Luxury Leader | Jon Graham, CEO at Floris London
“Listen to the market. That must inform everything we do. Focus on the experience as much as the product. Be authentic. Be thoughtful. Engender trust. Be ethical and sustainable. Be confident about who we are and what we do and ensure luxury is accessible to as many people as possible.” In today’s Luxury Leader profile, we take lessons from Floris CEO Jon Graham on what the future of luxury involves, his vision for the brand, and the importance of being ‘global leaders, not followers’.
Now in the sixth year of his tenure as Chief Executive of Floris London – creators of fragrance since 1730 – Jon Graham is responsible for driving, managing and implementing business objectives and overall business strategy. Prior to joining Floris, Jon’s 30-year retail career saw him championing British brands overseas and representing iconic brands such as Molton Brown and Whittard of Chelsea, managing the roll-out of brands in Europe, USA, Far East, Middle East, Russia and Australia through a multi-channel approach to business.
What does British luxury mean to you?
There’s a confidence about British luxury that translates into a whole lot of style. Brand Britain is a global phenomenon and this gives us great leverage in commercial markets everywhere in the world. In the UK we have a rich history of pathfinding in multiple categories, of pushing boundaries, that we must continue to develop. Let’s be global leaders not followers.
What’s your vision for the company?
What a fantastic brand to be associated with. Nearly 300 years of craft and expertise and still in the hands of the founding family. We recognise we are custodians of the brand and our responsibility in the time that we are here is to protect the business for future generations by building on the deep foundations left to us and by growing our business. We can’t stand still. We have to evolve sympathetically and seduce the customer of the future. We have something magical here and we need to share that magic with as many people as possible.
What do you see as the future of luxury?
Listen to the market. That must inform everything we do. Focus on the experience as much as the product. Be authentic. Be thoughtful. Engender trust. Be ethical and sustainable. Be confident about who we are and what we do and ensure luxury is accessible to as many people as possible.
What inspires you?
The people I work with. Their passion and drive. Their energy and dedication. They are the next generation, and if they are all like the team I get to work with at Floris day-in and day-out, then the business, and UK commerce in general, is in very safe hands.
What was your big break?
Moving from the shop floor to Head Office at Our Price Music in the late 1980s. Realising how business worked. First class business culture coupled with a commercial education involving my passion for music. I had incredible management at an early stage of my career and still maintain those 30-year-old relationships as the people have become both friends and mentors.
What piece of advice would you give to someone entering the luxury sector now?
It is such an exciting time to be involved. The rise of digital commerce plus the traditional ways of selling and engaging with our customer is making this the most dynamic period of time in my professional career. Be passionate. Be nimble. Listen carefully and network relentlessly.
In a parallel life, what would you be doing?
Too many options to mention but maybe Manager of a rock band in the 1970s?
What’s your favourite luxury?
Time. No question.