‘I believe that we all need some luxury in our lives – something that we can dream of and desire, and one day, be able to buy for ourselves or as a treat for someone we hold dear,’ says Thomas Møller, CEO of Group 88, the Copenhagen-based company known for representing the world’s most luxurious brands and celebrating the finer things in life.
Group 88 has been bringing designer luxury to Scandinavian lives for more than a quarter of a century; the company opened its first franchise – a Gucci store – in the early 1980s and has not looked back since. This wealth of experience has helped to cement the company’s reputation and ensure its longevity.
‘We work within a niche business, which ensures a high level of specialised knowledge across the entire organisation,’ Møller explains of the company’s enduring success. ‘We keep learning from our new brands and market demands, but with almost 30 years in the business we also have a strong backlist to pull from.’
The group works with a selection of the world’s most acclaimed luxury leather accessories brands and, whether you’re searching for a classic Mulberry Bayswater tote bag or a Burberry backpack, you will likely find yourself in a Group 88-affiliated boutique. Bottega Veneta and Balenciaga are just two of the other brands it represents and the company has now invested in more than 20 franchise stores, occupying some of the most sought-after city centre locations in Copenhagen, Stockholm and Oslo.
‘Location is everything when working with retail brands of the sort that we represent,’ Møller notes. ‘The space itself must live up to a long list of demands, but we also look into who else is represented in the area, and that it’s a place where locals and tourists will pass by when strolling around the city.’
Despite the tougher economic times of recent years, Group 88 has experienced continual growth and expansion. Møller credits the luxury fashion brands themselves for helping contribute to the group’s growth. ‘I have to mention the outstanding quality you get when buying from luxury brands and the amazing heritage and history which all our brands hold.’ Even so, it is the group’s ethos of professionalism, teamwork and respect, complemented by responsiveness and efficiency, which have been crucial to its endurance in a changeable market.
Another secret of the group’s success is its status as a family business. Thomas Møller and his brother Marcus, who is now the company’s chief commercial officer, ‘basically grew up in the office where we are located today,’ Møller explains. ‘We heard about the business when it was discussed at the dinner table and we were involved from early on – starting on the shop floor, opening the door and getting to see customers and experience how they were shopping. This kind of insight has been invaluable and was only possible due to the fact that we are a family business.’
It’s also the aspect of the business, and of his role, that Møller enjoys the most. He is understandably proud that he has been able to help his family business grow and has been able to share this success with his brother and other members of the team who have, in many cases, been working with the company for decades. This emphasis on people lies at the heart of the business and the group prides itself on its careful selection of workforce members, ensuring that relationships between staff, brands and customers are as positive as possible.
Outside of work, Møller likes to escape the city and enjoy some quality family time away from the business. ‘I work in the city centre, so at weekends I like to get out and do something completely different,’ he explains. ‘I also live close to the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, which is not only an amazing museum, but also is placed in spectacular scenery. I like to take my family there and explore the art and watch the sea.’
The group recently opened three new stores in Copenhagen: Balenciaga, Saint Laurent and Loewe. And there’s no sign of this expansion slowing any time soon. ‘Right now I’m excited about growing the business as it is,’ Møller explains. ‘Making sure all the stores get the best start possible and making them the go-to destination when luxury shopping in Copenhagen.