Jean Paul Gaultier is going all in on the Less is More strategy - one of the bravest and smartest decisions anyone in business can make.
Business and finance types - executives, owners, investors, analysts - often talk about Less is More as a strategy. They talk specialization. Niches. Verticals.
But as much as they talk about them and the value they bring, they rarely act on them. Why? Because, by definition, 'less is more' is self-limiting. It's exclusionary.
It's a decision and a commitment to focus on a few things - sometimes a very few things - in which you and your business excel. It's putting your name and skills and reputation on the line, saying that you can create global market success within parameters others would find stifling and impossible.
It's easy to expand. Locations. Products. Services. More is better. The more the merrier. More, more, more.
Yet, look, on the other hand, at Apple. Even as it expands its products and services, it imposes limitations on itself that other technology companies would never consider. That's because Steve Jobs was brave, too, even though for different reasons than Gaultier.
M. Gautier decided that he no longer wanted - nor needed - the rough and tumble world of creating a complete fashion line every six months. That the fashion industry - particularly on the luxury side - had changed to such a degree that it simply wasn't worth it to him any longer.
In fact, because more really is more, the time and the pressures involved led him to realize that he wasn't being as creative as he wanted to and could be. Not within the strictures of the fashion year.
So he's out. What will he do instead?
That's the secret to making Less is More work. The challenge becomes to unrelentingly look for, find or create means of expanding opportunities within those self-imposed walls.
That's why the Apple Store works. And that's why Gaultier has nothing to worry about.
By making himself particularly exclusive in that oh-so-exclusive world of haute couture, he will undoubtedly find the number of his high end, personalized clients will grow. After all, they'll want - and want to show that they have - what others can't have.
At the same time, he will build out his mass market offerings in fragrances and, it's rumored, makeup and skin care - all high margin and highly aspirational. "Maybe one day haute couture," they'll think. "Maybe one day."
And the profits will roll in.
It takes a particular kind of bravery - and brilliance - to adopt and stick to Less is More. That's why so few ever do. And that's why the opportunities within that strategy are and remain exquisite.