Fireside Chat with Hammitt
As a lover of handbags, I can confidently say that I have so many because each offers something that another doesn’t have (or at least that’s what I tell myself to justify my addiction). But almost never can I find a bag that’s the full package — luxurious, versatile, practical and actually worth its price point. Enter: Hammitt.
Hammitt is a gamechanger in the luxury space, having perfected the art of the handbag after spending 13 years evolving with their customers’ desires and engaging with them on a personal level. I had the opportunity to host a virtual fireside chat with Hammitt’s Chairman (or “Chief Cheerleader,” as he likes to call himself) Tony Drockton and Hammitt CEO Andrew Forbes about what sets the brand apart in the world of luxury fashion.
As a company, their three core values are being customer-first, maintaining product integrity and price integrity. It’s this long term vision and commitment that has made them a staple brand amongst loyal fans. They established these tenets by realizing a universal truth amongst luxury consumers: When it comes to handbags, it feels like concessions always have to be made. So many desire a high end brand name bag, but have to opt for a cheaper, more functional bag for their day to day life. (Take as a perfect example that classic sight of a frazzled New Yorker schlepping around with a designer bag on the shoulder and a backpack slung across their back holding everything they actually need.) With Hammitt, you can have both, and they’ve done a lot of listening to refine their products to strike that perfect balance. “Yes, I am a man,” Drockton said, “But I’ve learned over the last 13 years to really listen because the biggest ideas always come from someone who is passionate about their handbag.”
Despite a challenging year for luxury retail as a whole in the wake of COVID-19, Hammitt persevered and came out on top (to the tune of nearly 300% growth since pre-COVID times). In the face of the unknown, their strategy was to stick to what they knew best. When they started out as a small operation in 2008, Hammitt would often host intimate parties with their community of customers in Manhattan Beach where women would gather to drink champagne, share good food and bond over their collective love for Hammitt handbags.
This community building work informed their customer-first attitude as a company, and they now treat the shopper experience as intimately and personally as those holiday parties. “Luxury now can be online and offline," Drockton said. "We try to create a luxury experience no matter where [people] encounter our brand,”
With a concierge style experience online and digital personal shopping sessions, a shopper can sip wine in front of their computer to score a Hammitt bag or choose a COVID-safe in-store experience in one of their retail locations.
Beyond the shopping experience, Hammitt builds relationships with their customers in even bigger ways. In what is largely unprecedented in the luxury retail industry, Hammitt’s Regulation A Offering invites those customers who believe in Hammitt most to be able to invest in the success of the brand, and in their own personal success in return. Before they went Regulation A, investors would have to be accredited by way of a certain level of income or investment bank affiliation. Now that Hammitt has democratized their shares with Regulation A funding, “70% of our investors are women,” said Forbes.
It’s this investment in their customers’ happiness and wellbeing, with the knowledge that they are offering an opportunity to their majority women customer base that is seldom available, that truly sets Hammitt apart from the rest. As far as a company’s ethos and above and beyond quality goes...well, Hammitt’s got it in the bag. 😉
Catch up on my full conversation with the Hammitt team by watching our fireside chat here.