I’m Living in France – and Drinking Less Wine Than Ever

I’ve been in the south France for nearly a month and I’ll be here off and on through the end of April finishing my dual master’s degree in Global Luxury Management. You’d think while I’ve been here that I would have had more than my fair share of wine already, right? Wrong. In fact, I’ve enjoyed less wine here than I did at any time in the states.

So, what gives? There are some cultural differences in the retailing of wine here, especially in restaurants and bars, but the real reason I’ve consumed so much less wine is the very sub-par selection of wines by the glass at restaurants and bars. I really had hoped before venturing here that I would be outside of my United States comfort zone of wines available and trying a greater variety of European wines that haven’t made their way stateside, but when you’re out and about here, the by-the-glass selections are as follows: “red”, “rose”, and “white”. No kidding! You’re lucky if the menu includes any details about the by-the-glass varietal or the geographic source.

Perhaps this recent experience is why this article struck me so strongly today: Millennials dragging wine sales down – and the prudent included advice:

One way to sell Millennials more wine: Carefully curate your wine-by-the-glass list to boost its appeal to this demographic.”

I think it’s a great read for restaurant, nightlife, and hospitality operators everywhere – regardless of geographic location.

Don’t get me wrong – the wine selection at retail points of sale and by the bottle in restaurants are pretty wide and adventurous here in France (and aggressively priced since most are domestic products) – but I rarely desire an entire bottle in one seating and when I want just a glass, I don’t want a mediocre glass of “house wine” that was selected for a profit margin rather than to complement menu offerings.

Ending on a positive note: the retail store wine scene is in much better shape offering a really nice selection with incredibly high-quality and great tasting wines beginning at 8 euros (about $9 USD) a bottle, so I’ve had fun with that! I mean – a girl’s still got to have her wine, right? (Especially when there is no craft cocktail culture here… but more on that later.)

I’m a Starwoods Faithful

There’s something about brand loyalty – it gets in your veins – the very DNA of how luxury consumers consume. And when you find out one of your beloved brands is going to be absorbed by a larger in the industry? Talk about a gut punch.

SPG Love
SPG Love

“Somewhere between their Westin Heavenly Beds and the room’s rainfall shower system, Starwood hotel loyalists were struck Monday morning by a new reality: their beloved loyalty program would soon be gobbled up by Marriott’s less-generous reward system.” – via NewsObserver.com

My other half texted me a link to the story as it broke this morning, knowing good and well that I would simply scrunch up my nose in disgust. I would love to think that the Starwoods identify might be preserved in this merger, but luxury travelers will have to wait to see what happens in the years after the deal’s expected closing in mid-2016. Luckily, this industry tends to move slowly, so it could be years before we see any real changes to the SPG treatment we Starwoods faithfuls have grown to love.

M.Gemi Brings Fine Italian Shoes Direct to Consumers at a Fast Fashion Pace

Imagine: A shoe you purchased online that actually fits! Add to that, fine Italian craftsmanship and a price point that didn’t set you back an entire paycheck. That’s the goal of M.Gemi and they’re making headlines in big media as a result. (Business Insider, Fast Company, Entrepreneur, Boston Magazine)

The latest in a long line of businesses to go after the profitability of the direct-to-consumer marketplace, M.Gemi brings fresh shoe designs of all styles to buyer’s inboxes each week. From traditional pumps to low cut boots, one of the most valuable features of the brand (at least for this shoe-buying consumer) is that, according to Entrepreneur.com, “fit is consistent throughout the M.Gemi line”. Different styles are designed and manufactured using the same size “forma” (foot-shaped mold). How nice is it to know that your size 8 will be the same size 8 on your next purchase?

Investors are taking note of these fast fashion trends: M.Gemi netted $14M in seed and Series A funding to fuel the online brand. It doesn’t hurt that the founder of M.Gemi is already known and experienced in this space – Ben Fischman is also the founder of flash sale website RueLaLa.

Check out the current collection, and stock up on pins to your “WANT” Pinterest board, at mgemi.com. You can check out a few of my boards featuring M.Gemi while you’re there: Step Into Fall, Only If There’s Valet, Best Flats for Business and Class.

Best Flats for Business and Class

The Brickyard at NC State shows no mercy on ladies wearing stilettos, especially on rainy days. Even the brick walkway in front of Nelson almost got me on the first day of Global Luxury Management boot camp. So take my advice and stash these flats in your bag to make getting around on foot a breeze!

On Pinterest: Best Flats for Business and Class

Under $50

Rocket Dog Rynna – Dark grey textile upper that looks like suede (available in three colors)

Dirty Laundry DL Holding On – Navy blue upper with glittering stones (available in three colors)

Dirty Laundry DL Suspicious Girl – Black patent leather uppers

Athena Alexander Toffy – on-trend scalloped edge in muted gold

Under $100

Blue by Betsey Johnson Joy – fancy and squeaks in just under $100

Blue by Betsey Johnson Cake

Naturalizer Helena

Earth Bellweather – A little traditional-looking for my taste, but I love the cognac color!

Chinese Laundry Easy Does It – You can never go wrong with Wolfpack red

Nine West SpeakUp

NC State Global Luxury Management Summer Reading Review

My acceptance into grad school came with a summer reading list comprised of several digital PDF articles and three books. In light of orientation beginning tomorrow, I hopped on Periscope for a few minutes to share the books and my take on them, as well as to suggest two articles for further reading in the August 2015 issue of ELLE magazine.

If you didn’t get a chance to watch the live stream on Periscope, I’ve archived the review on YouTube. Check it out below or click https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IG7dNwbtSsk to view if you have trouble with the embedded video below.

Thanks for tuning in! I’m excited to jump in tomorrow and will be sharing some of my first-week experiences on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtags #NCStateGLM and #EverydayLuxe, so follow along on social – I’m @NCSULilWolf on both Twitter and Instagram.

Back to School

Think this is a post about sending a mini off to elementary school? Not so much. It’s me who is heading back to school!

NC State Global Luxury Management Master's Degree Program
NC State Global Luxury Management Master’s Degree Program

This fall (as in, starting next week!), I’ll be back at NCSU to get my master’s degree in Global Luxury Management – it’s a full-time program, but I’ll be maintaining my consultancy, Raleighwood Media Group + Raleighwood Event Group, while pursuing this one-year degree. I’m so excited about being back on campus. It’s just a different place than the business world. There are great minds there gushing with creativity. Compared to some my class peers (42 students representing five different countries), I’ve got the benefit of having been on campus in undergrad, so I’m already very familiar with campus and NC State in general.

I thought about setting up yet another blog to chronicle my experience in the NCSU GLM program, but instead, I’m opting to pay more attention to this site instead and I’ll tag posts related to grad school with NCSU GLM and Everyday Luxe. I’ve also purchased the domain Everyday-Luxe.com that’ll take visitors directly to that content.

Stay tuned, y’all!