The New House that Ralph Built

Posted by: on Apr 26, 2010 | One Comment

While I have not had the opportunity to visit the new Ralph Lauren store in Paris, the internet has been flooded with pictures, opinions, and general buzz about Mr. Lauren’s new real estate on the Boulevard Saint Germain. So far, everything I have read has been positive, and I must say I am not at all surprised.

Having been to various smaller Ralph Lauren boutiques in both the US and Europe, as well as to the Chicago and New York Mansions, I can honestly say I have had nothing but positive experiences all around. Often, even for those of us who love clothing, shopping can be a less than enjoyable experience. Small, dimly lit stores full of staff with massive superiority complexes, giant mega-stores with no one to assist you in sight, or even the dreaded shopping mall. Shopping with Ralph Lauren, on the other hand, is totally different. When it comes time to leave (not often enough with a bag in hand), I find myself wanting to add my portrait to the masses on the walls, sit down in one of the comfy leather club chairs with a tea or a whisky, and move in rather than head out.

Last summer, a weekend in Chicago happened to be one of those lucky times when I did leave with a bag in hand, containing a wonderful new pair of driving loafers. Sadly, in only a few wears, the heel of one shoe began to wear through. Customer Service to the rescue! Only a phone call away, the kind sales associate who sold the shoes to me promptly apologized, had me ship the shoes back to her at their expense, tracked down another pair for me, as the Chicago store was sold out, and had that pair overnighted to me at no expense (and the new loafers are still going strong). Everyone makes mistakes, but recovery is everything.

So, lest you think this a giant Ralph Lauren PR plug, I’ll get to my general point already. Customer service and a positive shopping experience make all the difference. No one is perfect, but if more brands listened to their customers, gave them an enjoyable shopping experience, and provided the customer service to stand behind their products, everyone would be a lot better off. You don’t see fanfare like this over just any boutique opening now do you?

1 Comment

  1. Turling
    April 26, 2010

    Completely agree. I'm an Allen Edmonds fan. I purchases a pair of brogues only to have a squeek develop in one of the shoes a few days after purchase. Overnighted them back, at their expense, overnighted me another pair at their expense and three days later…squeek free. I ask for that salesperson by name, now.


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