Luxury is taking on a new definition. It’s no longer simply owning a designer product –it’s about individual, exceptional experiences, and emotional connection.
Look no further than Coco de Mer - a modern celebration of the extraordinary world of sensuality, creativity and sexual self-expression.
Under owner and CEO Lucy Litwack’s leadership, Coco de Mer has grown from a niche business to a global luxury brand with extraordinary new product launches and collaborations driving creative evolution, awards and industry innovation.
This week saw VMLY&R COMMERCE UK CEO Michelle Whelan in conversation with Lucy at the Future of Brands challenger conference. Michelle’s big question: how do you continue to build a luxury brand like Coco de Mer in a digital first, commerce world?
Michelle> Tell us a little about Coco de Mer
Lucy> I like to call Coco de Mer ‘The Home of Pleasure’. Created for women, by women, celebrating and championing female pleasure is right at the core of what we do. Founded in 2001, we exist at the intersection of style, luxury and pleasure – creating the finest range of luxury lingerie, toys and accessories. We exist to shine a light on the extraordinary power and importance of female pleasure and sensuality.
I’m so passionate about Coco de Mer. The brand has always punched above its weight, but I believe it is yet to realise its full potential. It has been considered a niche brand in the past due to the nature of what we sell but that is changing and it now has the potential to be so much more – a true, global luxury brand, focused on female pleasure.
Michelle> Lucy, luxury brands like Coco de Mer have perfected the in-store physical experience, warm and welcoming assistants, beautiful sensual design. So, how has the Coco de Mer experience evolved over the last 12 months?
Lucy> Up until March 2020, our Covent Garden boutique had always been the focus – I had never considered a business that was not bricks and mortar. I come from a family of shopkeepers and the Coco de Mer boutique had always been the soul of the brand. Nevertheless, we had to jump into digital first. And fast. For us, this meant three things:
How do we translate the warm, approachable, knowledgeable boutique experience online? We had to double down on what was important – our tone of voice, the focus on the female gaze (we only work with female photographers and female crews now) and sublime and innovative design - and concentrating on our core
A curated edit of products – we’re not a supermarket [Time Out once described us as an erotic emporium – we’re not]. We needed to decrease complexity to become digital first. To evolve the brand to drive accessibility and simplicity whilst continuing to build a luxury icon through quality, innovation, unique creative collaborations and passion.
We had to remain culturally relevant – people are looking for a point of view. For brands that care and have a purpose.
Michelle> It’s a great story. And a strong strategy to drive commercial impact and business growth. I know you’ve so much more to tell – if we picked out three major positives from the past 12 months to apply to business growth over the next 12 months, what would these be?
- Curating a point of view
- Simplification. Shrink to grow
- Translate the power of collaboration to online. I’m a big believer in partnerships and that things done together can be so much stronger. We have challenges with social media advertising due to the nature of what we sell and we have had to work to overcome these to take the brand online and drive growth in many different ways across customer touch points from D2C channels to social commerce and beyond.
Our Covent Garden boutique re-opened on 12 April. Our next challenge is to seamlessly integrate our physical and online offering and experience – we’ve learnt a lot over the past year – there’s more to come…