Workin' It: Sara Huneke (MBA 2014) on Berluti

Workin' It is a weekly series where we ask RLG members about their various jobs, internships, and projects in the retail and luxury goods industries.  First up, we ask Sara Huneke about her internship with Berluti.


You have one of our favorite backgrounds of anyone in the RLG.  Tell us a little bit about what you were doing before you came to CBS.

I'm a recovering politico. Prior to CBS, I worked at a think tank in Washington, DC, the American Enterprise Institute, where I did public affairs and government relations. In those roles, I witnessed the nitty gritty of policy formulation from an inside the Beltway perspective. 

Tell us a little bit about Berluti.

Berluti is an LVMH men's brand. Traditionally known for exceptional shoes and leather goods, Berluti has recently expanded into Ready to Wear under the creative direction of Alessandro Sartori. The Berluti gentleman is rakish, and a bit irreverent, with a taste for the finest quality. 

What are you doing as an intern?

I've been able to do a little bit of everything from client marketing and retail operations to merchandising. It's an exciting time for the brand. It has expanded from one retail location in the US to four in the last year, so I've gained exposure to all that goes into getting a store up and running. In fact, the new Berluti Flagship Maison just opened at the beginning of February on Madison Avenue. It's a must-visit if you ask me!

You’ve interned previously at Hermès and at The Jones Group – how has the experience at Berluti been different?

The main difference between my experiences at Hermès and The Jones Group is that Berluti has a very entrepreneurial, start-up feel. While it is owned by LVMH, the brand is run by a small team. This is what has made the internship so rewarding because I've been involved in every aspect of the brand and been able to interact with all levels of the organization both in the US and in Paris. It's also been nice to have the experience of working for a brand that is rapidly growing versus a more established player. 

What’s your favorite thing you’ve worked on so far?  What is your favorite thing you’ve learned?

I enjoyed working on the Grand Opening event for the new Maison as well as a smaller, private client event. It is great to see the interactions between the brand and the clients. I've learned so much, but two things stand out. One, especially in luxury, is the importance of in-depth client knowledge.  Second, the value that an MBA can add in the retail industry. Because of my skills and experience, I was able to be thrown right in and contribute to Berluti's expansion.