Innovation and enterprise blog

The British Library Business & IP Centre can help you start, run and grow your business


This blog is written by members of the Business & IP Centre team and some of our expert partners and discusses business, innovation and enterprise. Read more

01 July 2015

Book Review: ‘The Luxury Strategy’ and ‘Kapferer on Luxury’

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Kapferer on Luxury

Several of the businesses who visit the Business & IP Centre are starting and growing luxury brands, in particular those in the fashion industry, but also those in other industries, such as food and drink. These small businesses are presented with a similar issue – how to keep up with the demands of running a luxury business without risking the luxury brand position. Like any business owner, luxury business owners want their brands to expand but because luxury brands are high quality, rare and premium priced this can present many obstacles.

Despite the economic recession in recent years, the luxury goods market remains buoyant and continues to grow. The luxury brand industry does not just refer to products like watches and jewellery, handbags, drinks (think Champagne!), but services too, such as travel, concierge, restaurants and life style management, to name a few.

The Luxury Strategy

As a result of working with businesses in this sector, the Business & IP Centre has recently acquired the book Kapferer on Luxury: How Luxury Brands Can Grow Yet Remain Rare (Kogan Page, 2015). Jean-Noël Kapferer is a thought leader on luxury brands strategy development and marketing and is also the co-author of an earlier book, The Luxury Strategy: Break the Rules of Marketing to Build Luxury Brands (Kogan Page, 2009).

The Luxury Strategy

In his earlier book Kapferer aims to do two things – firstly to define what a luxury brand is and secondly to provide a comprehensive guide to managing your luxury brand. Kapferer suggests that luxury brands are different in nature to other non-luxury brands and therefore require a more specialised strategy for management and marketing. So what is a luxury brand? Kapferer describes it as: “a different and global way of understanding a customer and of managing a business”.

He points out that “as it is with many concepts, so it is with luxury: everyone understands it, but nobody can agree on exactly what it means, or its contours, its frontiers or its members”.

 Kapferer moves to outlining how you can develop a strategy for growing luxury brands:

  1. Understand the luxury fundamentals:  Kapferer says that “Luxury is a culture, which means you have to understand it to be able to practice it with flair and spontaneity”. He also outlines the difference between premium brands and luxury brands: knowing the difference is key to your strategy, “Premium is not luxury”.
  1. How to manage luxury brands: Consider market size, brand equity, brand stretching, pricing, distribution, communication and finances.
  1. Consider your strategic perspectives: Kapferer outlines different luxury business models, how to enter the luxury market and then leave it; how to learn from the luxury industry, and how to make your luxury strategy sustainable.

The book gives various examples in each section, such as an example of brand stretching for Mont Blanc, or the business model example of the Louis Vuitton brand. 

Mont Blanc Louis VuittonImage by Kili under a Creative Commons license                 Image by GS417~commonswiki under a Creative Commons license

Kapferer on Luxury

The more recent book, Kapferer on Luxury, addresses the number one challenge of all major luxury brands today: how can these brands pursue their growth yet remain luxurious? How can you achieve growth and preserve rarity? This book consists of a collection of articles, published in various journals such as the European Business Review or Journal of Brand Strategy, specifically addressing the growth challenges for luxury, including:

  • Sustaining the luxury dream: challenges and insights.
  • Abundant rarity: the key to luxury growth.
  • The artification of luxury: from artisans to artists.
  • Specific issues and challenges: luxury after the crisis; the importance of non-delocalisation; internet and luxury, consumers’ psychology of luxury prices; sustainable luxury.
  • The business side of luxury brands growth: the distinct business models of luxury brands.

Kapferer provides insight to luxury brands that exude exclusivity and prestige and examines economic trends as well as industry investors and great marketers. Not all businesses have reached the Mont Blanc or Louis Vuitton status and often need help to get there. Kapferer’s books are a must read for any luxury brand owner looking to overcome hurdles to achieve growth. His books are not only informative reads, but are also thought provoking, insightful and packed with real life examples. You don’t need to be a luxury brand owner to reap the benefits from Kapferer’s books, they give a unique view into an industry that seduces and fascinates us; a worthy read for any researcher or business owner. 

Both books can now be found in the Business & IP Centre reading room.


Irini Efthimiadou on behalf of the Business & IP Centre 

24 June 2015

Winning a NatWest everywoman Award changed my life

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Jessica Rose, a young entrepreneur and success story of the Business & IP Centre, recalls the impact the NatWest Everywoman Awards have had in her life – both personally and on her business the London Jewellery School. This is an adapted article from  


To provide context, it's been an uphill struggle and I can't ever forget what I've overcome. After having a tough time at school, dropping out of University, finding out I'm in the bottom 2% of the world in reading due to my severe dyslexia, it was hard to believe I could achieve success. And after years of estrangement from my parents, it meant that I'm not used to support or recognition from others. So, receiving a NatWest everywoman Award was an emotional turning point.

Looking back at what my business was doing before unexpectedly winning the Award, I would say that I was generally happy with how things were going. I run the London Jewellery School which is a centre in London where people from all walks of life can come and learn to make their own jewellery, and I was pleased to be achieving healthy profit margins with a happy team and satisfied students.

However many things have changed since, which I couldn't say are all down to winning an award but it was certainly a huge catalyst for changing my perspective on my ambition and aspirations. To give you an idea, my business has been accepted onto two exclusive programmes for high-growth enterprises; we’ve launched an online site where we offer jewellery making classes for people at home and globally; we have been offered investment from angel investors, and I have a book published about jewellery making. The NatWest everywoman Awards has also resulted in significant PR for me and my business, including an interview in Marie Claire magazine (always nice!), plus we have won a bunch of awards after winning this one, so it has really helped in gathering more recognition.  

But the real change has been in how I see my business. The Award not only gave my business more credibility and great publicity opportunities, but it made me rethink my vision for the future of the company and what I really wanted to achieve. It was only then that I could make plans for expanding, offering more to our students and reaching out to new customers. I have definitely caught the entrepreneur bug, no longer satisfied with running a successful business, I want to change my industry and create amazing experiences for people.

I think the key thing here, for me, has been confidence. Not just for myself but for my whole team and everyone who comes to the jewellery school. It made me realise the thing that I have created is special, and it’s inspired me to push the boundaries and do all I can to achieve our vision. As I am sure you can tell, winning the NatWest everywoman Award has been a life-changing experience. My advice to other business owners, who are considering applying, is to go for it because you have nothing to lose and so much to gain.


Are you running your own business, or do you know someone who is? Nominations for the 2015 NatWest everywoman Awards close Monday 6 July 2015, midnight (GMT).


23 June 2015

Enterprising Libraries: A blueprint for delivering economic growth in UK cities

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Credit: Luca Sage

Last night the city library staff, stakeholders and entrepreneurs from across the country gathered at the British Library to celebrate the launch of an independent economic impact study on the Enterprising Libraries project. The event saw Roly Keating, CEO of the British Library, Kanya King MBE, CEO and Founder of the MOBO Organisation, and Darren Henley OBE, Chief Executive of Arts Council England speak about the success of the project.

Enterprising Libraries is a £1.3m partnership between the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), Arts Council England (ACE) and the British Library which has enabled 16 public libraries, including six Business & IP Centres, across the UK to provide free access to collections and face-to-face advice and guidance for entrepreneurs on how to start, protect and grow their own business.  As a result of the early success of the project, DCLG and ACE, pledged a further £400k to sustain the Business & IP Centre Network and bring on two new pilots over this financial year.

Credit: Luca Sage


Highlights from the report

The findings reveal that a two year initiative to run business support services in libraries has attracted more than double the national average of women to start up their own businesses, and triple the number of entrepreneurs from black and Asian minority ethnic backgrounds. Other findings from the report include:

  • Between April 2013 and March 2015 the Enterprising Libraries have together created a total of nearly 1,700 new businesses and 4,200 new jobs (predicted to rise to 22,000 jobs by 2017)


  • The jobs were predominantly in the creative industries, tech and professional services sectors, and just under a third (29%) were created in libraries in the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ region, for example Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Hull, Leeds and Sheffield


  • Free business and intellectual property information (85%) was reported as a chief benefit, as well as face-to-face support (82% rated this as important), and the function of the libraries as a ’one stop shop’ for a range of business support needs (48%)


270-001 British Library Enterprising Libraries infographic-print

Big business for library’s nationally

The British Library has run its own dedicated space to support entrepreneurs, the Business & IP Centre, since 2006. Enterprising Libraries has enabled the Library to replicate the Business & IP Centre model in six major cities, plus collaborate with ten further library services around the country to spearhead a business support service in their local areas. The British Library’s ambition, as detailed in our recent vision, Living Knowledge, is to expand the Business & IP Centre network to 20 city libraries across the UK by 2020.

The results of the Enterprising Libraries project are testament to the power of collaboration across the library network, and the British Library is considering new ways to connect with public libraries, including a proposal, announced today, to work with the Library of Birmingham – already a Business & IP Centre partner – on a special project around the time of the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare in 2016.

Roly Keating, Chief Executive of the British Library, said:

“The findings published today offer hard evidence that libraries have enormous potential to help businesses to innovate and grow, through their ability to link people with vast amounts of information for free, and thanks to their special role as trusted, welcoming spaces in the community.

As detailed in our vision Living Knowledge, I look forward to working with partners to realise our goal of a UK-wide Business & IP Centre network in city libraries by 2020.”

Credit: Luca Sage

Kanya King MBE, CEO and Founder of the MOBO Organisation and British Library Business & IP Centre Ambassador, said:

“The great thing about libraries is that they are open and accessible to everyone and, as such, I’m not surprised that these Enterprising Libraries have succeeded in attracting such a diverse audience in to use their services. There is so much untapped creative talent among women and ethnic minorities and I’m delighted to see these libraries helping them to turn their ideas into successful businesses.” 

A big thank you for your support

The figures in the report are taken from nearly 1,700 new businesses created over a two year period as part of the Enterprising Libraries project. We asked you to take part in shaping our future by completing our economic survey which has provided the data for this report. Thanks to all who helped us and gave your feedback. As promised, we are delighted to announce the names of those who entered the survey and have won an iPad Air 2 each.

And the winners are…

Elmera Toofan

Michael Moore

Vivien Hamed

Mellissa Beeken

Congratulations to the winners. Check our website for more information on the Enterprising Libraries project, the Business & IP Centre National Network and to find out what entrepreneurial activities are happening in a library near you.