leyda. It’s been so nice having you on the show and I really enjoyed it.
Thank you for having me.
You are welcome. Thank you so much to Jesse and Leyda. They were both such fascinating stories and I get so many successful young people on this show. We get everybody from the Forbes 30 Under 30, people who’ve done amazing things that are well into their later years and it’s fascinating to listen to everybody’s stories. I hope you come back for the next episode of Take the Lead Radio.
About Jesse Henry
Jesse Henry started two companies and two entrepreneurial organizations while in college. After college, he gave a TED Talk and became a peak performance strategist for Tony Robbins. Although that was an extremely positive experience, he quickly realized that working for someone else was not in his best interest, so he left the company to go off on his own. He is the founder of TheTheoryofSuccess.com where he dedicates his time to helping people become the best version of themselves. For someone to find their success identity – they must be able to propel themselves to their performance zone. He provides workshops, consulting, speaking, and individual development to help people achieve their goals.
About Leyda Hernandez
Leyda Hernández is the CEO of C’est Du Luxe, the leader in trend and consumer forecasting for luxury brands. C’est Du Luxe helps luxury brands understand new generations of customers, anticipate changes in luxury values and consumption, and respond strategically to emerging opportunities. Hernández is an award-winning marketing expert recognized on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 and listed among the Top 10 Women in Tech by Everstring. Leyda is also an adjunct professor at New York University’s School of Professional Studies where she teaches campaign measurement and marketing analytics courses at the graduate level., Jesse Henry started two companies and two entrepreneurial organizations while in college. After college, he gave a TED Talk and became a peak performance strategist for Tony Robbins. Although that was an extremely positive experience, he quickly realized that working for someone else was not in his best interest, so he left the company to go off on his own. He is the founder of TheTheoryofSuccess.com where he dedicates his time to helping people become the best version of themselves. For someone to find their success identity – they must be able to propel themselves to their performance zone. He provides workshops, consulting, speaking, and individual development to help people achieve their goals.
- Jesse Henry
- Jesse Henry’s TED Talk
- Jairek Robbins
- The Millennial Merger: How to Sell, Manage, Empathize, and Communicate in a Multigenerational Workforce
- Jesse Henry’s LinkedIn
- Leyda Hernandez
- C’est Du Luxe
- @CestDuLuxeCom – Twitter