Control freaks: Apple and Burberry

“To tour the Burberry flagship store on London’s Regent Street – with its beautifully stacked clothes, its ‘magic mirrors’ that illuminate with runway images, its signs in Arabic for Gulf tourists and its ‘VVIP’ room on the top floor – is to enter as sweet a world as Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory,” John Gapper writes for The Financial Times.

“Its Wonka is Christopher Bailey, Burberry’s chief creative officer, and designer of all the contents, including a £70,000 ‘limited edition’ white alligator skin jacket. His theatre of luxury is a few notches up the price scale from the nearby Apple store, outside which a queue formed yesterday for the iPhone 5s, but they are related,” Gapper writes. “The appointment of Angela Ahrendts, Burberry’s chief executive, as the head of Apple’s online and retail stores, is proof of that. Ron Johnson, the man who created Apple’s highly successful shops, failed spectacularly when he moved from computers to clothing, trying to work Apple’s magic on JC Penney, the US department store. She is moving the other way.”

“I rate her chances of success higher than Mr Johnson’s because Burberry and Apple have more in common,” Gapper writes. “Ms Ahrendts and Mr Bailey are equals to the late Steve Jobs and Sir Jonathan Ive, Apple’s designer, as control freaks. From early in their joint tenure, they realised the need to hold authority over everything, both online and off.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Apple’s new retail chief Ahrendts has long championed the integration of technology and fashion – October 15, 2013
Tim Cook’s email to employees announcing hiring of Angela Ahrendts as retail chief – October 15, 2013
Apple hires Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts as retail chief – October 15, 2013
Burberry CEO discusses iPhone 5s collaboration with Apple – September 17, 2013
Apple grants Burberry early access to iPhone 5s for fashion show photography – September 12, 2013
Apple’s long hunt for retail store chief continues – January 7, 2013
Apple Retail Stores in dire need of competent leadership – November 7, 2012
What’s – and who’s – next for Apple Retail Stores – October 31, 2012
Tim Cook takes full control of Apple: John Browett and Scott Forstall out; Jony Ive, Bob Mansfield, Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi get expanded responsibilities – October 29, 2012
Report traces Apple Store ‘mistake’ all the way to Tim Cook; shift in emphasis from service to profits comes from Cook, say insiders – August 29, 2012
Reports persist of Apple Retail Store budget cuts, emphasis on revenue over customer satisfaction – August 28, 2012
After being Browettized, Apple Retail touts numbers – August 20, 2012
Apple newbie John Browett brings Dixons to Apple Retail Stores – August 17, 2012
Dear Tim Cook: Apple’s retail focus should be on delighting customers, not generating cash – August 16, 2012
Apple Retail Store chief Browett: ‘We messed up’ with Dixons-eque staffing gamble; refutes layoffs – August 16, 2012
Apple retail chief Browett to get $56 million golden hello – May 27, 2012
Apple grants 100,000 shares to new retail head John Browett – April 25, 2012
Tim Cook emails UK customer: John Browett’s role isn’t to bring Dixons to Apple Retail – February 1, 2012
Eyebrows raised over Apple’s hiring of Dixons CEO to run Apple Retail Stores – January 31, 2012
Apple hires Dixons CEO John Browett as new retail chief – January 31, 2012
Burberry to outfit retail staff with Apple iPads in China stores – April 13, 2011


  1. You want to keep assholes from throwing shit into your walled garden, you need to be control freaks. I’m sorry @3l3c7ro, I meant, if you wish to prevent outsiders from flinging undesirable debris into your walled garden, it is advisable to be extra vigilant.

    1. You’re learning! I’m thrilled that you’ve incorporated Electro into your playbook, even as a contrapositive response; it will contribute to the cleansing of this dissolute chatline without sacrificing valuable emotional content. To wit: one can continue happily to use dirty words and egregious insults as long as they’re cloaked in elaborate figures of speech, as you have so brilliantly done just now.

      It’s an art, as my sainted mother used to say, after she’d demolished my father’s convoluted excuses with a brass-knuckles logic of her own.

      1. In law school they taught us to say things like “You most closely resemble that portion of the human anatomy which remains permanently puckered”, instead of “You’re an asshole.”

    1. Legions of consumers around the world would disagree. Burberry is an aspirational brand and incredibly popular in Asia. Yes, American consumers are known for wanting value, value, value… bigger, better, cheaper.

      But in many places with centuries of history and culture, established marks, brands and quality are very important. Apple is reaching out to become a true luxury brand. Becoming such a brand takes a long time. It’s not clear yet if the end goal is affordable luxury (e.g. Coach) or high-end luxury (Hermès).

      It will be an interesting transition to watch. Speaking of watches…

      1. Until those established brands move production of their 25 dollar shirt that they sell for 400 to China, where it costs 2.00 to make and they don’t lower the price, the quality is not the same. It’s no longer a Brittish brand because its made in china, then everyone cries that people don’t want to pay 400 any more for an Asian shirt dressed in British branding. These companies weren’t happy enough with their 300 profit per shirt but want 323 in profit, sacrificing quality workmanship, materials and enabeling third world countries and poor labor rules and practices.

  2. Steve Jobs was highly focused. Cook and Ive are highly focused. Ahrendts appears to be cut from the same bolt of cloth.

    This hire, plus the addition of Paul Deneve, former chief executive of Yves Saint Laurent, tells me Cook is building and expanding an exceptionally strong management team capable of successfully driving the company for at least another decade.

    Cook is doing a good job. All an investor has to do is contrast Cook’s latest management moves with the succession mess over at Microsoft. Where would you want to park your money?

    1. If you backed up you device before you installed iOS7 you can revert to iOS6.

      If you didn’t do the recommended backup, it is your problem, not Apple’s. Besides, iOS 7 is a lot better than iOS 6.

      If you actually owned an Apple device, you’d know that.

      1. Nice Fanboi comment. Did you get your Zune Brown Apple Case for the Hello Kitty iOS 7 Jesus Phone yet?

        Real reviews from owners:
        -This case is a joke..had case for 2 weeks and it tore between the headphone jack and the edge.
        -After only a few weeks of use, the case looks dirty, and the brown color is already starting to wear off around the edges.
        I cannot believe that Apple put out this and it passed anytype of Quality Audit.
        -I loved the light feel of the case at first, but the corners started to rip within a couple days. I then noticed how dirty it became in such a short time.
        The kicker, my phone is now damaged after one drop.
        -The problem is that the leather is not constructed to be durable enough to withstand normal use. Unlike the leather used for wallets, keycases, etc. that are tanned and finished to tolerate daily handling, this case looks great for about three days.
        -Walked to my car from the Apple store and tried to plug in my car Aux cord, didn’t fit. Tried my headphones, didn’t fit. Walked back in the Apple store and tried every aux cord they had, none fit. I’m a huge Apple fan, but seriously. . . who tested this and gave it the thumbs up??? Not to mention my 30 pin to Lightning cord doesn’t fit.
        -Although I have no doubt that the materials and craftsmanship are tops, if someone told me it was simply made from compressed cardboard, I’d believe that over leather.
        -I am a huge Apple fan, but I bought this case and it hasn’t even been 24 hours and it’s already in the garbage! It seems very cheap! The leather scratches VERY easy! It has a great design, but not scratch resistant.

        Sweating the details at Apple.

        1. You’re a huge Apple fan who patriotically reports its every flaw. That’s a rare Apple fan. I have no doubt that you reported your observed list of deficiencies to Apple. You are to be commended for shattering the illusion that Apple is transcendently perfect. We all needed to learn that hard truth. Your work is far from complete, however. There remain islands of contentment, archipelagos of satisfaction that need to be assaulted before your mission is complete. Against such weak minds, it can surely be accomplished. Good luck.

          Myself, I’ll be over in Brooklyn scalping tickets to the World Series.

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