Elie Saab: Growth of a Global Luxury Brand

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In 1982, Saab opened his first atelier in Beirut and began designing luxurious evening gowns and wedding dresses, his talent for design fuelling his career throughout the 1980s. In the 1990s, Saab continued to expand his business by moving to a larger atelier in Beirut and organizing exclusive fashion shows in Europe. In 2000, he opened a salon and showroom in Paris to increase his cosmopolitan and international clientele; a flagship store in Paris opened in March 2007. In June 2010, Elie Saab (ES) opened its first flagship store in the Gulf region in Dubai’s prestigious Dubai Mall. This reinforced the brand’s presence in the United Arab Emirates, making its products more accessible to the region’s local and international shoppers. The store showcased day- and evening-wear dresses, shoes, bags, and accessories from the latest ready-to-wear collections. In July 2008, ES opened its first U.K. boutique at Harrods. The company planned to increase its worldwide retail presence through opening new stores in major cities around the world, including in the United States and Asia.

While the company was witnessing impressive growth, management was dealing with the challenge of selecting the right partners, identifying new markets with the greatest growth potential and, most importantly, protecting the brand from dilution. From the start, its goal was to “attract, select and maintain customers who place significance on high-end, one-of-a-kind designs made from the finest fabrics and materials.” The case covers the challenges and opportunities of the company as it expands internationally.
Learning Objective: * To underscore the importance of traditional branding principles for building a sustainable global brand. * To explore the changes of strategy as a company moves through the stages of the product lifecycle. * To examine the threats to and sustainability of…...

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