Mónica Seabra Mendes is a consulter and coach in the area of luxury with the ambition to bring more excellence to Portuguese products and services. CovetED had the pleasure to speak with Mónica during the Luxury Design & Craftsmanship Summit 2019, so keep on reading if you wanna find out more about her vision about luxury and craftsmanship.
What are your impressions of this second edition of the LDC Summit?
MM: I think last year we discussed a lot of these issues and in a way so intense that I was thinking about what it would be for this year and I was very surprised because there is still so much to talk, to discuss and I think LDC Summit is an extraordinary space to discuss this kind of themes and to involve people from completely different areas but that complement each other. I always leave with the feeling of having learned more, and met more a lot of amazing people and with a huge desire to do different things.
One of this year’s themes was communication or lack of it in the luxury industry and craftsmanship. Do you feel that there is still a long way to go?
MM: A lot, a lot, because communication is what separates us from the final customer. So, on the one hand, we have the craftsmen, we have an objective quality, and we have the designers that we can find them in any part of the world to fit our crafts. I think that what separates us is actually communication, people know us, and those who do not communicate don’t exist, and sometimes we think that we are the best and we are in many things, but we have to assume this to the world.
Do you think there is a lack of notion about the craftsmen who produce the luxury pieces we all like?
MM: Yes, it is increasingly important that in the process everyone knows what is involved and, in my view, the craftsman is at the same level of the designer and the designer at the same level of the craftsman. They have different jobs, but they both work for a final product with the same level of notoriety they don’t have. What happens is that the designer nowadays has a much more significant role than the craftsman, but we also have to give the craftsman the recognition he deserves.
In terms of luxury, which is your main area, do you think there is still a long way to go for Portuguese brands to reach the same level as other international brands?
MM: I would start by saying that we have to work brands, regardless of whether it is luxury or not. We don’t have strong brands or even luxury ones, and a luxury product is not a luxury brand. The good news is that we have luxury products, so we have halfway done, but in the luxury world, the product is the least important part, the precession that people have, the story that tells the context is the most important part. We have a part of the project but we lack the rest and the communication and the brand are absolutely fundamental.
Do you believe that institutions such as the Ricardo Espírito Santo Silva Foundation have been doing a good job in preserving these arts and gathering them at the level of luxury service?
MM: The Ricardo Espírito Santo Silva Foundation does excellently what it has to do that is to work the craftsman and the crafts. But there is so much more to do besides that and it has to be done by other institutions, other companies and by other people whose mission is that. Therefore, we have to make use of our marketers, our industrialists, our young entrepreneurs so that they have the courage to launch brands and if they do not know how to do that, they will pick someone who knows all about our patrimony. And today that was massively spoken, to preserve and esteem it, and above all, do not leave it in the hand of others.
What another topic would you have liked to have been approached at this Summit?
MM: I think the summit is demanding in its theme, themes like luxury and craftsmanship require a lot of reflection, so this year we talked a lot about the craftsman, but last year we talked a lot of design, so probably the next edition we will be talking about brand and luxury communication, who knows?
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