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MBA Final Project Sows Seeds Of Luxury Design Company

Kristan Leroy used her MBA project to work out a business model for Leroy & Scarpa

Kristan Leroy had clear plans for her part-time MBA and how it would help her found a luxury design company, since graduating in 2009 how has her company developed?

Kristan, 44, is originally from San Francisco and was working as the marketing and admissions manager at Grenoble Ecole de Management. When she decided to study for a part-time MBA it was an obvious choice for her to apply to Grenoble, and the triple-accreditation made it a sure-fire decision.


The decision to study for an MBA was fuelled by a desire to change careers and “have a go at starting my own business in a new field that I felt passionate about: interior design, soft furnishings design & creating around beautiful fabrics".

The highlight of the part-time MBA for Kristan was her cohort; 19 students from 12 different nationalities and most had at least ten years working experience in various fields.

Kristan needed specific skills to start her own company; she had marketing experience from Grenoble and had previously been a marketing manager at Ericsson Hewlett Packard Teleccomunications. But she “needed to master financial management in France and international marketing, accounting, legal issues, raising capital, modern marketing in the web 2.0 arena.”

Her final MBA project was to work on her own business plan for her soft furnishings design company. “My company sprouted from my final MBA project where I was researching the ‘home fashion’ industry and the existing competition and go-to-market strategies.”

Kristan recreated her luxury label Leroy & Scarpa within the last year in order “to best address my niche clients’ needs and launch an exclusive brand worldwide. We design, assemble and package all our products. We are 100% Made In France.”

Leroy and Scarpa "still have many mountains to climb but we will be showing at the Scènes d’Intérieures hall at Maison & Objet in January 2012. This show is key for our future success worldwide in the furniture, giftware and luxury accessories markets".

The company is growing rapidly, "the word is starting to spread virally and we now have sales agents in place worldwide, a first round of investors under our belts and a supply chain that can support the future volumes".

So in what ways has the part-time MBA helped in the establishment of Kristan's company? “It has given me the courage to totally change careers and run a business from A to Z, which is really, really challenging. The MBA stamp is a recognized asset when looking for investors who are wary of how we are to manage their funds. We have mastered the design in excel spreadsheets (forecasting, cash flow analysis, pricing, etc…..)!!”

Kristan hopes that her label will be recognized worldwide within five years and ensure we meet our projections and have 100% customer satisfaction. “We want to continue to design, assemble and package all our products 100% in France so we need financial stability to ensure this quality. In ten years we would like LVMH, PPR or the likes to buy our little company, and then retire!”


Tuesday 25th October 2011, 15.08 (UTC)


This is really cool. What did the school think about you doing your final year business plan about your own company? Also I think some of those designs are really cool!

Saturday 29th October 2011, 11.01 (UTC)


Thanks for your comments Shafayet.<br /> My final project wasn't a business plan perse, I'd based my research on Chris Anderson's book/hypothesis; The Long Tail. Here is the abstract if you are interested:<br /> <br /> To niche or not to niche?…… That is the central issue of this project.<br /> When considering the paradigm shift from big business to a small, niche business in a Web 2.0 world, what are the best means to activate a brand, capture a share of market and achieve profitability? <br /> Who is winning in this fast-changing e-marketplace? And by what means?<br /> These are just some of the questions raised in this study of niche businesses in the Web 2.0 age and how to develop a new business management strategy as a result. Research and analysis via qualitative methods answer the research question:<br /> Should you invest in the Long Tail as a producer? <br /> The response is yes, there is power in a niche, even for premium-priced low-volume goods. Conclusions are drawn based on analysis of: the latest controversy of the Long Tail theory, Search theories, social media, brand building, ‘ingredient’ co-branding and e-tailing.

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