17 Facts About Louis Vuitton — a Poor Man From a Small Village Who Created the Perfect Suitcase
According to 2020 statistics, the Louis Vuitton company takes the 9th place among the world’s most expensive brands. Its annual sales revenue is $15 billion. It’s unlikely that 10-year-old Louis Vuitton could imagine that he would create a world-famous brand when he was helping his stepfather with his work and that, after 166 years, this brand would become one of the best on the list of luxury goods manufacturers.
We at Bright Side believe that Louis Vuitton’s story can prove that there are actually not many impossible things in this world — all we need to do is work hard and not be afraid of difficulties.
How a poor man from a small village became a fashion designer
Louis Vuitton was born in 1821 in a small village in eastern France. His father was either a farmer or a carpenter and his mother worked as a hat-maker. The boy’s parents died quite early and Louis had a poor relationship with his stepmother.
When Vuitton turned 13 years old, he decided to leave, home having got tired of his foster mother’s strict demeanor. The future designer went to Paris on foot. He walked a total of 292 miles over 2 years, taking odd jobs along the way.
- Having reached the capital, Louis apprenticed under Marechal, who was producing travel trunks for wealthy people during the period of the industrial revolution. Overall, Louis Vuitton worked 17 years for Marechal.
- Starting from 1853, Vuitton became a personal box-maker and packer for the Empress of France, Eugenie de Montijo (Napoleon Bonaparte III’s wife), who brought many other wealthy and powerful clients to him. They became the ones who provided Louis with work until the end of his career.
His own enterprise, custom-made suitcases, and the most reliable lock
- In 1854, Louis Vuitton opened his own enterprise and his first boutique in Paris. The sign at the entrance said, “Securely packs the most fragile objects. Specializing in packing fashions.” It was then when Vuitton created the ideal trunk shape: he made it flat, without rounded edges or extra details. Moreover, Vuitton’s suitcases were waterproof.
- Due to rapid growth, Louis Vuitton had to open one more workshop in Asnières-sur-Seine. At first, this workshop had only 20 workers.
- The designer’s products became popular all over the world and served as a standard of quality and reliability. In 1885, Louis Vuitton opened his first London store, followed by the next ones in New York and Philadelphia.
- In 1886, Louis Vuitton and his son Georges invented and patented a new type of lock. They were so confident in its reliability, that they even challenged the famous illusionist, Harry Houdini, to get out of a closed Louis Vuitton trunk. Houdini didn’t accept the offer and his refusal helped to prove the perfection of the invention.
- In 1901, under Georges’ supervision, who continued the business after his father’s death, the Louis Vuitton company released the Steamer bag. Initially, this model was created as a bag for transporting dirty clothes.
Attitude toward counterfeits
- Louis Vuitton trunks were so popular that they soon started to be counterfeited and something had to be done to show that the bags were authentic. In 1896, Georges created the famous monogram that was printed on jacquard fabric.
- Items from this famous brand are still being counterfeited even today. The company has a zero-tolerance policy for counterfeits. If you are seen with a fake product, they can sue you, especially if you’re making money from it. And this can happen anywhere in the world.
Louis Vuitton in the last decades
- On occasion, the company creates specialized items. A special suitcase was created for Diana Vishneva, the prima ballerina in the Mariinsky Ballet, who can be seen above with her specialized trunk.
- Natural leather and various fabrics manufactured especially for the company are used for the production of bags and cases.
- The company’s boutiques have a special atmosphere, where every item is shown in the best light. The stores are only located in trading districts or inside luxury trade malls. Some Louis Vuitton goods are available only to VIP clients.
- Starting from the year 1998, Louis Vuitton manufactures not only with suitcases, but also clothes, shoes, accessories, and jewelry.
- In 2019, the brand designed a travel case for the League of Legends World Championship Finals in Paris.
- Louis Vuitton masters also created a custom-made suitcase for transporting 13 re-editions of the official match balls used since 1970 and another one exclusively designed to celebrate the 2018 World Cup that took place in Russia.
Which Louis Vuitton items do you like most of all?