Frugality Drove Me To Luxury Brands

The below post is from friend and colleague, Amol Tembe, who also happens to be my boss! This is the first of many posts you’ll see in the coming weeks where I and/or my colleagues talk frankly about ecommerce, mobile commerce, luxury commerce, customer experience, technology and more. Yes, we produce events in these industries, and yes, this blog is meant to be mostly a business tool for all of you e-marketers out there, but we are consumers afterall. Why not have a little fun with the topic? – Kelly, Editor

I won’t lie, and I’m not ashamed: I’m frugal.

If you asked me on the street if I owned luxury brands, I would have said no. But surprisingly, I’m likely a larger than average purchaser of luxury brands, and it is my frugality that drives me to these brands.


I wave my American Express Platinum card around at New York’s finest restaurants proudly. I certainly wouldn’t feel as good with my Visa Signature. It’s American Express for me or bust. I proudly pay the annual fee, and I believe “Membership Has its Privileges.” Why do I, who claim to be frugal, do this? For one, I’ve been upgraded at every hotel we’ve stayed at since I’ve had the card. At the Four Seasons in Philadelphia, I was given $300 in spa vouchers. Plus there’s the lounge access in airports.

Seven years ago I purchased my first pair of Bruno Magli shoes. Now it is all I’ll wear. They really are quality. They are the most comfortable shoes I’ve worn. I live by the gentleman’s adage: A $100 pair of shoes you’ll have for a year and a $300 pair of shoes you’ll have for life.

I also use Tiffany cuff links and a Tiffany money clip. They are keepers for life. Tiffany never goes out of style. Why splurge on these? I had another pair of cufflinks and within two years, I gave them away.

How can I forget my Mont Blanc pen? Just beautiful, and certain moments in life make pulling out a Bic or a Parker or anything else just unacceptable. Why this one for this frugal guy?Who could guess – my Mont Blanc pen was paid for with my American Express Platinum points!

My Omega Seamaster 300M Automatic Chronometer (is this even a luxury brand anymore?) has been on my wrist since August 2005 and I still think it looks great every time I look at it. When I check the time, I check twice: once to check the time, once to admire the watch! Prior to that purchase, every watch I’d buy I’d have for a year and either get bored with it or find it didn’t work so I’d buy a new one.

In the end it’s really my frugality that drives me to some of these luxury brands because I’ll have them for life.

I would have had five watches by now, several mediocre cuff links knocking around,  burned through about seven pairs of $100 shoes…and, hey, I’m still relatively young. Imagine what the future would have held?