Know-how in the luxury segment in France is “desperately” needed. That’s how Le Figaro titled its analysis on the situation in France, which also has to do with Italy: the search for specialized artisans. This means that workers such as leather workers and embroiderers are very difficult to find. According to Comité Colbert, the association that represents about 100 companies active in the production of luxury goods, need 20,000 specialized workers. And the number could be higher. The issue is happening as the demand for luxury products increases: Bain&Company estimates that the global luxury market will close 2022 with a turnover of 1.3 billion.
“Desperate” need for artisans
Bénédicte Epinay, the general delegate of Comité Colbert, has organized a 3-day event dedicated to startup Station F during December 2022. At the location, he plans to scout potential candidates and convince high-school students to enter the academies of brands such as Dior, Chanel, Cartier and others. The specialized campus welcomes 7,000 students: but it’s not enough to guarantee the high level of specialization required by brands. The strategy to get the students closer to luxury jobs is directly done by the brands: today there are 15 active academies doing just that, in France. They aim to transfer the know-how and ensure continuity on production lines: an ever-urgent need, considering the wave of retirements coming in the next few years.
The brand’s efforts
Hermès created its own academy in 2021. The school needs at least 18 months to train the leather artisans and introduce them to the process of creating handbags, but to make them masters they need 10 years of training. Hermès focused on evolving its historic school, which includes the obtention of a real diploma (CFA). Since 2021, 400 students alternate activities to learn about the secrets of cutting and sowing materials to make Hermès handbags and accessories. But it’s not enough to create beautiful objects for the luxury marketplace: one must also learn how to sell them. LVMH created the Institut des Métiers d’Excellence in 2014: in 8 years, it trained over 2,000 individuals, in collaboration with external schools and, of course, the internal academies such as Vuitton’s.