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Managing Director behind the astounding luxury brand Dom Reilly, our friend Tania Reilly writes for the Paddock magazine about the changes and updates in the global business of luxury goods and what it all still has to do with Formula 1.


The global luxury market has been on an upward trajectory for the past few years but like all markets, is going through a change because of the global political and financial uncertainty during 2016.

Consumers are spending their money in different ways and they are allocating their money to different areas. There is as always a certain resilience in this very unique market.

Travel accessories fall into two categories generally. Those brands that cater for mass market regular travellers such as Samsonite and Rimowa, or brands that have a more luxury feel to them – which are normally extensions of fashion brands, such as Gucci, Prada and Dunhill.

The Samsonites of this world are becoming more technical, for example suitcases and carry-ons are being developed with new functionality such as global-tracking and fingerprint locking. Manufacturers are also taking advantage of smartphones and the use of apps.

The luxury brands, such as Dom Reilly, are focusing on quality. This includes quality of design, materials and manufacturing.

More and more sales are being done online, and that’s probably applicable to any player in the mentioned market. This has led to globalisation of the luxury market as luxury goods are now generally available pretty much all around the world.

As it’s often the case, there are a number of heavy-weight players that continue to acquire successful brands. For example, Tumi was recently acquired by Samsonite and Rimowa has just been bought by LVMH, the well-known owners of Louis Vuitton and various luxury designers.

The clients

The client base is growing as obviously more and more people are aspiring to the luxury lifestyle and spending more on luxury items. Key markets such as China continue to see a growth in numbers of the middle classes.

On a global scale, men’s disposable income is around 50% higher than women’s and the increasing desire for men to look and feel good is driving the shift from menswear and accessory sales outperforming that of women’s.

Never compromise on quality, it’s just too important.

The secret

People often ask me for advice about operating in the luxury goods sector. I’d say “never compromise on quality”, it’s just too important and I can’t stress this enough.

Always have in mind that it can take a long time to build a brand’s reputation, however the whole image can be ruined in a second. We try to ensure that we maintain a premium standard in everything we do, whether it’s our packaging, our customer service and of course our leather goods.


Trainers! They’re the always-rising luxury products which are getting more popular as we speak.

Lots of luxury shoe brands are moving away from traditional shoes to sportier trainers. Consumers are collecting vast wardrobes full of elaborately designed trainers from brands as varied as Nike to Balenciaga.

Formula 1

Some years ago the Dom Reilly brand supported the Williams Formula 1 team providing luggage to the team for a number of years and also providing their drivers, Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas, with leather goods such as watch rolls – for their various watches – and helmet cases for their crash helmets.

One of the key lessons that we have learned from Formula 1 is the theory of functional design. We try to bring that discipline into the Dom Reilly pieces. There’s absolutely no point in complicating the design of a bag or wallet. It simply needs to do what it is designed to do in the most efficient way possible.

The work

We have enjoyed a great deal of success creating leather goods collections for corporations.  For example, we created a collection of vintage canvas bags for the historic Raffles Hotel in Singapore and we also created a limited edition collection for the Financial Times.

Increasingly we are focusing on developing the corporate client side of the business whereby we design and manufacture bespoke items for luxury brands of premium sports teams, for instance. We recently completed a collection for a world-famous sports car manufacturer and these bags sold out within months.

This area of our business provides us with the capital and income to allow us to grow the Dom Reilly organically.

On a global scale, men’s disposable income is around 50% higher than women’s and the increasing desire for men to look and feel good is driving the shift from menswear and accessory sales outperforming that of women’s.

The brand itself

Dom Reilly is an emerging luxury brand, still in it’s infancy. I guess from a positioning perspective we’d like to think of ourselves as somewhere between Paul Smith and Hermes.

We don’t want to be high-fashion as we don’t intend to bring our spring/summer and autumn/winter collections every year. We see our pieces as more timeless with long-lasting design and quality.

It will take some years for the brand to grow but we already have the accolade of being nominated for a couple of awards, the Leading Emerging brand by the Bloomberg Luxury Briefing Awards in 2013, followed by being shortlisted as a Brand of Tomorrow by the Walpole Luxury Group in 2014.

For now, we are happy being a small business providing something different for discerning consumers who want something other than the ubiquitous Louise Vuitton or Prada bag.

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