Lux and Friends

Carlo Pignataro

The world of luxury has never been so timeless and contemporary as today.Luxury Industry veteran Carlo Pignataro takes a deep dive into the forces at play, and invites some of its most brilliant minds to join his lively conversations.MISSION: to explain complexity in a crisp and entertaining way.

read less
BusinessBusiness

Episodes

#52: Is the American Dream still Alive? The story of the jewelry brand Faraone Mennella. With Amedeo Scognamiglio
Feb 28 2024
#52: Is the American Dream still Alive? The story of the jewelry brand Faraone Mennella. With Amedeo Scognamiglio
I couldn't be happier to kick off a new season, this time live from Dubai, of Lux & Friends podcast, with an exceptional guest whose story is nothing short of a fairytale in the Luxury Industry. Like all fairytales, Amedeo Scognamiglio's life and journey are filled with surprises, miracles, unexpected twists, extreme joy, and profound sadness. Amedeo and his childhood friend, partner, and later business partner Roberto Faraone Mennella left Italy in the late 90's to pursue their dream of living together in NY and creating something remarkable. Amedeo began expanding his family's 150-year-old Cameos business in the US, while Roberto opted to study at the prestigious Parsons School of Design. After Roberto graduated, he faced a crucial decision: either join a company with years of apprenticeship ahead before having creative freedom or establish their own venture with Amedeo. They chose the latter, and soon after, the fine jewelry brand Faraone Mennella was born. Despite the grand dream, they had only $10,000, just enough to craft their first "mesmerizing" (to say it with those who saw it)  collection. "What could possibly go wrong?" they wondered. The jewelry was breathtaking, the plan was set (to be featured at Bergdorf Goodman), and they were driven to succeed. However, the 9/11 struck, shattering their hopes along with the towers. Yet, one fateful night, Amedeo received a call that achanged their lives forever. Sarah Jessica Parker, the star of Sex and the City, requested a Cameo for the show. The rest is history. Within months, Faraone Mennella emerged as the most sought-after designer jewelry brand in the US. The media couldn't get enough of them, and the roster of celebrities and UHNWI adorned in their jewels is too lengthy to enumerate. An American dream was realized. "The Italian boys" succeeded in NY, but tragedy loomed ahead. Roberto passed away in 2020, yet his dream lives on, carried forward by Amedeo in his memory. Grab yourself a cup of coffee or tea, settle in comfortably, and tune in to this episode of the podcast. It will evoke laughter, tears, dreams, and renewed hope.
#51: Permanent Reinvention. With Aidan McCullen
Jul 20 2022
#51: Permanent Reinvention. With Aidan McCullen
The focus of this episode of Lux and Friends is Permanent Reinvention, the one thing we (individuals and organizations)all need. That we all somehow do, and that we all fear.In nature, change is inevitable. Organisms either change or die.And yet, the human brain is resistant to change despite all evidence would suggest it is vital to one’s survival.My guest of today is Aidan McCullen, author of the best-selling book Undistruptable, A Mindset of Permanent Reinvention for Individuals, Organisations and Life.Aidan’s career is a manifesto for change and reinvention.A former professional rugby player the Irish National team, he is the host of the Innovation Show, a world class podcast featuring some of the world’s leading thought leaders, and a corporate consultant and change maker/ Aidan McCullen’s speciality is to help people and organization see the blind spots that prevent their growth, and their transformation.Aidan says “you cannot innovate unless you develop a mindset of permanent reinvention. A mindset that fosters psychological safety, that celebrates mistakes and looks at change as the most natural, inevitable thing in life”. This episode is dense with wisdom, best practices, and methodologies that will help you transform yourself and your business to meet the challenges of an increasingly VUCA world.You will enjoy listening to this interview with Aidan McCullen because he’s a superb storyteller and stories, as you certainly know, speak to the brain and the heart of people.Enjoy!
#48: Bring humanity back to business. With Janelle Estes, Author of User Tested
Jun 9 2022
#48: Bring humanity back to business. With Janelle Estes, Author of User Tested
Today’s podcast is all about bringing humanity back to business!It is about putting customers back into the center of your business model Data alone can’t help you understand and empathize with your customers.” says my guest Janelle Estes, co-author of the newly released book User Tested.“No amount of data will take you inside your customers’’ heads, help you see the world through their eyes, or let you experience what it’s really like to be your customer. Only human insight from real people can do that.”Listening to this episode, you’ll learn tested methodologies to trigger that type of customer feedback that makes your new products, collections, or campaigns in line with their expectations and perhaps beyond them.You’ll hear Janelle share success stories, and a few failures, and as you’ll listen, you’ll figure how your company can start today to finally hear your customers’ voice.THE BOOKUser Tested gives both individual contributors and executives an approachable, pragmatic playbook for stepping beyond standard business metrics and infusing real human insight into every business decision, design, and experience.In this book, you’ll:Learn how businesses became obsessed with data—but disconnected from their customers—and why that’s not sustainableGet the basics about how to capture human insight through user testing, including how to find the right people, ask the right questions, and make sense of and act on all the insights you uncoverDive into a detailed playbook that shares real-world examples of how you can collect and scale human insight across the teams in your organization—from marketing to product, and beyondLearn how to evangelize the power of human insight throughout your organization, so every department can create a culture of customer empathy and share a firsthand understanding of customer needsFind out how companies like Microsoft, AAA Club Alliance, HelloFresh, and Notre Dame’s IDEA Center solidly connect with and elicit meaningful feedback from customers in friendlier, faster, and more direct waysPerfect for any industry, User Tested: How the World's Top Companies Use Human Insight to Create Great Experiences was co-authored by the chief insights officer and the CEO of UserTesting—a SaaS company fundamentally changing the way both B2B and consumer brands find out what real people think and feel. The book reflects the authors’ commitment to helping you position the customer squarely in the center of your business model by weaving their true voices throughout your company’s decision making.
#47 Personal Finance. With Andrew Hallam, Author of "Millionaire Expat"
May 27 2022
#47 Personal Finance. With Andrew Hallam, Author of "Millionaire Expat"
In today’s episode, we had the pleasure of speaking with Andrew Hallam, a financial expert and author of many books of which “The Millionnaire expat”is at the center of our conversation.Yet, you don’t have to be an expat, nor a millionaire to benefit from listening to this podcast, from which you’ll learn, as a starter, that some of the most reputable insurance companies in the world sell retirement plans that will leave you broke. Andrew will tell you who they are, and what you can do to avoid those traps.You’ll also learn that in order to grow your capital over time, you won’t need a complex and time-consuming investment plan.He spends on average 1 hour per year to balance his portfolio of low-cost index fund s and as a result he beat most actively managed funds, that come with astronomic fees.We also touched on the current status of the global markets, and Andrew’s perspective is refreshing and somehow reassuring. There is a lot to learn and enjoy here…..Have a listenMILLIONAIRE EXPATBuild your strongest-ever portfolio from anywhere in the worldNow in its third edition, Millionaire Expat is the world’s most trusted, bestselling guide for expat investors.  It shows readers how to protect themselves from financial sharks and build effective portfolios that maximize profits and tax efficiency. This updated guide includes model portfolios of ETFs or index funds.  It recommends subtle differences for investors based on nationality, while explaining why all-in-one portfolio funds are even simpler and more profitable than individual ETFs.  Millionaire Expat also provides investment models for socially responsible funds.Best of all, this book is specific.  Author Andrew Hallam doesn’t just offer theory.  He shows you exactly what to buy and where to buy it from.  He explains how much you should sell each year, upon retirement, and discusses repatriation: showing how different countries deal with the taxation of portfolios that were built abroad. And if you’re looking for a hands-free approach, Millionaire Expat offers something for you as well:  lists of roboadvisors and full-service financial firms that offer guidance and build portfolios of ETFs and index funds.But what if you started investing late and can’t afford to retire? In that case, Andrew Hallam has you covered.  He profiles several low-cost countries that are popular with expats.  He explains what countries are great for Global Nomads and for retirees looking for tax breaks, safety, solid health care systems and a low-cost, enjoyable standard of living.Millionaire Expat (3rd edition) is an entertaining guide, showing readers how to maximize their money and their life satisfaction based on simple, smart investing and their choice of retirement destination.Author Andrew Hallam was a high school teacher who built a million-dollar portfolio―on a teacher's salary. He knows how everyday people can achieve success in the market. In Millionaire Expat, he tailors his best advice to the unique needs of those living overseas to give you the targeted, real-world guidance you need.SHOW LESS
#41 HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR COMMUNICATION SIMPLY USING YOUR OWN VOICE
Mar 17 2022
#41 HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR COMMUNICATION SIMPLY USING YOUR OWN VOICE
Our guest, Kelly Khan, is a professional soprano singer. She takes us through her daily singing exercises. Breathing & diction are core and benefit non singers.Why is improving one's voice valuable to all of us?Why are singing techniques useful for non singers?How to exercise and train our voice every day?Why can't we hear our own real voice?Why can't we trust our own ears?What do we need to know about our vocal chords?In this episode of Lux & Friends, Kelly explains to us how training our voice is not only fundamental for singers but also for non singers. Improving one's voice not only helps build our self-confidence but also strengthens our breathing and our posture. Singing is Kelly's passion; as a child she was singing in a church choir before deciding to make it her profession and go through the academic studies. She spends 3 hours a day singing but also exercising diction in a variety of languages, French, Italian, Russian. French remains her favourite and most challenging language as it allows her to best 'gather' her voice. She sings for us an extract of Debussy and also shows us how to deeply breathe, warm up and cool down our voice. Daily exercises include humming, ice chewing and lip trails. She still practices the techniques taught by Nino Tagliareni 'Cantar Parlando' or 'Singing when Talking'. Our voice is our most powerful tool to communicate our message clearly. Let's use it. Let's exercise!
#40: WHAT IS IT GOING TO TAKE TO WIN THE BATTLE OF CONTENT?
Mar 10 2022
#40: WHAT IS IT GOING TO TAKE TO WIN THE BATTLE OF CONTENT?
WHAT IS IT GOING TO TAKE TO WIN THE BATTLE OF CONTENT?You want to know the answers to key questions:Who will win the fierce battle of content? Which brands will be the kinds of content? What is too much content kills content? What can be defined as innovative content?Our guest, Julien Lévy, was head of global brand & digital communication at Firmenich. Now a brand strategic advisor, he gives us his tips to win the content battle.In this episode of Lux & Friends, Julien gives us 4 key tips: 1. Be more interesting than interested, the audience should learn something 2. Be authentic, he says 'there is nothing more beautiful than reality'. Brands have to tell us a story while showing their humanity, even their own imperfection.3. Talk about values, don't oversell. 4. Surprise and yet be consistent with the brand DNA. The ‘Naturals Together’ campaign he designed, art directed and produced for Firmenich, took perfumers all around the world to the field to meet the farmers growing ingredients, with no acting, just being 'natural'. He picks 2 brands, AirBnN and Red bull for brand communication quality. Constant change and AI is the rule of the game and pushes for better creative content. He has 3 heroes; Homère, the first storyteller tackling the challenge of being a human; Steve Jobs, for having understood the idea of the higher purpose and his wife, both a nurse and mother. In conclusion, he is quite optimistic about the future. Great content is ahead of us.
EP. #38: CLIENT RELATIONSHIP with author and psychotherapist Paul Cowan
May 5 2021
EP. #38: CLIENT RELATIONSHIP with author and psychotherapist Paul Cowan
The subject of today’s podcast is the importance of building strong and meaningful relationships at work and in life.Easier said than done, you may say, for human beings are complex machines and all wired differently.There is always a Problem A and a Problem B in every relationship, says my guest of today Paul Cowan, the author of the book “ “Connecting with Clients: For stronger, more rewarding and longer-lasting client relationships”Problem A is the task at hand, the very issue or subject which needs to be addressed with a particular client whereas Problem B is the relationship or even better, the client’s experience of the relationship.To focus entirely on problem A, on the delivery of a product or a service,on the output neglecting to invest time and resources in the relationship so as to enhance the customer experience of the delivery, is a mistake.And relationship is such a dynamic concept which first and foremost requires commitment and an understanding of what makes human beings connect and trust each other.Paul Cowan is a psychotherapist,  and also a successful entrepreneur in the fields of marketing and advertising. He runs CRS Customer Relationship Consultancy, a global firm which helps businesses strengthen the relationships with their clientele, and in the incredibly informative and inspiring interview that follows you will learn strategies that will help you grow your business, and also principles like the Ego State, the Jahary window, like Already Listening that will make you think about the way you and other people make decisions and communicate.And then you’ll be inspired to nurture and grow your relationships with your clients, stakeholders, and the people around you.
EP. #35 Business Transformation, with futurist and best-selling author Peter Fisk
Apr 11 2021
EP. #35 Business Transformation, with futurist and best-selling author Peter Fisk
The topic of today’s podcast is Business Transformation, a trip into the future with one of the world’s leading futurists, Peter Fisk.Corporate leaders, says Peter, spend way too much time thinking about the past, looking at past performance, trying to replicate what made their company successful forgetting that the future is complex, unpredictable, fast coming, and there to be created.What if they’d choose to spend their time imagining, inventing their future instead?In this interview, Peter and I will discuss the content of his latest book titled Business Recoded: Have the Courage to Create a Better Future for Yourself and Your Business, which is a comprehensive guide to business transformation full of data, case histories, and an array of 7 shifts, and 49 codes you can use to transform your business and make it relevant for years to come.From embracing megatrends, like an Aging world, Booming asia, Cognitive technologies, Dense living, and Eco-renewal, to understanding the strategic role network businesses do play in today’s economy, this interview will provide you with knowledge and inspiration.You will hear stories of courageous leaders who disrupted entire industries, and by getting to know their journey, you will discover not only the strategies which made them succeed, but also the traits of their leadership…..and because the world has changed, and is still changing so fast, so does leadership.My guest Peter Fisk is also the author of many more best sell”ing books such as: “Gamechangers” Marketing Genius“ “People Planet Profit”, ”Customer Genius“,  “Business “Genius “Creative Genius”.He is an expert consultant to Fortune 500 Companies in four continents, and a speaker with the rare ability to make his audience see a future full of opportunities, which may not necessarily resemble their past.
EP. #34 How to sell a business and get the most out of it. With John Warrillow
Apr 7 2021
EP. #34 How to sell a business and get the most out of it. With John Warrillow
The topic of today’s podcast is HOW TO SELL A BUSINESS, AND GET THE MOST OUT OF IT so, if you’re a business owner, an entrepreneur, or if you’re planning to start a business sooner than later, you don’t want to miss the precious advise my guest John Warrillow, the author of the newly released book which we will discuss today, titled The Art of Selling Your Business will share in this comprehensive interview.But if you’re an employee, and entrepreneurship is not in your agenda, you may find value in this episode too.You see, businesses are creatures, and as such they evolve constantly, they go through ups and downs, and they change hands.Understanding the various life cycles of a business, including the ones that may lead to a change of ownership, can help you gain a wider understanding of your industry, of the economy as a whole, and plan your future accordingly.My guest  John Warrillow is the founder of The Value Builder System, a software tool for building the value of a company used by thousands of businesses worldwide. John is also the author of the best-selling books Built to Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You which was recognized by both Fortune and Inc. as one of the best business books of 2011 and of The Automatic Customer: Creating a Subscription Business in Any Industry. John is the  host of Built to Sell Radio, ranked by Forbes as one of the world’s 10 best podcasts for business owners and a speaker whose engaging style and the array of case histories will entertain you, inform you, and make you think…….