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A retail career journey at Louis Vuitton

Susanne did not have a career in retail on her radar, yet she has loved it since joining Vienna’s Louis Vuitton store 9 years ago. Here she shares her path into retail. 

Susanne, What has your career journey been like with Louis Vuitton so far?

I joined Louis Vuitton nearly 9 years ago as a Saturday Client Advisor, here in the Vienna store, during the final year of my studies. I didn’t have a career in Retail on my radar but I loved it from day one and became Manager in Training a few months later. A week after being promoted to Team Manager, I was offered a temporary opportunity in Head Office as a Retail Performance Manager and ended up staying. After nearly 2 years, I accepted a mobility and joined the London Selfridges store firstly as a Team Manager, becoming Universe Manager and Deputy Store Director. Following four years in London I moved back to Vienna as a Store Director last year.  

You have had a very broad experience. What have you enjoyed the most so far?

I love being in store. You can have a really direct impact on the business with your team. My favorite role so far is the one I’m doing right now and it's also a full circle moment for me: coming back as Store Director where I first started.

What have been the main challenges in your career?

Many of the people who trained me when I started as a Client Advisor are still on the team. One of my challenges has been to gain credibility and be a worthy leader. The only way is to work hard so that your team sees that they are your number one priority, not you.

What's the best piece of advice that somebody has given you in your career?

The most important piece of advice I’ve been given is to fight for things in a way that makes others want to join you. Fairness, integrity and commitment are super important values of mine, and they also mean that I can get carried away quite quickly. I’ve had to learn not to act so much in the moment and to be more diplomatic, taking a more indirect route to ultimately get more people on board with an idea. But that doesn’t mean that I sometimes don’t still find the occasional fight when it's something I feel about strongly!

And what advice would you give to others?

Firstly, that the people you lead are more important than you. It’s your job to make them grow and shine, not yourself. You have to build the strongest possible team, everything else will follow. 

My second piece of advice is when navigating your career, be flexible but don't jump at every opportunity immediately: take the time to make sure that it feels right for you. Whilst others may think you should do things differently, my main motivation has always been to do a job I love, not necessarily to reach a certain position. Ultimately listening to your gut is the best way to create a career that makes you happy, the rest can just be a nice by-product. 

Lastly, I think it’s invaluable to have a few select people you trust whom you can reach out to for advice, bounce ideas around with or sometimes just share your frustrations.

How do you recharge your batteries in a fast-paced environment?

I’m well aware that what I’m about to say sounds like a cliché: I genuinely love what I do and it doesn’t feel like something that I need to find a balance from. I’m pretty good at switching off when I have to but I don’t feel the need to very often. I’m pretty introverted, so after a long day, I like to take it easy. I love to cook, have friends over for dinner, paint or do some yoga.

If you wish to discover other career stories like Susanne's, and more inspiring content to help you kick start your career, discover the INSIDE LVMMH platform, your new digital meet-up with LVMH: