I like to start my interviews with a question like, “tell me what the biggest misconception about what you do”. If my interview pulls out information that the previous writers have missed, than I have brought something of value to my readers. So that is exactly how I started my interview with Lorre White, the international media personality who has been dubbed, “The Luxury Guru”.
She flashed a big dimply smile at me. I found myself taking a double glance into her olive green eyes. “I guess the most frequent misconception is that I am a personal shopper to the rich. I think that the mass market tries to put what I do in terms that make sense to them. My unique niche it reaching the world’s wealthiest demographic. I am a luxury marketing consultant and my clients are luxury brands that have products/services to sell that require a certain level of wealth to purchase them, things like $60 million yacht, or $120 million private jet. In my consulting work it is not the end user (buyer) that I am working with; it is the companies that need to know how to reach and maintain this small and difficult demographic. Since luxury marketing is nothing like mass marketing, which is what is taught at most universities, it requires a different skill set and knowledge. Out of my many years in this small niche specialty, my work as a luxury media personality developed. Some have compared me to Martha Stewart for the rich. Just like Martha does not take out her audience and help them shop, neither do I. But she does share what she considers to be the best in her market from cooking pans to baking flour, and educates her followers about those products. My shows and articles (www.LuxGuru.Typepad.com ) educate my UHNW following about jets, yachts, hotels, etc., things that are of relevance in their world.”
Lorre’s legs were wrapped in a double helix and I saw the flash of a red sole from under her pink stilettoes shoe. She certainly was the “image” of a luxury guru, but Lorre had a disarming easygoing charm about her. In preparation for this interview I had researched her and watched several of her TV and web shows. I found her to be even prettier in real life than on camera, which is not often the case. I found my energy toward her shifting.
“Most UHNW, more than 92% or them are new money. They grew up in lower to middle income homes and did not have the exposure to the products and brands that are now available to them. I simply provide them with a stress free, ego free, way for them to learn about the luxuries of life, from a source that they have built a trust with over 2 decades of working in the elite end of the luxury sector”, said Lorre White. She continued to rattle off marketing facts about the rich. “Most people fall in the aspirational luxury consumer category. They aspire to be able to have/try/do everything at the best level in life, but have to pick and choose where they want to spend their extra income. The demographic that I work with, does not have to chose. They need more information, and they need it about more topics, and about products that there is not the level of media coverage that exists for mass products.”
“Warren Buffett, the world’s most successful investor, hosts Lorre White and top clients at a private aviation function.”
I told her that I had not seen many media sources that covered private yachts and jets, but that there was a plethora of travel sites with recommendations on where to stay. I asked her if that was competition. “Just because a site/show/magazine/product has the word luxury shoved in front of it, it does not make it one. Many sites give a great recommendation on a hotel/spa etc because they got a free trip in exchange. When one of these sources says it is “great”….who are they? Is it the mail room clerk that makes $40,000 annually, and is he/she qualified to say that it would meet the expectations of Bill Gates, or Warren Buffett, as a luxury accommodation? Who is giving the evaluation, is where all the credibility emanates. The UHNW know this. That is why I have the unique situation to have such a specific following.”
The American born “ Luxury Guru” was not what I was expecting. Somehow she took the snob stigma out of rich and replaces it with pure joy and love of the art of living. It was not about what some cannot have, but all about what can be had. She seemed to represent the example of living life well and with compassion. “There are many more aspirational consumers than UHNW” she continued. “The aspirational market is a multi-tier hierarchy that has several radically different behavior expectations. Most media successfully reaches this larger (in terms of number of people) market. My specialty is smaller in numbers of people, but larger in actual wealth, both individually and as a group.”
So how can I tell if I am on a site for aspirations or the UHNW? I asked. “There are many ways”, she replied. “For example, if you see coupons, the luxury products are of a lower price range like perfumes, cosmetics, skin care and fashion, or you see ‘sign up now and get 10% off’, the use of words like affordable luxury….you know you’re on an aspirational site.”
Wanting to get a peek behind the very elegant and buttoned up persona, I asked Lorre to tell me some things about herself that would give someone insight into her personality. “ I love to travel, I love dogs, I practice yoga and I enjoy cooking.” She replied. “I am a warm weather girl. I like summer time, the sea, the south of France and Italy.” Thinking that I might ruffle the feathers somewhat I asked how she married being a luxury guru with her yoga practice. She answered, “The appreciation of luxury is really a very yogic philosophy. It is in the conscious awareness of the art form in that moment of time. Education/understanding enhances our appreciation…. Living life to its fullest! Luxury is what we do beyond mere survival. Luxury is the best of any art form.”
In excepting this interview assignment it was just another celebrity feature to crank out. Lorre turned me into a fan. I am starting to understand why her popularity has taken on such global organic growth. Like she said “Who doesn’t like luxury!”