Hermès Carré Strategy: Re-inventing a Timeless Classic

Company History
Established in 1837, Hermès first started in the equestrian business as a harness and saddle workshop in Paris. In 1922, Hermès introduced leather handbags, entered the US market in 1924, and in 1937 launched scarves. In the early 1950s, Hermès started using signature orange boxes and its logo (duc carriage with horse). The horse carriage represents the company’s beginnings as a horse saddlery manufacturer.


The Challenge
Hermès is focused on developing marketing and business strategies for its classic 90×90 scarves, also called carrés. Hermès is looking for ways to present, design and market this product in new and fresh ways with an innovative, technologically-savvy approach.


Hermès Carrè Strategy: Re-inventing a Timeless Classic
An eight-student team from Parsons and Columbia Business School came together to renew and re-excite love for an iconic product with a storied history, the beautiful Hermes scarf. They began with in-depth research on the brand’s unique heritage, artisanal craftsmanship and the carré’s colorful history, further diving into its customer profiles and retail opportunities. This was supported by in-store observations and landscape analysis on how technology was integrated across the customer experience.

As the aim was to broadly enhance the appeal of the silk carré, the team looked at the entire customer journey, from awareness to engagement to transaction and finally post-purchase sharing with friends and family on social media. For each step, the team came up with innovative recommendations including virtual try-ons, personality stories to help clients find their perfect carré matches, a walkway made of digital scarf tiles, and a dedicated scarf salon with interactive digital walls and tables. While applying the latest technology, the team stayed true to the core values of the maison – craftsmanship, quality, heritage and most of all, story-telling. The team created three different personas – the aspirationalist, the loyalist and the giver – who all discover the magical, whimsical world of Hermès in their own unique ways.


The Team
Kailu Guan, Parsons The New School for Design
Grace Mann,Parsons The New School for Design
McLayne Ycmat, Parsons The New School for Design
Boris Yu MFA, Parsons The New School for Design
Remy Agamy, Columbia Business School
Janice Li, Columbia Business School
Sylvette Sein, Columbia Business School
Naomi Ueda, Columbia Business School