René Weise (Bram): democratic luxury
Bram was acquired by Konen Bekleidungshaus in 1984. Gabriele Castegnaro, member of the Konen Munich board, presents René Weise, the director of Bram Luxembourg. He is capitalising on service and digitisation to ensure the continued growth of a store acquired in 1984 by Konen Bekleidungshaus. Interview.
Can you present your group in brief?
Bram has been around for more than 40 years in the Grand Duchy and the Konen group acquired it in 1984. We employ 237 people of 14 nationalities in Luxembourg over an area of 11,000m2. Our group also has a 12,500m2 store in Munich which employs 450 people. The sale of clothes, fashion and advice on style and trends are the core of our business. We specialise in democratic luxury: high-end, non-elitist brands. Our clients are looking for something stylish but don’t want to feel like “fashion victims”. They come here — often with family members — for high quality, a wide choice and outstanding service. To give you an idea of our brands, we’ve recently added NA-KD and Edited to our range and our most longstanding labels include Hugo Boss, Max Mara and Cambio. We continually invest in training to continue the culture of service which has made Bram a success: we’re hosting more events and we serve all our clients — whether they’re buying a suit, a dress or a pair of socks — with the same level of commitment.
“Selling clothes, advising our clients in terms of style and trends and providing clients with an unrivalled shopping experience are our core business activities.”
Can you tell us about your own journey?
I joined the Konen group in 1999. In 2005, I entered the group’s management and I moved to Luxembourg in 2009, where I worked as a buyer. When I was asked to take on other responsibilities in Germany in 2011, I promised myself that I’d apply if a vacancy came up in the Grand Duchy. That was exactly what happened in 2016 and I applied immediately. My focus is carrying on the work of previous decades by continuing our efforts to provide an exceptional level of service and by taking advantage of digitisation. Our clients in Luxembourg are both incredibly loyal and extremely demanding. We work tirelessly on our corporate culture, which is similar to that of the very best football teams. We must find the perfect balance to avoid management which is too heavy-handed or too lax to ensure the right level of autonomy among staff. Everyone must feel comfortable and be able to carry out his or her role in the team, from offering advice to working at the till — and providing alternations too. The “Bram experience” has to be considered in a holistic way.
How do you approach digitisation?
I see two major areas of focus. Firstly, we must ensure that all our employees understand how useful digitisation is, so that they can distinguish between aspects of our business for which technology is useful and others for which that’s not the case. The core of our business is finding the answers to all sorts of questions of varying complexity, but the common denominator in our response to these queries is our ability to show our commitment to our clients’ well-being. Digitisation makes it possible to expand the Bram experience by means of online visits and purchases, quick delivery and time savings at the till. One thing is certain: it helps us to progress further, which is the best approach for Bram in Luxembourg.