The Defiant Ones

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In 2014, the day before we officially announced the aquisitition of Beats Electronics and Beats Music by Apple, I met Jimmy, Dre, Luke and Paul at Van Nuys airport for the flight to Northern California.

Jimmy was the only one on the plane when I boarded. He said, «Ian, today, film everything.» I wasn’t so sure, it’s not that cool to walk in to Tim Cook’s office filming, even if you’re using an iPhone. But Jimmy said yes, so I did.

Dre was next to board the plane and sat across from me. I said, «Fair warning: Jimmy told me to film everything today.» Dre responded, «Man, I’m scared of those cameras.» Given the Tyrese video that jeopardized the deal was still a fresh wound, I told him I understood but he didn’t need to worry, it wasn’t Tyrese with the camera, it was me.

I shot a lot of photos and video on my phone that day. I have footage of both Jimmy and Dre signing the many pages of Beats/Apple deal paperwork on the plane, all of us walking in the front door of 1 Infinite Loop the day before the announcement, Eddy Cue in Jimmy’s hotel room at the Four Seasons Palo Alto reading aloud an article refuting Dre as «hip hop’s first billionaire», the photo shoot of the iconic NYT photo at the close of the deal, and Jimmy giving a heartfelt soliloquy about his long-time friendship with Dre.

Out of respect for both the personal and confidential I’ve never posted these videos anywhere public. They sat in my iCloud account and I’d show them to friends and family and sometimes just myself, proof this really did happen to me; it wasn’t a dream. I didn’t know what else to do with it. I thought maybe someday, if I didn’t lose the files first, I’d edit them together into something coherent to give to Jimmy, Dre and Luke as a gift.

When I learned Allen Hughes was making a documentary for HBO about Jimmy and Dre I sent him the footage. He seemed excited about it but I wasn’t sure if he would make use of it. That was more than two years ago. I was stoked and proud to see a few selections in episode 1 of The Defiant Ones when I saw a screening here in Paris a couple weeks ago (apologies to Guillaume who was sitting next to me at the screening and had to hear me point out every shot that was mine).

So to commemorate the release of The Defiant Ones on HBO today I’m posting a photo from that day for the first time – a photo of the above-mentioned plane flight, Dre sitting across from me and Jimmy behind.

I loved every minute of working with Jimmy, Dre, Luke, Trent and the rest of the Beats teams. I’m fortunate on every level to have had the opportunity. Jimmy pushed me to do things I didn’t know I was capable of, and if you watch this documentary you’ll see I’m far from the only one and in extraordinary company in that regard. Jimmy was my first call or email at 7am and my last at 11pm every day, and his work ethic and attention the the business – while having FUN – is something I’ll always strive to replicate. That’s not bullshit. It’s real. I lived it, momentarily. It’s «the high I’ll always try to get back».

Thank you sincerely for inviting me along for a short part of your incredible journey. It was an honor, privilege and pleasure.

24 Sèvres Launches Today

1_uPv2b16bNLN5FBSsXyilrA24 Sèvres, launching today, brings Parisian style to the world

Today, after three months of testing with friends and family, we are opening 24 Sèvres to the public at http://www.24Sevres.com and the 24 Sèvres iOS app. 24 Sèvres is a fashion boutique extending the world’s first department store, Paris’ Le Bon Marché, to anyone with an Internet connection in more than 70 countries around the world, any time of day or night.

When I joined LVMH in October 2015 24 Sèvres was an idea introduced to me by Alexandre Arnault with a code name and one employee, Eric Goguey, formerly leading e-commerce for Sephora Europe. Today 24 Sèvres is a living and breathing startup in Paris’ 15th arrondissement, home to world-class in-house software engineers, fashion buyers, a creative studio, marketing team, customer service staff, and more.

Here on 24 Sèvres’ launch day I’d like to extend gratitude and credit to Eric and the 24 Sèvres team:

Thank you! Not only did you build a product you built a team, a startup in Paris, in secret, heads down and focused. 24 Sèvres’ initial version is beautiful and in my experience testing and demoing over the past few months incredibly well-coded and stable end-to-end, from browsing and simple ordering on mobile, to receiving my beautiful package. You clearly took pride in your software craft the way other LVMH craftspeople take in their respective métiers. I salute you!

Dear reader, please show the 24 Sèvres team your support by downloading their app from the Apple App Store:

Download the 24 Sèvres iOS App

or visiting them at http://www.24Sevres.com and make a purchase if you’re so inclined… and tell a friend…

In case you’re wondering what’s special about 24 Sèvres, let me give you the highlights:

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#1 UNIQUE SELECTION

I distinctly remember a picture of the world’s first department store in my Indiana high school French text, a photo of a giant and beautiful building called Le Bon Marché, located at 24 Rue de Sèvres in Paris, France. In 1852 Le Bon Marché invented the concept of department store, putting multiple brands together in a single showroom allowing the customer to browse, dream, and be inspired by the products on display. Later they would pioneer doing this via a paper catalog for people who couldn’t make it to their showroom; they invented e-commerce, conceptually, in the late 1800s.

Today I live in Paris, a ten minute walk from Le Bon Marché. I’m a member of their 24 Sèvres loyalty program. In the past year and a half I’ve bought cashmere sweaters, shoes, jeans, sweatshirts and socks, soaps and hand cremes, a mechanical swiss-made watch, and a raincoat for Paris winter. I’ve purchased notebooks and pens, and books to read in both French and English. I’ve bought games, Legos, a stuffed panda and alligator, and a beautiful dress to wear to Christmas dinner for our daughter, Lucinda. But Le Bon Marché is much more than just a department store; attached via tunnel and walkway is La Grande Epicerie, a massive grocery and collection of eateries that I describe to my American friends as a combination of Eataly and Whole Foods. In Le Bon Marché there is a cafe with delicious vegan salads who also happens to sell music books (I bought the Punk Magazine collection there) and vinyl (AC/DC bootleg vinyl Rive Gauche?!). There are “jeans ateliers” (yes, more than one) where you can have your jeans custom made and multiple places in the store where you can have all kinds of products, from shoes to bags, customised just for you by artists and craftspeople. January 2016 brought an inspiring art installation from Ai Wei Wei and this year you could walk through the centre of an installation from Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota. In December Lucinda and her fifth grade friends went to Le Bon Marche to see the shows they had running during the holiday shopping season — acrobats, mimes, music — and every hour on the hour a musical alarm would sound and staff would run through the store handing balloons to kids. All this to say that if you believe what retail futurists like Doug Stephens are saying, retail’s purpose is changing, physical experiences are becoming more premium and more experiential, something you simply cannot get online, then Le Bon Marché continues to lead and innovate.

Which is incredible if you live in the neighborhood (as I do) or are visiting Paris (like thirty million people do each year) but what about the other seven billion people on the planet? How can they experience Le Bon Marché and this unique, Parisian take on fashion, lifestyle and culture? Especially when none of the leading online boutiques are based in Paris?

24 Sèvres will bring this unique spirit, selection, and style of Paris and Le Bon Marché to the world 24 hours per day every day of the year. The unique style and selection will bring Le Bon Marché to you, wherever you are in the world.

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#2 BEAUTIFUL AND INSPIRING WINDOWS

We are excited to be launching 24 Sèvres just at the beginning of what we consider phase two of Internet e-commerce. If the first phase was about price the second phase is set to be about the total customer experience.

Why do people come to an online boutique instead of simply typing a keyword in to the search bar? We know they come (often every day) to be inspired, see what’s new and of the moment. Yet online boutiques today are still pushing « editorial + commerce » in a visual Internet era. I was inspired by meeting Faye McLeod (LVMH Visual Image Director) at Alexandre Arnault’s apartment early in the 24 Sèvres project. Looking through the book Louis Vuitton Windows which features a lot of her team’s (LVMH Visual Studio) work I was reminded that our physical stores invoke desire through beauty and creativity, not promotion. From there we started exploring how to bring this art of visual merchandising to the Web and our mobile app, and asking how we could connect our physical store windows to these virtual ones. This will evolve in the coming months and years but I am excited to see how Faye, Julien, and the team have conceptually and visually connected the merchandising of the initial 24 Sèvres capsule collection in Le Bon Marché at 24 Rue de Sèvres in Paris and online at http://www.24Sevres.com. I hope you can visit both this summer but if not please compare any page on 24 Sevrès to a similar page on your previous favorite online boutique and let us know what you think. We are proud of the difference but would love to hear your feedback.

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Testing the 24 Sèvres personal shopper experience from the 24 Sèvres app

#3 EXCEPTIONAL AND HUMAN SERVICE

Fast shipping, easy returns, personal shoppers for VIPs — customer service is an arms race in luxury shopping at the moment. But how do you bring the experience you get working with a human being in store to your home? We wanted to explore the notion that great luxury customer service is more than just fast delivery so we built the first video personal shopper integrated directly in the 24 Sèvres mobile app. Simply create an account and click Personal Shopper in the My Account section of the 24 Sèvres app to be connected to a personal shopper in Paris. Worldwide access to a personal shopper in Paris would have been science fiction twenty years ago but it’s available on the most popular cell phone in the world today. This plus fast shipping to more than seventy countries worldwide and the most luxurious unboxing experience of any online shopping destination show our commitment to service which will only grow in the coming days and months.

It’s a big day for us! Thanks for sharing it with us by giving 24 Sèvres a try. Let us know what you think.

ian c rogers
Paris, June 6, 2017