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Case Studies by Brian Henry

44 case studies

by Publication Date
published: 28 Aug 2017

  • Topic: Entrepreneurship
  • Industry: Fashion
  • Region: Europe

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Abstract:
This case illustrates solutions to a) the vexing problem of how to stop counterfeit luxury goods from being sold on the Internet; and b) the larger issue of how to sell lots of pre-owned personal luxury goods without fear of undermining their lofty prices. When the “fake luxury goods” problem first appeared in the mid-2000s, brands like L’Oreal, Hermès and Tiffany responded by taking one of the biggest online marketplaces, eBay, to court. The big brands won millions in damages and dragged eBay’s name through the mud for years to come. But on the sidelines were three different sets of entrepreneurs, almost all French, who saw in this scandal the opportunity of a lifetime. Separately they launched three competing digital platforms where pre-owned luxury products can be bought and sold on the condition that they are fully authenticated by experts. While all three are still in business, the company that started with six co-founders has been the most successful. This case examines the role of all six people and why eight years later the two “techies” were able to leave the company on good terms.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The case can be taught in executive education and elective MBA courses in luxury management, organizational behavior and entrepreneurship. With the case, instructors can focus on a wide range of issues related to both the sourcing and distribution of second-hand personal luxury goods within a global market. When sellers first offer goods for sale on the Vestiaire Collective platform, curators take them through a number of steps to ensure that the products are suitable for inclusion in the catalogue. Matching supply with demand is a key variable of success in this business, since fashion products have an especially unique set of characteristics that vary from one region to another, from one designer to another and from one epoch to another. Once a purchase is concluded, curators then ascertain if the actual product conforms to the seller’s description and is a genuine item. Creating trust among customers is also an absolute necessity in this business. In sum, instructors can use the case to discuss the essentials of business and management in an easily accessible setting.

Keywords:
Digital Platforms, E-Commerce, Fashion, Product Certification, Authentic Goods, Counterfeit Goods, Personal Luxury Goods, Premium Designer Clothes, Vintage Clothes, Curation, Concierge Service, Videdressing, Vestiaire Collective, Instantluxe

published: 03 Jul 2017

  • Topic: Family Business
  • Industry: Apparel
  • Region: South America

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Abstract:
A well-known lingerie retailer in Colombia, Leonisa is a family-owned company that barely survived a second-generation succession crisis. Brothers Joaquín and Julio Ernesto Urrea founded the firm in 1956, and over 50 years built one of the most recognizable brands in Latin America. While they each had an equal stake in the company, their respective families were not of equal size: Joaquín had 11 children including nine boys, Julio had three daughters. While the girls were interested in design and fashion, the boys were keen to create satellite ventures around the core brand. When one of the co-founders died, a family dispute erupted over whether the dividends should be plowed back into the business or distributed to the shareholders. A mediator obliged the warring branches to reach a settlement that would allow Leonisa to survive. The ousted sisters eventually had their own success story by launching a new business based on their core competencies.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The case offers an opportunity to learn from a family-run company that survived a succession crisis, requiring students to think about family differences from a shareholder point of view, and the role of mediators in saving warring family branches from destroying the firm. It underlines the need for co-founders whose families have different interests to have a long-term plan to prevent a clash of clans. In this instance, one branch got out of the original business and constructed a new business based on their fashion and design skills. Students of family business in Colombia and Latin America will learn lessons from a family dispute that was ultimately resolved.

Keywords:
Leonisa, Ellipse, Urrea, Women’s Underwear, Lingerie, Colombia, Brassieres, Ana Patricia Urrea, Urrea Jiménez, Urrea Arbeláez, Fernando Urrea, Carlos Ignacio Urrea, Julio Urrea Jiménez

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published: 29 May 2017

  • Topic: Family Business
  • Industry: Apparel
  • Region: South America

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Abstract:
A well-known lingerie retailer in Colombia, Leonisa is a family-owned company that barely survived a second-generation succession crisis. Brothers Joaquín and Julio Ernesto Urrea founded the firm in 1956, and over 50 years built one of the most recognizable brands in Latin America. While they each had an equal stake in the company, their respective families were not of equal size: Joaquín had 11 children including nine boys, Julio had three daughters. While the girls were interested in design and fashion, the boys were keen to create satellite ventures around the core brand. When one of the co-founders died, a family dispute erupted over whether the dividends should be plowed back into the business or distributed to the shareholders. A mediator obliged the warring branches to reach a settlement that would allow Leonisa to survive. The ousted sisters eventually had their own success story by launching a new business based on their core competencies.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The case offers an opportunity to learn from a family-run company that survived a succession crisis, requiring students to think about family differences from a shareholder point of view, and the role of mediators in saving warring family branches from destroying the firm. It underlines the need for co-founders whose families have different interests to have a long-term plan to prevent a clash of clans. In this instance, one branch got out of the original business and constructed a new business based on their fashion and design skills. Students of family business in Colombia and Latin America will learn lessons from a family dispute that was ultimately resolved.

Keywords:
Leonisa, Ellipse, Urrea, Women’s Underwear, Lingerie, Colombia, Brassieres, Ana Patricia Urrea, Urrea Jiménez, Urrea Arbeláez, Fernando Urrea, Carlos Ignacio Urrea, Julio Urrea Jiménez, Wicfe, Succession, Next Generation, Education, Entrepreneurship, Leadership

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published: 25 Apr 2017

  • Topic: Family Business
  • Industry: Papers and Allied Products
  • Region: South America

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Abstract:
Carvajal traces the 110-year history of one of Colombian’s oldest family-owned firms from a small print shop to one of the largest paper product conglomerates in Latin America. Founded in 1904 by Manuel Carvajal, a Colombian educator and erstwhile politician, the company has contributed to Colombia’s economic and intellectual development ever since. By the 1950s Carvajal was the leading printer and publishing house in Latin America. Although the company benefitted from state protection, a tradition of technical innovation was established – in 1958 it printed the first telephone directory for Bogotá on two-sheet offset press – and thereafter expanded into neighboring countries, diversifying into inter-linked activities. Throughout the 20th century the firm was led by descendants of the founder. In the 21st century, a non-family CEO was hired for the first time.

Pedagogical Objectives:
This strategy-making exercise for a family-run company that has reached a turning point in its 110-year-old history requires students to think about how ‘family assets’ can contribute to the firm during the 21st century. While family firms in Colombia are often associated with conflict and failure, here the challenge is to examine the role of professional management as a force for change. Students also need to consider why many Carvajal next gens have positioned themselves as potential leaders, with skills honed at top international business schools and a deep understanding of the family enterprise. Beyond the leadership issue, discussion can encompass the vision of the Carvajal family as the company expands beyond Latin America. Students of family business in the region will find many lessons to be learned from this exceptional firm and family, and their commitment to its survival.

Keywords:
Carvajal, Carvajal Empaques, Colombian Family Business, Grupo Norma, Publicar, Carpack, Assenda, Propal, Bernardo Quintero Balcázar, Pedro Carvajal, Ricardo Obregón Trujillo, Eugenio Castro Carvajal, Alfredo Carvajal Sinisterra, Adolfo Carvajal Quelquejeu, Wicfe, Succession, Next Generation, Education, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Governance, Parallel Planning, Strategy, Boards

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published: 25 Apr 2017

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Abstract:
The case investigates the role of creative directors in the luxury fashion industry. When in October 2015 Raf Simons quit Christian Dior, industry observers wondered why anyone would voluntarily walk away from such an esteemed fashion house, and who would replace him. Beneath the glamorous veneer, the luxury and fashion industry puts tremendous stress on creative directors. Some crack up (John Galliano), other commit suicide (Alexander McQueen), and many launch proprietary labels.!

Pedagogical Objectives:
After reading and analysing the case, students will be able to
(i) evaluate the role played by creative directors in a luxury fashion house;
(ii) understand the economics of the business and how haute couture drives profitability down and across associated business lines such as ready-to-wear and accessories;
(iii) learn about the growing influence of fast fashion and e-commerce on the fashion calendar that creative directors are expected to live.

Keywords:
Raf Simons, John Galliano, Bernard Arnault, Alexander Mcqueen, Christian Dior, Haute Couture, Creative Director, Luxury Fashion

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published: 25 Apr 2017

  • Topic: Family Business
  • Industry: Transportation services
  • Region: South America

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Abstract:
One of the biggest logistics services providers in Colombia, Servientrega started out as a one-man courier operation on the streets of Bogota in 1982. Jesus Guerrero, an enterprising messenger boy, set up his own delivery service at the age of 18. After attracting more clients than he could handle, he persuaded his sister Luz Mary to join the company and invest her savings in exchange for half of the shares. Before long, Servientrega was growing so fast that they employed other siblings. Jesus gave one brother a 5% share in the business, expecting his sister to do the same. However, she held on to her 50% and used her majority shareholder position to take over, forcing her brother out of the CEO job. Jesus began acquiring new logistics operations that he consolidated into the Guerrero Group, which today has 39 subsidiaries (including Servientrega) and employs 28,500 people. The lawsuits that plagued the former partners and put their venture at risk ultimately prompted Jesus to launch a competitor to Servientrega, RedServi.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The case offers an opportunity to learn from a family-owned company whose principal shareholders got into a dispute with dramatic consequences for their business. A minor dispute between brother and sister over a 5% shareholding led to a series of lawsuits that put the family-owned firm at risk. Students will be challenged to explain why the brother decided to start a new company to compete with the original company that he founded years earlier. The case illustrates how family conflicts can have unexpected results, such as the formation of a rival business.

Keywords:
Luz Mary Guerrero, Jesus Guerrero, Servientrega, Logistics, Colombia, Bogota, Efecty, Redservi, Latin America, Supply Chain, Warehouse, Courier, Transport, Guerrero Group, Wicfe, Fair Process, Communication, Psychology, Gender

Related:

published: 29 Mar 2017

  • Topic: Family Business
  • Industry: Papers and Allied Products
  • Region: South America

Show details ...

Abstract:
Carvajal traces the 110-year history of one of Colombian’s oldest family-owned firms from a small print shop to one of the largest paper product conglomerates in Latin America. Founded in 1904 by Manuel Carvajal, a Colombian educator and erstwhile politician, the company has contributed to Colombia’s economic and intellectual development ever since. By the 1950s Carvajal was the leading printer and publishing house in Latin America. Although the company benefitted from state protection, a tradition of technical innovation was established – in 1958 it printed the first telephone directory for Bogotá on two-sheet offset press – and thereafter expanded into neighboring countries, diversifying into inter-linked activities. Throughout the 20th century the firm was led by descendants of the founder. In the 21st century, a non-family CEO was hired for the first time.

Pedagogical Objectives:
This strategy-making exercise for a family-run company that has reached a turning point in its 110-year-old history requires students to think about how ‘family assets’ can contribute to the firm during the 21st century. While family firms in Colombia are often associated with conflict and failure, here the challenge is to examine the role of professional management as a force for change. Students also need to consider why many Carvajal next gens have positioned themselves as potential leaders, with skills honed at top international business schools and a deep understanding of the family enterprise. Beyond the leadership issue, discussion can encompass the vision of the Carvajal family as the company expands beyond Latin America. Students of family business in the region will find many lessons to be learned from this exceptional firm and family, and their commitment to its survival.

Keywords:
Carvajal, Carvajal Empaques, Colombian Family Business, Grupo Norma, Publicar, Carpack, Assenda, Propal, Bernardo Quintero Balcázar, Pedro Carvajal, Ricardo Obregón Trujillo, Eugenio Castro Carvajal, Alfredo Carvajal Sinisterra, Adolfo Carvajal Quelquejeu, Wicfe, Succession, Next Generation, Education, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Governance, Parallel Planning, Strategy, Boards

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published: 29 Mar 2017

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Abstract:
This case illustrates the key role played by a local distributor in the luxury goods industry in the Middle East. By partnering with the Chalhoub Group, western firms have built a competitive advantage across the six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). While not typical of western luxury brands selling to global markets other than the Middle East, their alliances with the Chalhoub Group offer access to a vast network of 650 stores in prime locations in the GCC, many in new shopping malls. Chalhoub has retail outlets in 14 countries in the MENA region. Since its establishment in 1955, the Dubai-based Chalhoub has developed partnerships with Christian Dior, Sephora, Louis Vuitton, Fendi and many others. In so doing it has laid the foundations for the creation of own-concept stores, where it sells its own branded products.

Pedagogical Objectives:
This case can be taught in executive education and elective MBA courses in luxury management. The focus is on the marketing and distribution of personal luxury goods in the Middle East, a region that outperformed the global luxury market until the collapse of oil prices in 2014. The case examines consumer characteristics in the Middle East, the unique business model of the Chalhoub organization, which employs over 12,000 people in the region – including Saudi Arabia where women play a surprisingly big role in its workforce – and its investment in employee training to a degree rarely seen among retail distributors in the West.

Keywords:
Chalhoub, Beauty, Fashion, Ghawali, Level Kids, Katakeet, Wajooh, Level Shoes, Tanagra, Gcc, Wassim Eid, Fadi Jabbour, Tdesign

published: 29 Mar 2017

  • Topic: Family Business
  • Industry: Transportation services
  • Region: South America

Show details ...

Abstract:
One of the biggest logistics services providers in Colombia, Servientrega started out as a one-man courier operation on the streets of Bogota in 1982. Jesus Guerrero, an enterprising messenger boy, set up his own delivery service at the age of 18. After attracting more clients than he could handle, he persuaded his sister Luz Mary to join the company and invest her savings in exchange for half of the shares. Before long, Servientrega was growing so fast that they employed other siblings. Jesus gave one brother a 5% share in the business, expecting his sister to do the same. However, she held on to her 50% and used her majority shareholder position to take over, forcing her brother out of the CEO job. Jesus began acquiring new logistics operations that he consolidated into the Guerrero Group, which today has 39 subsidiaries (including Servientrega) and employs 28,500 people. The lawsuits that plagued the former partners and put their venture at risk ultimately prompted Jesus to launch a competitor to Servientrega, RedServi.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The case offers an opportunity to learn from a family-owned company whose principal shareholders got into a dispute with dramatic consequences for their business. A minor dispute between brother and sister over a 5% shareholding led to a series of lawsuits that put the family-owned firm at risk. Students will be challenged to explain why the brother decided to start a new company to compete with the original company that he founded years earlier. The case illustrates how family conflicts can have unexpected results, such as the formation of a rival business.

Keywords:
Luz Mary Guerrero, Jesus Guerrero, Servientrega, Logistics, Colombia, Bogota, Efecty, Redservi, Latin America, Supply Chain, Warehouse, Courier, Transport, Guerrero Group, Wicfe, Fair Process, Communication, Psychology, Gender

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published: 29 Mar 2017

  • Topic: Leadership & Organisations
  • Industry: Fashion
  • Region: Asia

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Abstract:
Shang Xia is a story of a female entrepreneur whose goal is to open the Chinese luxury-goods market to products proudly made in China. It is the story of a young Chinese designer named Jiang Qiong Er who was convinced that the craft of making luxury goods, which had been deeply rooted in ancient Chinese culture, could be revived by Chinese artisans working to her modern designs. By the sheer force of her convictions, the seasoned CEO of Hermès was won over to her business plan. The story starts in 2007, when Shang Xia was first born in a small workshop in Shanghai, and continues to the present day when the brand is expanding its footprint in other cities in China and the surrounding region. Although Shang Xia has not yet turned a profit since it opened its first boutique in Shanghai in 2010, Hermès is patiently convinced that the value proposition is sound and continues to own a 90% stake in the company.

Pedagogical Objectives:
Shang Xia offers students an exciting opportunity to participate in a brand strategy that is challenging perceptions in the fast-growing personal luxury goods sector in China. The case is designed to encourage students to think about the role that country of origin plays in building brand awareness. While luxury goods are most often associated with Western brands, the case challenges students to dig deeper into leadership as a force for change. Benefiting from her education at a well-known Parisian fashion school, Jiang Qiong Er has developed a vision of reverse innovation that is unlike that of any of her contemporaries. In addition to the important role that leadership plays, students will examine the retail strategy of Shang Xia as it expands from an unknown player on the streets of Shanghai already crowded with established retail networks. As Shang Xia opens new retail spaces on the mainland and in nearby cities off mainland, students can consider in real time whether the founder’s limited resources are being best allocated to build market share. Students who are interested in the personal luxury goods sector in China will find this to be an exceptional case putting them in the shoes of an entrepreneur who shows an incredible appetite for innovation.

Keywords:
Shang Xia, Hermès International, Chinese Luxury Goods, Luxury Goods, Lacquer Silk, Zitan Wood, Guimet Museum, Style, Jiang Qiong Er, Patrick Thomas, Axel Dumas, Guillaume Brochard, Bamboo Teaware, Cashmere Felt

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