Longchamp’s handbags Le Pliage handbags have long been aspirational purchases for women around the globe. Now the success of that classic French collection has turned the family behind Longchamp outlet into billionaires.
Back in 1948, Jean Cassegrain founded a simple leather goods company as a pivot from his father’s traditional tobacco business, naming his new line of products after the horse racetrack in Paris. 65 years later, his son Philippe now leads the Cassegrain family’s 100% ownership of replica Longchamp, a fashion accessories powerhouse that FORBES values at an estimated $1.5 billion (about 1.1 billion Euros).
Longchamp’s sales have exploded in recent years as the company capitalizes on a surging affordable luxury fashion market. 2012 sales were 454 million Euros, up 16% from the year before and nearly 75% from 2009. And those sales are from all over the world. According to French newspaper La Croix, only 30% of cheap Longchamp’s revenue comes from its home country of France. An additional 30% is from the rest of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, with 25% in Asia and 15% in America.
Jean Cassegrain, the founder, passed away in 1972, just a year after the company released its first women’s handbag. Philippe took over and expanded the business. The standout Le Pliage line of nylon and leather tote bags that can fold flat was first designed in 1993. The company has since expanded to purses, wallets, luggage, and accessories.
Today, Philippe remains chairman of Longchamp outlet, with his son Jean, 48, elevated to CEO. His other children are also involved in the day-to-day operation: Sophie, 45, is artistic director and Olivier, 43, is the director of boutiques in the United States, where the company opened its first store on Madison Avenue in 1984.
The Cassegrain family is just the latest in a wave of new fashion billionaires. In the last two years, names like Tory Burch, Sara Blakely (Spanx), Renzo Rosso (Diesel Jeans), Nicolas Puech (Hermes), and Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana (Dolce & Gabbana) have all made the cut. They join the ranks of established fashion moguls like Miuccia Prada, Ralph Lauren, Gerard and Alain Wertheimer (Chanel), and Giorgio Armani.