The countdown is well and truly underway for the world’s first virtual recruitment fair EXCELLENCE for the luxury sector. New brands already confirmed for the event include Forbes Travel Guide & Aman Resorts, with Audemars Piguet as the official sponsors. Sabi Phagura speaks to Laetitia Girard, the founder of Vendôm, who is behind the recruitment fair.
Luxurious Magazine: Let’s start from the beginning. Can you tell us a bit about Vendôm and what it is?
Laetitia Girard: Of course –We are talent incubators for the luxury world, and we develop human capital. Vendôm was created in 2015, based on multiple observations: codes in the luxury industry have become global and true talent in luxury is rare in all sectors. Sourcing and developing talent is a huge challenge, and in order to ensure recruits last, luxury brands and professions should have meaningful and virtuous values centred on human values.
From this observation, we decided to create an exclusive network, selecting the best talents for the best recruiters. We use different supports and techniques to strengthen clients as well as talents. Our strength lies in a portfolio of qualified candidates that we support in their career development. We have in our network tailor-made recruitment agencies that are organised by markets – France, Benelux, Spain, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Indian Ocean. Vendôm recruitment agencies are led by professionals recognised for their quality of listening and a fine understanding of the specific expectations of each recruiter.
From communication to targeted events, Vendôm offers a range of services with the sole mission of uniting the best talents and the best recruiters in luxury. The human at the heart of luxury is the definition of Vendôm.
LM: Why was there a need for EXCELLENCE by Vendôm created?
Laetitia: We are dedicated to ensuring that the candidates themselves are at the heart of the hiring process, as it is clear to those of us who have worked in the industry for a while that human connection, which is essential to recruitment, has been lost. Instead, luxury recruitment has become more and more impersonal, which we are seeking to combat.
Vendôm’s approach for EXCELLENCE is to help companies be understood from the inside, and not simply through their brand images. Discovering the heart of a company goes through the employees. Therefore, the ambassadors of the company will accompany the recruiter at this event; there is no better person to talk about a brand’s ethos than its employees themselves. This event is a gathering of beautiful personalities and great brands united in sharing and open to possibilities.
We want to further the knowledge of the world of luxury through other means and thus lead to reorientation and questioning. Most importantly, we want the candidate to position himself in a fair way regarding his career choices. Through the discovery of multiple companies, the candidate will be able to question, better define, and know themselves to act more prudently and therefore apply to better opportunities.
LM: As the founder of Vendôm, talk us through your personal journey and how you came to discover the world of luxury?
Laetitia: For me, it was never a discovery but something I had always been interested in; I spent most of my career, up until founding Vendôm in 2015, in the luxury hotel business, from the Hotel Costes and Park Hyatt Paris Vendôme in Paris near the start of my career, all the way through to working as the Director of Operations at the Royal Luxembourg.
I truly loved being a hotelier, which combined my interest and talent for travel, languages, and communications, and in the midst of my career, I built on this passion for the sector by studying for a Masters in Hospitality Management at ESCP Europe and certification in Revenue Management from Cornell University.
Luxury is the essence of the beautiful values that I share: the taste for excellence, beauty in its splendour, and the quest to go beyond what has been achieved. Luxury is an exciting look at the universe; Vendôm is, in a way, an expression of gratitude to the environment that I find exceptional.
LM: We understand you have said in the past that prioritising the human element is at the heart of recruitment. Can you elaborate on what this means?
Laetitia: During my career as both the one doing the hiring and the one being hired, I felt at times that the human element was somewhat lost; the hiring experiences where I got to know those I would be working with were always the most fruitful.
For decades, we have been moving into a world of mass consumption, where everything has to go fast. My answer is the opposite of all this. Everything is industrialising and at all levels. Luxury, in its own definition, does not form part of this dynamic. Therefore, why should we consider recruitment as such?
Rather than undergoing a somewhat robotic recruitment process, with no face-to-face engagement, meeting your future employer allows you to understand what the role will truly entail and prove what you will bring to the establishment. The other side of the coin is that talking to a potential candidate allows a proper understanding of who they are and whether they would be a good fit.
These conversations cannot happen in a faceless recruitment process, and employees being passionate about their role is never more important than in the luxury sector, where you are dealing with customers as an extension of a brand.
Getting back to the basics of recruitment is important. We are artisans of emotion, taking the time to find the right person for the right company.
LM: What are the key areas of luxury which are crucial to understanding the luxury market?
Laetitia: The key areas of luxury are linked to its own values: beauty, know-how, and doing things correctly. To be honest, there is no global luxury market. Luxury consumption is different in various cultures. In France, we acquire the big brands because we are aware that it is a heritage. For other people, it is a social brand to show their success.
Secondly, the luxury market can adapt to social advances, innovations, etc. The luxury sector, contrary to what one might think, is very open and attentive. This is also what allows it to be so flexible and to adapt quickly, as the crisis has shown us.
Lastly – this factor is also related to the previous one – luxury brands do not hesitate to diversify; they no longer divide so clearly into sectors. A large hotel group can get into fashion, a cosmetics brand into viticulture etc. From an economic point of view, we can well imagine the appeal, but the key is also to strengthen the brand in the eyes of its consumers by transmitting its values to other sectors.
EXCELLENCE by Vendôm – Where and how?
Held on a bespoke, high-performing app, EXCELLENCE by Vendôm, will take place from the 7th to the 9th of October this year.
Read more exclusive interviews and industry insights here.