Chantal Gemayel is a prominent luxury industry figure known for her expertise and high service standards. She is the founder and president of BLACKDRESS L’AGENCE, a leading strategic consultancy specializing in business development, communication, and CSR policies for luxury brands. With her vast experience and established network, she has successfully led BLACKDRESS L’AGENCE to become a reference in the luxury field.
Through her leadership, the agency has expanded its services into new sectors, such as cosmetics, and continues to work with renowned brands in France and internationally. Learn more about Chantal Gemayel and her company through our interview.
Give A Brief Overview Of Your Background And That Of The Company.
I am the Founder and President of BLACKDRESS L’AGENCE, a business promotion, PR, and communication agency that was established in Paris in 2009. After gaining seven years of experience in communication for the luxury industry, I realized my passion for media and communication and gradually shifted my focus to the world of luxury.
I started my career working for the American ELLE magazine after I graduated. I quickly discovered my passion for Media & Communication and gradually focused on the World of Luxury! After that, I was engaged as a marketing manager for a famous watch brand. Then hunt for a Communication and PR position in a company with multiple facets in the fashion and décor industries.
BLACK DRESS L’AGENCE assists Luxury Industry Corporate across EUROPE in developing and implementing their Communication & Marketing Strategies & Campaigns:
- We optimize communication strategies, orient business direction, enhance brand image and visibility,
- We lobby opinion leaders and media targets to increase brand awareness,
- We operate celebrity marketing/endorsement, red carpets, movies product placements,
- Our actions are return driven and benchmarked,
- We tailor a solution to clients’ strategies, creating bespoke content to Clients’ needs,
- We develop digital and print communication tools, outdoor, press, and other media platforms,
- We advise on cross-communication strategies and collaborations between brands from different sectors.
Our client profiles include brands from the watch and jewelry industry, haute couture and fashion, luxury car companies, the beauty field, home décor, accessories, hotels, etc.
In What Ways Do You Hope To Succeed?
Success is a very subjective notion: it’s about achieving one’s own goals. The
measures vary from career, fame, financial gain, and more.
When I set off, I wanted to prove to myself that I could achieve professional worthiness and standing, and I worked hard for that.
When I look back at the shy little girl I was and feel the respect I’ve earned as an independent entrepreneur with my brainchild, BLACK DRESS L’AGENCE, recognized by the most renowned clients of the luxury industry, I humbly feel proud. The crowning achievement of my success is certainly my family and being the happy mother of two amazing girls.
I am conscious of and grateful for all my blessings every day.
With this in mind and the vivid memories of having weathered many storms to reach this point, I feel that I have already succeeded. While I continue to dream of bigger achievements, COVID is a vivid reminder that we all need to balance our ambitions with a good dose of wisdom and calm and measure every step of growth and sustainability.
In Your Opinion, What Is Your Company’s Or Your Greatest Strength?
My self-confidence is certainly my strongest trait, fueled by my family’s daily love, support, and belief. It is why I have built a team that is bonded by the same values of a united family, supporting, complementing, and motivating each other.
Teamwork, open communication, respect, lessons learned, and reward sharing are all values that anchor our daily business lives together.
What Was The Path You Took/your Company Followed To Reach Your Current Position?
Life is about experiences, good or bad, and it teaches you lessons. I had some hard experiences as my family had to emigrate from Lebanon to France because of the war. Coming to a new country, trying to fit in, and trying to find where you belong is not easy for a child. But this taught me to walk my own path.
I have never been in competition with anyone, and I never will be. I don’t compare myself to others; I was the one others used to copy at school, which is still the case (lol). I always did my best to earn what I deserved, no matter the obstacles. If only my current self could give some advice to my younger self.
My uniqueness comes from my legacy. Education, values, and respect are key to me. They come from what I learned since I started working while I was at school, too, as I was at the bottom of the hierarchy.
Challenging myself made me stronger. It’s an eye-opener, forces you to see things differently, and increases your skills to analyze and face situations.
Here’s a funny example: I once found myself in a situation where I had to meet a company team abroad. I woke up at 4 AM to take an early flight and had no knowledge of the area, didn’t speak the language (German), and didn’t have any brief about the people I was going to meet. However, I swallowed my pride, motivated myself, and came back with a signed contract at the end of the day.
What motivated you What Motivated You To Start (Or Lead) This Business? To Start (or lead) This business?
When you have an entrepreneurial spirit, the desire to start your own business is always present. When I was a Communication Manager in a large company, my Manager asked me to manage my subordinates in a way that did not align with my values, so I resigned and started my own business. A few years later, my former employer became my client.
BLACK DRESS L’AGENCE was created because I wanted a business aligned with my vision.
How Would You Describe Your Company’s Culture And Vision?
Being multicultural is a strength. When you combine it with having worked inside companies and understanding their needs to have a return on investment for every budget spent, together with a 360-degree vision, it is what makes my company different.
Tell Us About A Project That Forced You To Be Innovative And Creative.
An influential person recommended me for a communication mission in a field I was totally unaware of car racing.
I had to do comprehensive research before starting to work to understand the codes, the specificities, and the technical aspects and be fully aware of the habits, the clients, and the providers.
It was a challenge, and I didn’t feel secure because I thought this business was out of my reach as I knew nothing about cars or races. After total immersion and a few drives that I actually enjoyed, I am almost a pro now 😉
In this world, you never stop learning; you learn best when challenged out of your comfort zone.
What Are Your Company’s Strategies, And How Do They Stand Unique From Your Competitors?
There is no recipe; every brand has its strengths and projections. As a consultant, our role is, to be honest with the feasibility, propose a workable strategy, and create truly reflective content with the most adapted speech in coherence with the brand’s objectives.
A communication and media partner is here to optimize every action validated by the client, whether it’s marketing, media, events, or Press and Public Relations.
Where Is Your Leadership Going? What Benefits Do Your Clients Get From Your Company In This Competitive World?
As society grows increasingly individualistic and image-driven, we are in danger of forgetting the value of authenticity.
My team and I advise our clients to dare to be different and be true because their clients will only pay for quality assets when it comes to purchasing.
Marketing speeches around brands are there to tell a story. Nevertheless, this story must be in their DNA, not created from nowhere.
Sometimes it is not easy to say no to a client when your expertise taught you that their vision would not match success, but I am always honest when it comes to matching clients’ expectations and reaching goals.
What Are The Services/solutions Or Products Offered By Your Company On Par With The Current Industry Standards? Tell Us Something About Your Upcoming Products Or Services.
BLACK DRESS L’AGENCE has become a reference in the luxury field. Our expertise in the industry, together with a solid reputation for high-standard services and an established network, has led us today to open to new sectors such as cosmetics. We are currently in discussions with a well-known French brand to take over business development as well as communication.
I consider it a part of my mission to leave a positive footprint for the next generations and a better place to live for my children, and this is a strong driving reason for me in business.
It is, therefore, my role and duty as a strategic consultant to guide my clients through the benefits of society caring and sharing and to insist on our clients to create and promote their own CSR policy and to show social care through a charity or an environmental cause depending on their preference.
Connect with Chantal Gemayel on LinkedIn.