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Hermès Hosts 'Family Reunion' for U.S. Employees

Company closed all 24 U.S. stores for three days so that all 515 staffers could be flown into the event.

ONE BIG HAPPY LUXURY FAMILY: Hermès’ U.S. employees — all 515 of them — gathered last weekend at the Hyatt Regency in Princeton, N.J., for the company’s first “family reunion.” Hermès closed all its 24 U.S. stores for three days — Sunday, Monday and Tuesday — so that staffers could be flown into the event. The stores reopened on Wednesday. “I thought it would be a great experience to bring all the family members together,” said Robert Chavez, president and chief executive officer of Hermès USA. “It’s about creating special bonds.” Not to mention the high motivational factor: a game of Hermès-style “Family Feud,” while Kermit Oliver, a postman and artist in Waco, Tex., who paints scarves for Hermès, spoke about his work and where he gets his inspiration. There was a DIY assignment: Every employee was asked to decorate a white 90-inch-by-90-inch silk Hermès scarf. When all 515 scarves were displayed, Chavez said, “I wouldn’t be surprised if some went into production.” Bertrand Puech, who chairs the main Hermès family holding company, and his wife, Martine, attended a gala dinner and recognition ceremony for top salespeople. Chavez declined to disclose the cost of the weekend, but said it was worth every penny. “Hermès is committed to quality. How do we continue to set ourselves apart as a company? We thought, ‘Let’s make that human connection.’” Chavez hopes to make the family reunion a tri-annual event.

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