While EuroStar had to cancelled some of the trains due to strike in Paris, we were lucky to arrive without delays. Our tour guide picked us up at the EuroStar station and took us to hotel to settle down. We had a pretty busy yet exciting schedule on the last day of the trip in Paris. Our wonderful organizers, Victoria and Eleanor, arranged three company tours – Christofle, Dior and Vancleef & Arpels.
We kicked off our last day with Christofle, a fine silver flatware and home accessories based in France. It was founded in 1830 by jeweler Charles Christofle. Prior to the trip, I didn’t know much about the brand and the silver flatware industry but it was surprisingly interesting. We were lucky to have the VP of Marketing to speak with us about their three year plan on rebranding Christofle into a truly luxurious retail brand. The presentation covered very detailed strategy plans and timeline to implement the changes. It’s amazing to learn about how a brand decided to go into transformation and I look forward to seeing the new look and feel of Christofle in the coming years.
We were all very excited about our next company visit with Dior after seeing its exhibition at the V&A in London. We went over the Dior house history and current structure before diving into the most exclusive visit to its archive museum. We were not allowed to upload any pictures of the museums online but the experience was definitely one of a kind. We had a lady from the archive museum to take us through all the old collections they bought back from their customers. Items in the museum includes old heels, clothing pieces, perfume and scratches preserved in temperature controlled environment. We were all amazed by the incredible collections of archives and felt really thankful to have the opportunity to visit Dior.
Last but not least, we visited the workshops at Vancleef to end our trip on a high note. We were introduced to the house’s history first before we were taken through a security door to enter the actual workshops where fine jewelry is made in house. There are multiple stations and steps needed to create a piece of fine jewelry from creation, molding, cutting and assembling. Each and every steps are carefully managed to create a unique piece of art. After seeing the process of fine jewelry making, I learned to appreciate jewelry and the amazing teamwork behind the scene. It was an unforgettable experience to visit Vancleef and the brand truly represents the ultimate luxury in fine jewelry.
Paris was short yet a transformative experience for all of us.
Margaret Hung (CBS ’19) is an MBA student at Columbia Business School