L’Art de Vivre Lives It Up with Investment

After an $8 million capital investment in October, New York-based luxury gifts marketer L’Art de Vivre has big plans to broaden its catalog and online businesses. The first item on the list: The company will launch Vivre, a spin-off gifts catalog that will be distributed in high-end hotel rooms.

L’Art de Vivre CEO Eva Jeanbart-Lorenzotti, who founded the business in 1995, is using some of the equity investment from a group including RRE Ventures, Charles River Ventures, North Bridge Venture Partners, and Rolaco Services to launch Vivre. The 98-page catalog, which measures just 5-3/8″ × 7-3/8″ will be distributed this month in 10 posh hotels in New York and California, including The Plaza and the Beverly Wilshire. “During a two-month period, we will place 20,000 catalogs in hotel rooms,” Jeanbart-Lorenzotti says. Depending on the success of the launch, “we’ll roll out with many more cities.” The company may also mail the book to frequent hotel guests.

Vivre sells products from 150 brands, including such items as Baccarat crystal candle holders ($135), Cartier wallets ($280), and Ferragamo silk ties ($105). The hotel distribution, Jeanbart-Lorenzotti says, “provides products to meet gift-giving needs and last-minute shopping opportunities” while customers are visiting the participating hotels.

Vivre’s product line is similar to that in the core 82-page L’Art de Vivre catalog. The company mails about 2.5 million L’Art de Vivre catalogs annually and would like to increase that to 5 million a year in 2001. The cataloger targets educated, well-traveled, discriminating consumers who boast a minimum household income of $100,000. “We don’t market to the elite,” Jeanbart-Lorenzotti insists. “We market to folks who have the desire to enjoy,” not to mention who have the cash to support the extravagant lifestyle.

Also in March, the company will relaunch its year-old Website. Customers can buy products from the site, or they can find stores that carry the same brands through the site’s store locator function.

L’art of the deal

To target its audience of affluent spenders, L’Art de Vivre embarked on a joint venture with credit card company American Express. The cataloger mailed a Fall/Winter 2000 Gift Diary edition in October to 175,000 Amex Platinum and Centurion card holders.

Gift Diary catalog recipients receive special services, Jeanbart-Lorenzotti says, such as free gift-wrapping and next-day shipping on all orders. The company will mail 200,000 copies of the next Gift Diary edition in April, she says.

L’Art de Vivre is launching Vivre, a luxury gifts book it will distribute in hotel rooms.

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