thomas encourages as he shifts spending to these

fashion balancing act
When it comes to business, Patrick Thomas is a family man.
The chief executive of luxury purveyor Herms SA has held top positions at a series of family dynasties. In each case, he's been the outsider brought in by the clan to help transform their business, run it better and give talented design officials room to breathe.
He sees himself as an entrepreneur who has a hand in shaping their vision. He leaves the critical design work such as developing the trademark Herms silk scarves priced at up to $1,370 a pop to others.
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"If you ask me to design the Herms scarves, Herms will go bankrupt," he says with a smile.
Far from being bankrupt, Herms of Paris, known for its $8,000 to $50,000 Birkin and Kelly handbags, has enjoyed healthy financial gains despite the uncertainty surrounding the global economy and China, which is still aaa replica designer handbags a bastion of big spenders.
As the first non family member to head Herms, Mr. Thomas's success has depended on ultra wealthy customers who still are ready to drop $170,000 for a diamond studded leather bag.
By next year, the 66 year old Mr. Thomas will hand the reins back to a family member Axel Dumas, 43, part of the sixth generation leaving at least one key file open. Herms has been locked in a legal spat with rival luxury powerhouse Fake Louis Vuitton Replica Bags LVMH Mot Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA over its having bought a minority stake in Herms in late 2010.
LVMH's tactic of amassing a large interest in Herms through complex cash settled equity swaps, a strategy used by hedge funds to launch hostile takeovers of publicly traded companies without disclosure, angered the usually mild mannered Mr. Thomas, who led the battle to keep LVMH at bay.
The wrangling seems out of character for Mr. Thomas, who speaks English with a French accent. He displays impeccable politeness and evenness during our almost two hour late lunch at the appropriately posh Canoe restaurant, on the 54th floor of a downtown Toronto office tower with an unfettered view of Lake Ontario. For someone who deals with the most opulent of merchandise, he comes across as down to earth, calling some of the bejewelled six replica louis vuitton bags figure handbag prices "crazy."
"I'm not a man of luxury," he says simply, even as he's replica designer handbags dressed head to toe in understated Herms garb, including the loafers. "I like quality."
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He doesn't like a fight, but he can fight with the best of them, he says as he dips his spoon in the squash soup, garnished with a dab of sheep's milk yogurt.
"I'm not a man of conflict," he asserts. "I'm ready to have a conflict if necessary I showed it against LVMH, but I'm not creating conflict. On the contrary, I'm trying to create consensus as much as I can. But I can fight from time high quality replica handbags china to time, if necessary."
That includes ruffling family feathers at Herms. At one point, he let go two of its members there are five left in the company now although he won't provide details and doesn't want the matter to fake designer bags be reported. "I said to them, 'You are not performing, you have to go' I had to make some difficult family decisions."
As the outsider, Discount Replica Louis Vuitton Bags Mr. Thomas aimed to cheap louis vuitton bags from china uk give Herms more structure and put replica louis vuitton it on a more daring path. He's a big believer in family companies that have spawned iconic names such as Saab, Mercedes, Vuitton and Herms. He feels like a member of the Herms family, admires it for thinking long term rather than just quarter to quarter, and for taking care of its employees, he says. He hand picked his successor and, while the family gave him leeway to choose another outsider, he opted for Mr. Dumas, who is "brilliant," Mr. Thomas says. "He was born in the suit we say that in French."
Designer Louis Vuitton Replica Handbags His entrepreneurial and family business bent is in his blood. He was born in the Burgundy region of France to a family of winemakers; his father went on to develop a fruit juice company. That firm, Pampryl, was acquired by Pernod Ricard, the French spirits concern and one of the companies that Mr. Thomas worked for after he graduated from the prestigious cole Suprieure de Commerce de Paris. "I got so bored that I said, 'I can't,' because it was working in administration a boring administration and I didn't want to work in a boring admin. I wanted to be an entrepreneur in a company where I could develop some talents."
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That's when he joined family owned Pernod Ricard, where he stayed for about 16 years before moving on to Herms in 1989, becoming group managing director while its chairman, the charismatic Jean Louis Dumas the uncle of Axel was in control of product development and artistic style. Design has never been part of Mr. Thomas's responsibilities.
"I don't have the talent," he explains. "You don't say to [fashion designer] Mr. [Yves] St. Laurent, 'Please take this skirt from your collection and put in something else.' It doesn't work like that. Now, if you think the guy is no good, then you change him."
He worked closely with Mr. Dumas, but in 1997 got the opportunity to head the high end division of French based cosmetics company Lancaster, controlled by the Benckiser family. At Herms, Mr. Dumas "was only 50 something and I knew I wouldn't succeed him before a long time," Mr. Thomas says. Mr. Dumas died in May, 2010.
Lancaster subsequently offered him a promotion in New York, but he declined. He and his wife, who has a farm in France, were rooted in the country. He loves nature walking in the wild, climbing mountains and bird watching a lifestyle he saw as clashing with the one in the Big Apple.
"I didn't want to go to New York that's why I said no. But I never left any company on bad terms."
He moved on to William Grant Sons Ltd., the first non family member to take the helm of the liquor group, where he stayed for a few years replica louis vuitton bags before returning to Herms in 2003.
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He visited Toronto recently to open the Festival des Mtiers, a five day exhibition that Herms puts on in various cities around the world to show how its craftsmen make its signature colourful scarves, Birkin bags and other handmade delicacies. It's the kind of marketing initiative that Mr. Thomas encourages as he shifts spending to these kinds of efforts rather than traditional advertising to reach the 1 per cent target market more efficiently.
This year, Canada is Herms's fastest growing market, he says. Its president, Jennifer Carter, a three decade plus company veteran, is Herms's longest serving country leader. A wealthy Asian population and tourists helped spur sales at the four Canadian stores, two of them in Holt Renfrew Co., and an e commerce site, he says.

Founded in 1837 by French Perfect Quality Louis Vuitton Replica harness maker Thierry Herms, who produced for royal houses in Europe, Herms added more product categories to its portfolio over the decades. Grandson mile Maurice recruited his friends Louis Renault and Ettore Bugatti to make trunks for cars, furniture and then belts and fashions. 

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