Q. Tell us the strategy you've been most proud of since you took over as CEO?
A. It's the clear choice to go up-market with the brand. Behind the decision, we need to leave aside some of the clients who have been with us before. So we lost a lot of clients. We had lots of logo bags at lower prices that were dependent on those clients. We completely [dropped] the logo bags. Now we don't sell any logo bags. We were, however, able to appeal to super high-end and upscale clients that we'd like to have. [Our clientele] was bit older and less sophisticated before. I'm proud of it because I know that it has not been easy. It definitely took some courage to do.
Q. Who inspires you?
A. The one person who has been a fantastic guide to me was Yves Carcelle, former president of Louis Vuitton, whom I worked with for six years. I'm very lucky to remain motivated and have such a good teacher in my life - waking up every day and being obsessed about what I do. I'm obsessed about being good enough and improving.
Q. How far do you plan ahead for the brand's strategies?
A. We've celebrated our 90th anniversary but we are already thinking about our 100th anniversary. That's the way we are built, that's the way I incentivise my people to be - not to be too happy too long. It's the secret to success. We have a three-year plan for now, and we try to stick to it. It's difficult to foresee the future especially in this world of uncertainties and difficulties. So you need to keep a long-term view and strategy but you also need to be flexible to adapt to [new] situations because the world is not always [perfect] as you'd like to think it is.
Q. Fendi has been actively expanding into new product offerings. How do you prevent brand dilution?
A. People today don't just buy products, they want to buy lifestyle. I think proposing lifestyle is part of our duty as CEO and creative director. Therefore, you offer your customers a full experience. Our hotel in Florence and Zuma restaurant here in Rome are part of us being a luxury brand. We are also sophisticated in that type of approach with Fendi Casa. We try to appeal to the more sophisticated clients. We just do a few things but very sophisticated and very high-end. You can't just do many things in order to get money. We have a lot of offers but we also say a lot of 'no's. For example, the collaboration with Zuma was made possible because they have the same vision as us. We are both very selective and want to do things well.
Q. Why did Fendi move the headquarters to Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana last year?
A. It's a monumental building here in Rome. Our brand ties closely to Rome. Also, the architecture is simple yet very classy, which fits perfectly with our DNA. It's also a practical decision. Before, our headquarters were split into two but now we are able to unite under one roof. More than 500 people now work at the new office including our artisans for the atelier.
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