The posh handbag maker Louis Vuitton just launched a new production site in Texas on this Thursday, and President Donald Trump attended the opening of the same. Drawing the French luxury powerhouse into the US leader’s job-creation pitch as he gears up for next year’s re-election campaign.
The event presented a rare chance for meeting between Trump and a foreign business leader Bernard Arnault (head of LVMH) conglomerate that owns the leather goods brand, also attended the event at the “Rochambeau Ranch” near Dallas.
“We proudly celebrate the opening of the brand new Louis Vuitton — a name I know very well. Cost me a lot of money over the years,” the US president said, applauding their $50 million investment.
“This investment in job creation reflects the strengths of our US business, which continues to grow,” said Arnault, whom Forbes magazine has ranked as the third-richest person in the world.
“I always believed in the fact that America is a land of opportunity,” he said.
Rochambeau Ranch, near the small city of Alvarado, is named for the general who led French troops alongside the 13 colonies in the American Revolution.
Within five years they are expected to hire about five million skilled workers, according to Arnault.
In January 2017, the high profile French business leader Arnault met with Trump and suggested that he would consider expanding Louis Vuitton in the United States.
American market generates a quarter of LVMH’s sale overall, and it already has two US production sites in California for Louis Vuitton, whose handbags can cost thousands of dollars.
The company said that the workers that half the workers that are hired have little to no experience in leathercraft, and receive intensive in-house training before being allowed to cut or sew.
The brand first opened in Asnieres, France in 1859. Overall, the LVMH group and its 70 brands saw a record-breaking 2018, with 46 billion euros ($51 billion) in profits.
Trump, who is fending off an impeachment inquiry, is seeking to mobilise supporters at a campaign rally nearby in Dallas Thursday night.