I received an invitation to preview “Hearts and Crafts,” the Hermes film that tells the story of those who work hard to manufacture the beloved Hermès products the well-heeled eagerly wait years to acquire. After viewing this film, Hermès has now, for me, become the epitome of a great brand for which all others should aspire.
I can already hear a million declarations around the world of “mais bien sûr!” upon reading that last sentence.
I’m well aware of Hermès’ battle with Bernard Arnault, CEO of LVMH, attempts to takeover (or as he sees it – being a “friendly” long-term shareholder of) the Hermès family business. In its presentation of the Hermès manufacturing family, this film clearly shows why Mr. Arnault should want to acquire such a distinguished company. At the same time, the film also demonstrates why Hermès must remain independent.
No conglomerate can sustain the type of employee morale that Hermès clearly has with its manufacturing team – a morale that is the very foundation of the company’s greatness.
And despite Mr. Arnault’s position that “LVMH is aiming to be a supportive long-term shareholder of Hermès, and wants to contribute to the preservation of the group’s Frenchness and its family-firm attributes,” the road to corporate greed in the form of profits over heritage is paved with similar promises from corporations who aggressively takeover unwilling family businesses.
And quite frankly, Mr. Arnault’s reputation precedes him.