Q. What is your vision for luxury sales online?
A. For luxury brands, in almost all categories, online selling is no longer a question - it is a fact and a requirement for the future. The genuine question is how to do it at the required level of quality. At Frette, we have already developed online sales with great success in North America. As part of the first initiatives, I have decided to upgrade the design, the content and the navigation of our US website; it reopened in April 2015. The objective is to reach within four to five years a significant share of our retail sales online. For the coming years, I do not see a transition happening between brick-and-mortar and e-stores. Everything demonstrates that the two retail channels complement each other, and we have not experienced a loss in sales in our US stores because we are pushing online sales. Online and offline [sales work] together to provide greater services to clients. In fact, most of them shop through both channels.
Q. What's your strategy to revitalise a heritage brand?
A. We have a few priorities, such as to communicate an updated image of Frette to [attract] new generations of customers. Also, we want to rework the product offerings in order to [come up with] the best contemporary designs, better-structured collections and always the best quality. We are also upgrading our distribution channels around the world, especially in key markets where Frette has not fully [tapped] its potential, such as Britain, Germany, Switzerland, Greater China, Southeast Asia and Japan.
Q. When you took over the company, what was the first thing you wanted to see changed?
A. The belief that the success of Frette was [over]. The success of a brand is largely founded on the fact that the group of talents gathered to develop the brand believe with passion in everything they undertake and that great success will come tomorrow. Without this sort of conviction, it is almost impossible to influence your clients, existing and new ones. The sense of delivering the future success requires the right teamwork, good internal communication, and a few simple and clear signals that things are changing.
Q. What has been the single most effective strategy you have implemented in the company so far?
A. The decision to change the approach in Italy - to discontinue the concept of a second line and to refocus our retail distribution to the main Italian cities - has been obvious to me since the very beginning. Even though it was a difficult decision, I had no doubt about the necessity to redesign our [strategy] in the home market. So [I] decided to restructure the presence of Frette with the closing of many stores in secondary cities and with the general upgrading of the ones I wanted to keep. It has already proven to be more [effective] than expected: not only are the Italian operations performing better, but both Italian and international customers have expressed their support to a strategy that was bringing clarity to our brand positioning, strengthening our ability to deliver the right level of service, and focusing on our product development.
Q. What is your definition of luxury?
A. For me and whatever the area, luxury is about creating and fulfilling people's dreams with [exceptional] products or unique services. A luxury brand must have the ambition to always offer the unexpected and the different. In a world where everything is formatted and often repetitive, genuine "luxury" is about inventing objects that will become indispensible to individuals. To me, luxury is about beauty, quality, uniqueness and fantasy.