Despite the world adapting to a global lockdown and continuing the attempts to regain even the slightest bit of normalcy, businesses have been forced to challenge themselves and continue to create under the difficult circumstances. Joss Sackler’s LBV has managed to face the hardships 2020 has brought and turned them into advantages as they’ve relaunched with an entirely new business model, and they’ve even introduced a new extension of the multi-faceted brand.
LBV was created as “a brand for her” in 2017 — a women’s social club dedicated to the ins-and-outs of wine. Sackler came up with the idea after growing exhausted of attending events for the typically male-dominated drinking fraternities she was a member of. At the time, she noticed a surging wave of women’s clubs in New York City and realized it was the perfect time for her to create one of her own.
As the club grew over the years, its interests shifted, eventually adding focuses of culture, art, fitness, beauty, fashion, and cuisine into the mix of social events and collaborations. Although the exact number of members remains undisclosed, the club president lets us know it consists of a small group of like-minded individuals with great taste and a ferocious bond. Access to membership is subsequent to a vetted application process through the LBV website or through an extended referral of an existing member. While the $500 annual membership fee (along with any additional event fee) is not considered inexpensive by any means, the good news is that there’s something for everyone, whether it’s an experiential dinner, a private tour of a fashion showroom, a makeup workshop, or a fitness class. You name it, and LBV probably hosts it. “The members have become really good friends by staying loyal to some of the interests within the club,” Sackler says. “Some of the wine tasters never miss an event,” her assistant adds.
But how does a social club continue to function when social distancing becomes the worldwide rule embedded in everyone’s brain? Well, it adapts the same way everything else has. It goes virtual. The club currently meets solely online, and their events are usually held on video calls through Zoom. Although the interactions through a computer screen have become somewhat of a chore, the events aim to provide a small escape for its members from the current complicated (and restricted) reality.
LBV’s social entity wasn’t the only one to make heavy alterations, though. The brand’s in-house luxury clothing line, run by Sackler and creative director, Elizabeth Kennedy, has also moved forward by resorting to operating its business fully online. Prior collections had been exhibited at trunk shows in partnership with private retailers like Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue, but once they deeply analyzed the heavy losses high-end retailers had suffered within the last year, the LBV team decided it was best to move forward on its own with a new direct-to-consumer business model.
The fashion house has released five collections since its debut in 2019 and has another one underway for New York Fashion Week 2021. The pieces for the clothing line are meant to embrace “power dressing”, continually inspired by, and made for, the diverse members of the female social club. Members also receive priority and selective pricing for every new collection. “The pieces range from structured powersuits, to intricate evening gowns, and even some knitwear,” Sackler says. “We’re the first and only female social club to have its own clothing line,” she adds with a smirk.
And to top it all off, in November of 2020, LBV also launched its own editorial magazine. The publication is currently a members-only perk, but the CEO and editor-in-chief plans to widen distribution for future editions. The impressive, sleek-looking editorial piece is nothing short of spectacular, intertwining beautifully detailed shots of LBV’s most recent F/W 20 collection along with spreads of member-written entries centered around fashion, wine, and lifestyle, and more. Can’t expect anything less from Joss Sackler. Not bad for a restructured business during a global pandemic.