Laetitia Girard was born in France, and discovered the world of luxury early on in life, through a passion for hotels. She began her career at luxury hotels across Paris, including Hotel Costes ***** and Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme *****. As a wife and mother of three, she combined her interest and talent for travel, language and communications, and soon gained a Masters in Hospitality Management at ESCP Europe and a certification in Revenue Management from Cornell University. Rapidly excelling to the position of Director of Operations at the Royal Luxembourg *****, it remained clear to Laetitia that the human aspect of business is the key to success, and to successful leadership.
Leaving the hotel industry, having achieved her goals in this sector, Vendôm was born from Laetitia’s desire to create a company dedicated to advocating the human capital at the heart of recruitment.
- Can you tell us a little about your background and the company?
I spent most of my career, in the luxury hotel business. I truly loved being a hotelier, as it combined my interest for travel, languages, and communications. In the midst of my career I built on this passion for the sector by studying for a Masters in Hospitality Management and a certification in Revenue Management. During this time, I noticed a real need to put the ‘human’ back in the heart of luxury recruitment, and in 2015, my career led me on a new path to find Vedôm.
Vendôm is an exclusive professional network that selects and identifies qualified candidates under the recruitment axis. We believe that exceptional employees are what lead to long-lasting and fruitful relationships in the work place. Vendôm offers a range of services with the mission of uniting the best talents and the best recruiters in luxury.
Today, we are based in France but present across the globe, with a series of franchises covering Switzerland, Spain-Portugal, United Kingdom, and Indian Ocean markets.
- How did the idea for the company come to?
The idea for Vendôm came from various observations I had made throughout my career. The main being that sourcing and developing talent is a huge challenge and in order to ensure recruits last, luxury brands and professionals should have meaningful and virtuous values, centred around human connection.
Rather than undergoing a robotic recruitment process, with no face-to-face engagement, meeting your future employer allows you to understand what the role will truly entail, and to prove what you will bring to the establishment. For the recruiter, this allows a proper understanding of who the canditate is, and whether they would be a good fit. These conversations cannot happen in a faceless recruitment process, and passionate employees is never more important than in the luxury sector.
From this observation, we decided to create an exclusive network, selecting the best talents for the best recruiters, with human connection at the centre of the business.
- How did you achieve awareness?
I think there were already big questions on the subject. Candidates felt frustrated and recruiters dissatisfied with what was being offered. In many fields, the real skill is to identify and understand the personalities of individuals enough to ensure they will fit the position. Luxury is certainly the industry with the most demand, so we have to work hard. I think Vendôm has also been a big success thanks to the kind, attentive and open contacts we have all over the world.
- How have you been able to gain funding and grow?
Precisely by the reasons just mentioned: listening, communication, needs analysis, nothing general, but offering a tailor-made service. A luxury professional is above all an individual made up of their history!
- What are the key successes?
I think our ability to ensure that the candidates are at the heart of the hiring process. Our strength lies in a portfolio of qualified candidates that we support in their career development. Across the globe, Vendôm recruitment agencies are led by professionals recognised for their quality in listening and fine understanding of the specific expectations of each recruiter.
We have also seen great success through our various events where we aim to bring together brands, candidates and spokespeople for the luxury industry. This has included virtual events with some of the leading and brands and businesses in the industry.
- What were/are the challenges and how have you overcome these?
Navigating the direction of the luxury industry in today’s climate has been hard, as recruitment has become increasingly impersonal, which we are really seeking to combat.
For decades, we have been moving into a world of mass consumption, where everything has to go fast. My answer is the opposite of all this. Everything is industrialising, and at all levels. Luxury in its own definition does not form part of this dynamic, and this is a constant perception we are having to reinforce.
To overcome, there is one secret in luxury: treat people as you want to be treated. The real world of luxury is respect and equality, wherever you come from.
- What are your plans now/for the future?
Our current focus has been bringing EXCELLENCE by Vendôm to life. Held on a bespoke, high-performing app, EXCELLENCE took place in October 2021with a host of events including workshops, live conferences with experts in the sector and virtual booths where employers can display relevant information for prospective candidates.
We secured some of the world’s leading luxury brands to attend, from jewellers like Audemars Piguet & Chopard, to 5-star hotels including The Dorchester Collection, Raffles, The Ritz Paris & The Savoy London, and global brands such as Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co. & Clarins.
For the industry, we need to remember that historically, luxury is art, which is a dream, even for people who cannot afford it. If we can find economic models that are more inclusive, that would be a big plus. But I have no doubt that the crisis we have just suffered will invent it. The large luxury groups have developed treasures of invention, not only to improve their turnover, but also their image, and especially their employees’ wellbeing.
- What would you like to share with others to encourage them to start their own entrepreneurship journey?
Be independent, imaginative, and observant, be on the lookout for trends, share, and above all, never be influenced by the condescension of some people, or the wise judgment of those who are afraid of an adventure that they could never lead. Finally, I would add be determined and hardworking. Entrepreneurship takes the sacrifice of long, endless hours of stressful work, but an adrenaline so powerful that we can forget the negatives.
- Can you share you top 5 tips for entrepreneurial success?
- Be kind
- Always share
- Be bold
- And a have little madness
- Who are the 5 people who inspire you the most?
The words of Steve Jobs: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.”
My husband who is always attentive and relevant in his advice. He has a sweet wisdom that fascinates me.
My sons who have the desire to conquer the world with an innocent freshness.
Children are a great inspiration and we are always learning from them.
My grandmother who was a real entrepreneur, which was rare in her time; she owned a cinema.
My father, who always pushed us to be ourselves and do whatever we wanted to try.
And a thousand other people who started from nothing, but we reach new heights thanks to their talent, their imagination and their perseverance.
- What are your favourite inspirational /motivational quotes?
Richard Branson: “the way you treat your employees is the way they will treat your customers” – and – “Be yourself without fearing the judgment of others. We are all fully-fledged beings”
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