Determination, hard work and a lot of passion caught the interest of the biggest names of Luxury Fashion such as Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Dolce & Gabbana and Valentino. Irene Bocchiardo is someone who has learned to be at the top of her game, at a job she loves, meanwhile, making sure there is a healthy life balance so there is more energy to put into everything. Read on to find out about her career and the surprising turns that got her to where she is now.
“Working in luxury implies that I always need to push my boundaries and put in a lot of effort to be at the top of my game.”
Tell us about the time when you realized that you found the right career path for yourself.
As far as I remember, I have always loved to create something memorable and plan travels and activities with my friends. When I found myself working to organize experiences that could engage the clients with the brand, I understood this was the right environment for me. It matched my personality perfectly.
What appeals to you about luxury the most?
In luxury, details matter. People choose to pay a premium price to have the best products and services. What’s more, I love that it is a niche market with its own rules and expectations. Working in luxury implies that I always need to push my boundaries and put in a lot of effort to be at the top of my game.
Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Dolce & Gabbana and Valentino – some of the biggest names in the Luxury Fashion, how did you approach them?
Right after getting my degree at Bocconi University, the university helped me to land an internship opportunity at Louis Vuitton. At first, I spent one full year in the Marketing office covering the Italian market, but then I was offered a job in the store. Most people would not accept going from marketing at the head office to the sales at the store but now, looking back, I can see that this experience was crucial in the career journey to get to where I am now. After this experience, I got phone calls from other brands since I had developed a strong background in Marketing and CRM.
How would you compare the work life in these companies?
These companies have completely different backgrounds, therefore, the working environment reflects their history. If I would have to define work life at each one of them, then firstly, Louis Vuitton is exceptional at being smooth and flawless – they have run retail for such a long time that they have really mastered the system. Secondly, Burberry is dynamic and deeply British. I remember that the most heard word there was “inspiration”. Then Dolce & Gabbana is very creative and passionate, the family there is everything! And lastly, Valentino is uniquely elegant and respectful. I must say that the work environment here is highly motivating – it truly is a brand to take as a role model!
What are the skills that are most important in your position?
Attention to details, understanding the market, flexibility, ability to speak several languages and to adapt to different situations.
“As a marketing professional, having the opportunity to work with the final customer, it really helped a lot.”
Which past jobs have been most helpful in getting you to this point in your career?
It was the work at Louis Vuitton’s store. As a marketing professional, having the opportunity to work with the final customer, it really helped a lot. It was not easy nor something that I was ready for but this experience was important to grow my career in retail. I learned what leverage to use to engage with the clients, what they expect in terms of service from a luxury brand: it’s exclusivity and a personalized approach.
What has been the biggest challenge in your work life and how did you solve it?
The biggest challenge in work life is people management and this never comes to a solution, it is a day-to-day aspect. It implies building a trusting relationship among the team. There is much of oneself to put into it. I remember being put in charge of a team with many senior colleagues while I was the youngest. In this situation, you should play it carefully and gain everybody’s respect and recognition. It takes time and patience.
During your studies, you did an Erasmus year in France and then decided to go for an MBA in the Philippines. Where did the decision to study abroad come from and how has this experience affected you?
I have always had a passion for traveling and exploring different cultures. These experiences opened my mind and helped me to understand that we are living in such a huge world that is extremely small at the same time. People travel and being connected comes so easily. When you work for an international brand, you always have to think globally.
If you could, would you change anything in your career path?
I am very happy about where my professional journey has taken me so far and I would not change anything. However, I do not feel I have reached the destination, I feel that there is still a lot to discover and experience 🙂
What advice would you give to someone who wants to be in this field?
Pay attention to details and use a humble approach.
Tell us something that most people don’t know about you. Even if it might not show, I’m a shy character
Your work philosophy?
I always try to keep a good balance between work life and private life
Your hobbies outside work?
I believe in mens sana in corpore sano: I go jogging and I love to spend my free time at the seaside with my beloved ones.