Louis Vuitton’s rise from farm to fame

Whenever there is a mention of the brand, Louis Vuitton, what comes to mind first is probably, luxury.

Rarely will people ask themselves the history of this global brand and it may surprise you to learn that the name, Louis Vuitton didn’t always symbolize luxury. In fact, the founder of the company came from very humble beginnings. Louis Vuitton was born in the year 1821 in rural eastern France to peasant farmers. His parents and five generations of his ancestors had all been milliners, farmers, or carpenters. It therefore seemed natural for many that a young Louis Vuitton would follow in his father’s footsteps, but no, Louis Vuitton had other ideas in his mind.

When Louis Vuitton became a teenager at age 13, he became very rebellious and ran away from home. His reasons for running away were the authoritative nature of his parents and the yearning to enjoy the city life of Paris. At that time Paris was undergoing a major financial and economic growth and many young Frenchmen were moving to the city to take advantage of the economic opportunities that presented themselves. Young Louis Vuitton was no different from these other young Frenchmen. The journey to Paris for Louis Vuitton took close to three years. The reason for this slow progress of his journey was because he was travelling on foot and had to often work odd jobs along the way to survive and save up for the remainder of his journey.

At age 16, Louis Vuitton finally arrived in Paris. The city was not so welcoming for him. He did not know anyone that could help him out and literally had to fight off people trying to take advantage of him in every way. Thanks to his resilient character and endless pursuit of success, a 16 year old Louis Vuitton managed to find work as a box making apprentice for a gentleman named Monsieur Marechal. It is this person Monsieur Marechal that we can thank for all the success Louis Vuitton had. It’s under the guidance of Marechal that Louis Vuitton learned the craftsmanship of making bags and the art of packaging and preserving.

In the 14 years between the ages of 16 and 30, Louis Vuitton built a good reputation for himself, so much so, that even the Parisian elite started to take notice of him. In the 14 years he was in Paris, he had risen from being a poor boy born in a village in eastern France to having what many would call a cult following in the Parisian society.  Around the year 1851, the empress of France Eugenie de Montijo who was the wife of Napoleon the third requested that Louis Vuitton became her personal box maker. Louis Vuitton gladly accepted. This new position propelled the brand and name of Louis Vuitton even further. Empress Eugenie was the most powerful woman in France at that time and through her he was able to build a network of powerful friends and business associates.

In 1854, Louis Vuitton formed the company, Louis Vuitton, and like they say, the rest is history.

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