What’s the first thing you do when you wake up every morning? Do you turn on the tv? Do you hit the snooze button and grunt before scrambling out of bed? Do you open your eyes and think: here we go again? Or do you question what it all means, and gaze deeply into the mirror for clues?
When we tackle a new day, we need a system. We need routines, disciplines, and values to ground ourselves in a position of preparedness and strength. That is why mentors, muses, or even a fashion brand can serve us well to keep us—and our values—constantly in check.
Life is generally not sun-kissed-and-frozen-cucumber-margaritas-on-the-beach-without-a-worry-in-sight. Which is why it’s crucial to set ourselves up with the proper models and guides. Successful people well understand the habitual need for pointers and reminders, sources of clear perspective. Many look to religion or to philosophy books, because we all need something to help us coalesce our human tendencies with our ideals. Not just once, but continuously. Our humanity requires that we constantly re-acknowledge, re-evaluate, and re-prioritize our value system.
A few days ago, it caught me unawares how this one luxury brand’s values and ethics reign above the rest. This brand is primarily known for the unparalleled elegance of its products, but many might not be aware of its elegance in conduct and perspective. This brand stands staunchly behind the highest of social, not simply manufacturing, standards. It might not be your style or offer pocket-gentle price tags, but the personality of Hermès offers great mentorship… and a model of the kind of values I like to keep in mind when I begin my day.
INVALUABLE HERMÈS VALUES
PATIENCE: Hermès has claimed “patience” to be a strong principle in its strategy to achieve supreme quality for production. A customer cannot expect to walk into a store and leave with a Birkin bag in their hand. Instead, if one is qualified to place an order, then they must wait even years until it arrives. While most other brands raise demand by raising the price, Hermès raises it by queue. When we are patient, we learn to appreciate and value things, people, and circumstances more; patience makes it easier for us to solve our inner problems and those in our relationships. Patience breeds acceptance and acceptance breeds calm, and calm allows good qualities to bubble to the surface.
RESPECT FOR PEOPLE: Former Hermès CEO Jean-Louis Dumas claimed “We don’t have a policy of image, we have a policy of product.” This means Hermès is most interested in providing something of value to its customers. Hermès’ leather goods division hires only 200 craftsmen a year, and each goes through a preliminary 2-year training of craftsmanship before joining the production line. This not only puts great value on each craftsman but also puts great value on the product it proposes to its clientele. Life is fundamentally about how we treat and value others. It is about how we behave at the dinner table. It is about how we take the time to be kind, even if we are in a hurry. When our ways and our manners are elegant, polite, and in line with integrity, it has a rippling effect and affects those around us and those around them.
FAMILY PRIDE: Hermès prides itself on its family heritage and keeps everything intact within its family unit. That is to say, there is a unified and tight bond within the Hermès shareholding structure and family ownership to maintain autonomy. This house holds a respect for the family unit, culture and ethic, with each member encouraged to give his or her best to preserve its overall dynamic and heritage. Family can oftentimes be hard, hard, hard. But the challenges we face in our family can be well worth the effort. Being a diligent and loyal participant is like guaranteeing victory at the Plaza de Toros 😂.
AN ETHIC OF ORDER AND ROUTINE: A spirit of creativity and innovation has guided and molded Hermès since its very beginning, and these values along with their iconic luxury objects have stood the test of time. Hèrmes’ lasting continuity reflects their respect for order, discipline, and ritual within the company. These values are essential in our lives, and in keeping us sane. When we are properly structured internally and externally, everything flows and we can establish ourselves as credible, reliable and trustworthy.
INDEPENDENCE: What I love about Hermès is that it doesn’t look to celebrity endorsements for brand-building. Hermès is the Switzerland of the fashion world, reserved in its steadfast order and avoidance of political and social controversy. It doesn’t look to impose, but rather remain neutral in the way the customer can choose to identify with the brand. Hermès “cultivates its own garden” —as Voltaire so elegantly put in his book Candide—and in so doing, becomes exemplary in its authenticity. Thinking in ways that are authentically yours, and not those imposed by others or social media, is a way of cultivating yourself and your own worth.
A CULTURE OF CREATIVE ADAPTABILITY: The house of Hermès stands for endurance, together with creative know-how. Their products are designed to last and to adapt to changing lifestyles. Hermes respects the tenets of Life. Life is change. And most importantly, Life must be art😉.
LUXURY: Hermès distinguishes itself from the rest by the supreme quality of its creations. In accordance with its savoir-faire and sense of adaptability, this brand exudes the ideal of inherent richness and grandeur. This is a standard by which I personally would want to live my life. A life of quality thoughts and the sensitivity to know what is real quality and how to live a life of quality. This is true luxury.
ULTIMATE CLASS: There is something to be said about Class. Not so much in the way we appear, but in the way we behave. Hermès is the ultimate fashion house of class. It exudes that same classy manner we see in films with Audrey Hepburn or Jack Lemon. The dark side of social media has provoked an increasingly alarming lack of classiness in behavior. And, if I may, class and politeness are in desperate need of attention.