Is there a woman in history you would have loved to meet?
I am fascinated with Barb. She became a widow at 27 with a 3-year-old daughter after being married in secret.
Her husband had multiple businesses, and she chose to focus on the riskiest one, convincing her father to let her run it (unheard of at the time).
The economy was changing, people weren’t spending money, the country was in turmoil, and her product has many faults.
But she focused her time, energy, and attention on impressing those around her. She influenced a leader in another country by presenting her products so powerfully that she was able to smuggle them abroad (hiding them in coffee, very creative!).
She was tenacious, resilient, and focused, and her legacy lives on today. She understood the importance of luxury.
You know her. You have seen her everywhere. You know her famous bright yellow label on bottles of Champagne around the world.
You guessed it, I am talking about the legendary Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin—better known as Widow (Veuve) Cliquot.
There are many things I admire about Barbe. She realized her original product was cloudy and the yeast stuck to her teeth, so she invented the process we know today called riddling—using her dining table to drill holes to store the bottles upside down to gather the yeast at the neck of the bottle. This is still the traditional way to make champagne, and now they use riddling racks.
She was constantly innovating and pushing the boundaries of what could be done, inventing a completely new product—rosé champagne—after wondering what would happen if she blended white and red grapes together for her product.
She worked hard, knew luxury was a reward for hard work, and ensured her product was associated with celebration. She is now called the Grand Dame of Champagne and that feels so fitting to me.
Not All Women Feel the Same About Luxury!
On the surface, this is a pretty obvious statement. And, if you’re a long-time reader, then you know that our luxury mindset research uncovered four luxury mindsets. But why is this important?
Because you have women with all four mindsets in your team and in your client base. And once you know what the luxury mindsets are, you can begin to communicate to the employees and customers you want to attract and retain.
So how do we characterize these mindsets? Well:
- Reluctant and Removed people are constantly busy and looking for ways to get more done and save time. The key thing to remember in communicating with them is that your solution or product makes their lives easier.
- The ProProirotizers are focused on their careers and reputations and looking for ways to elevate both their personal brand and career. Share with them how your work, products, or services are going
to help them succeed, and improve their reputation. They want to know that your practices are sustainable and responsible—it’s vitally important to them that they are doing and investing in good.
- The Confident and Content mindset is happy at work and home, and they focus on experiences and memories. How can you show them your work, products, or service can help them do that?
- Luxury Lovers think they are worth it, and don’t hesitate to invest in luxury experiences and want to tell them world about them. If you have employees or clients like this they want the exclusive, behind the scenes options that will feel really special to them.
Why does that matter to you?
Because you work with women in your team and also have clients or potential employees who are making decisions if they want to be part of your company or buy your brand, and their view of luxury influences them. All leaders see luxury as a reward for hard work, and that luxury is about experiences over things.
The women I work with in one-on-one executive coaching engagements—or if they’re in the audience at a keynote I’m delivering to their company—always acknowledge to me that luxury can improve their everyday personal and professional lives. Women leaders realize that while luxury might mean different things to different women, taking care of yourself in order to best serve the team you support is a priority. And for some, luxury gives them more confidence in those leadership roles. Women who buy luxuries come from all different age groups and income levels. Professional women who buy luxuries are smart and are major financial contributors at home. They also know that their income level does not determine their self-worth. The women we work with are driven by a variety of goals like developing future leaders, contributing to their organization, serving in their community, higher recognition within their company, and additional responsibilities in their role. While their income is one measure of their success, they are rewarded by so much more than that. Luxury to all of them is a reward for hard work.
To attract the mindset of the buyer or employee you want, you must understand how to speak the luxury language of these leaders. The result of speaking their language? More engaged, successful employees and loyal clients and customers.
We often work with sales teams or leadership groups where we share how to align messages and activate a masterplan to attract more of the mindsets you want.
What kind of mindset do you want to attract? What can you do today to start speaking to them with clarity and purpose?
10 Lessons from Widow Cliquot
- Be tenacious: if you hear no, try again, and ignore the haters.
- Be innovative: find alternative solutions for the problems you solve.
- Be impressive: know your value and be able to articulate it quickly—don’t blink, don’t look away.
- Be confident: believe in yourself and your ideas.
- Be well-spoken: present your ideas and strategies in a way to be heard, even when convincing family you are not crazy.
- Be creative: even if it means drilling holes in your dining table, think bigger.
- Be focused: no one is more invested in your success than you—stay true to your path.
- Be networked: foster strong relationships, just in case you ever have to smuggle ten thousand bottles of champagne into another country!
- Be brave: speak first, lead conversations, dictate the direction, and lead others to follow you.
- Be relentless: leave a legacy that inspires others to believe in themselves and pursue their dreams.