A lawyer by profession and a fashionista by vocation, Inmaculada Pérez Castellanos may be one of the people who has done the most for the world of fashion and luxury in the city of Madrid in recent decades. The main international firms seek her out when they decide to launch their brands in Spain. Cuca, as her closest friends know her, is an accomplished solution-finder. She knows everything about the what, the who, the how and, above all, the where.
Inmaculada is an inspirational woman. Her tone of voice and presence give off an aura of confidence acquired after years of experience in a world as complex as that of luxury firms.
What is Madrid Luxury District for you?
For years I have had a dream that these great brands, which I have an excellent relationship with, join forces. I imagined a new landscape in which the area around Calle José Ortega y Gasset enjoyed a renaissance as a first class international destination. This dream has come true in a city project in which the public administration is also involved.
You are a trained lawyer. How did you get into something so apparently different as the world of luxury?
I have always been passionate about business, because my father and my grandfather, my two mentors, had an antiques shop and I spent a lot of time there. After a few years working as a lawyer in a multinational I found myself at a pivotal time in my life, in which I needed something different. I did not really know what to do, so I went shopping. That same day I got my first client for the office. I am a woman of action.
What services do you offer firms?
We assist the brands in all phases of launching a new business, from viability analysis to finding the perfect location or hiring the staff. Management of licenses, contracts and permits in Spain has its own peculiarities and we do all the work involved in that, which allows the brand to concentrate on the product and the launch.
On many occasions, these services are outsourced to large consulting firms. Why do you think the firms come to your office instead of going to a large consultant?
The difference is our knowledge both local and international. We know what the needs of multinationals are and we know exactly how business works in Spain. But, for me, excellence in managing relationships is even more important. We put ourselves in the client’s shoes, we build a relationship of trust with them and we respond to them in a personalized way. We work closely together as we are all on the journey together.
“We put ourselves in the shoes of the client, we create a relationship of trust with them and we provide them with personalized attention, it is a very close collaboration in which we all make the journey together”
Inmaculada Pérez Castellanos
Luckily, it is becoming easier to find women in senior positions but you started 30 years ago, in a world that was completely different. What has your experience been like and how do you think the role of women in the business world has evolved in recent years?
No enterprising person has ever had it easy and I am no exception. However, I believe that women are essential for the world of business and commerce. I have the honour of being part of the Spanish delegation to the Global Summit of Women, the “Davos for Women”, where entrepreneurs, executives, businesswomen and diplomats meet. It is very exciting to see so many powerful women who want to make the world a better place.
The world of luxury has changed significantly in recent years. How do you view the current situation?
There has been a democratization of luxury, which has been made available to a wider public willing to invest in high quality products and design. There has also been a convergence of purchases of luxury and premium products with the influx of international tourists who see shopping as an integral part of their trip. This makes the shops take more care of the surroundings and the service in order to make the experience memorable.
Compared to other destinations, what do you think Madrid offers as a luxury tourist destination?
Themajor international brands are present in Madrid but we also have brands and local shops with a history and prestige which make them an additional attraction. Nor should we forget that Madrid offers first-rate cultural and gastronomic experiences, not to mention the friendliness and openness of its people.