More than enough. Abundance over need. Excess beyond necessity. What does luxury mean to you?

The definition wears differently on every member of every tribe around the globe throughout history. The concept, however, is universal at its very core.

For some, the line between necessity and luxury might be drawn by a superyacht, a vacation home, or an exclusive designer purchase. For others, the line runs just above food, clothing, and shelter. The range embraces enormous reach.

Luxury, in terms of the marketplace, embraces a quartet of qualities: expertise, focus, history, and availability. Top brands display all four:

  • Brands standing tall in the luxury market display a high level of craftsmanship. Many can make a handbag, build a car, or paint a picture. Few can craft a Birkin, build a Lamborghini, or paint a Sistine Chapel.
  • BrandĀ focus is strong. Think Hermes and scarves, Feadship and yachts, Patek Philippe and watches, Rolls Royce and automobiles, George Nakashima and furniture.
  • The brand story is engaging. Tracing the history back to origins, from early stages of development to success, brands stand proudly on their reputation. Whether over centuries or just a few years, Gagganau appliances, Towle silversmiths, and Louis Vuitton luggage have centuries of stories, while Apple,
  • Availability of the brand products is key. Often made rare through limited production, either because of limitations in hand craftsmanship, precious materials, or choice, the products have a high hurdle in front of ownership.

Luxury, in terms of lifestyle, draws a wider circle. Reaching from the middle of oceans to the ends of the earth, clients are more intrepid than ever before. Interest is increasing for exploration of remote destinations with unique flora and fauna. Independence is big, with technology offering solutions to accommodate independent, off-grid adventure.

Understanding the connection between luxury and sustainability, many important new brands have built a strong following through support of non-profit groups protecting various environments, from art and architecture to oceans, islands, and rainforests.