Enjoy Fashion

How To Build A Brand With Pauline Brown

Haley Paskalides  |  August 28, 2023

Former LVMH Chairman Pauline Brown on taking risks with fashion, making a statement, and what it takes to build a brand.

When you think about your favorite clothing and accessory brands, what is it that makes you truly LOVE them? Is it the name? The way you feel in the clothing? What about how fashionable you look? Pauline Brown knows all about the fashion industry and why we feel so loyal to the brands — and the styles — that make us feel our best, inside and out. She also knows how to build a brand that consumers will love.

That’s because Brown has helped to build some of the world’s most influential luxury brands. She is the former Chairman of North America for LVMH, where she led 70 brands in five sectors including fashion, leather goods, watches, and jewelry. She’s also the founder of the e-learning platform, called Aesthetic Intelligence Labs, which teaches executives and entrepreneurs how to build brands that stand out. (Her platform is an extension of a popular course she introduced at Harvard Business School in 2017, and currently teaches at Columbia Business School.) Her book “Aesthetic Intelligence: How to Boost It and Use It in Business and Beyond,” dives into what it takes to create the look and feel of a brand people will adore. 

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Interestingly, Brown says that great aesthetics aren’t actually about how we look, but rather how a particular item or experience makes us feel. People who are interested in learning how to build a brand should consider the emotions we feel when we are truly moved — what feelings come up when we see a piece of art at a museum?  “Is it emotionally uplifting? Is it memorable? Is it compelling? Is it something that draws us in?” she says. Strong brands all inspire these feelings. 

Brown also offers guidance on building a personal brand, and how we can all become more fashionable — no matter how clueless we may feel when it comes to closet coordination. “I always say to my students, there’s no right or wrong. All there is, is true,” she says. Even after decades in the fashion industry, she admits that she still makes mistakes. Her best advice? Express ourselves fully, get messy, and learn what works for us and what doesn’t — only then can we build a brand we love. 

Hear more about Pauline’s advice for building a brand (and a personal brand) that lasts on the How She Does It podcast. New episodes dropping every Monday! 


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