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The king of the ties
Naples - (Adnkronos Multimedia) . "My challenge to the future? It's been the same for many years: to stay in Naples, in this city, where my grandfather opened this small shop in 1914. We Neapolitans grow up with the fear that we will be considered as people who only have mandolins and make pizzas, of mozzarella cheese and the Camorra. But actually I, and many others like me, show that there is also a Naples that produces, that works, that gets up at six in the morning, that manages to be successful on an international level."
Maurizio Marinella is a different business leader from the others. He is the most famous producer of ties all over the world. He can boast that some of his clients are and have been the most powerful men in the world:
from Bill Clinton to George Bush (father and son), from Luchino Visconti to Aristotle Onassis, from Gabriele D'Annunzio to John Fitzgerald Kennedy, from Giovanni Agnelli to Mikhail Gorbachov. A success story that has lasted for ninety years since that 26th June 1914,when Don Eugenio Marinella opened his shop in Riviera di Chiaia in the heart of Naples, given onto Piazza Vittoria. And since then nothing has been changed: the shop is always the same, only 20 square metres, the ties are produced in the same way, using the same method and the same passion for quality and perfection. Don Eugenio was a craftsman, and so was his son Luigi, and the craftsman today is his grandson Maurizio.
Why didn't you choose to open some shops with the name "Marinella" in all the great capitals, like many of the other Italian stylists have done?
"Because I am a craftsman and I wish to remain a craftsman", replies Maurizio Marinella. "I am not interested in large numbers and I would rather keep the tradition alive and fruitful, together with the magic that accompanies it. I have been asked: but if a potential client in New Jersey wanted one of your ties? The answer is simple: he can come to Naples to buy it, or order it by telephone."
How much does a Marinella tie cost?
"Between 80 and 90 euro. Less than many ties produced industrially by some of the great names of Italian and French fashion."
And how many ties do you sell?
"Between 100 and 120 a day. In a year the turnover is about 8 million euro."
A few years ago you were asked to sell your trademark. Why didn't you?
"It was a terrible time for me. Many came forward. First amongst them was HDP, who wished to build up a new Italian luxury name. I was offered 50 million euro, and then they went up to 60 million. Then it became, under an American investment fund, 65 million. It was a very tormented and difficult decision. But at the end I said 'No' to everyone: I am not interested in becoming an industry, it is not my world, I don't know it and I don't want to know it. I open the shop before seven every morning, go and have a coffee with some clients, discuss with them what tie to put on but also some of the important issues of the world. Because some of the most important people in the world have visited this shop."
So, the step towards industry is something you do not want to take. But the step towards a wider international distribution?
"I have created some possibilities in this area. Today we have some sales outlets in New York, in London and Japan. But the quantity remains what our small outfit, made up in all of sixteen people, can produce. On the other hand we manage to guarantee the quality levels which are perhaps the highest in the world because we have maintained the same way of working as that of my grandfather. And it is thanks to all this that we manage to make absolute quality products at a relatively limited cost.
Because we do it all by ourselves: I personally choose the materials, the designs and patterns, the cut. To add other shops would mean increasing production beyond this threshold after which or the prices have to be increased or the quality reduced. And my clients would be the losers."
Eugenio Marinella snc
Riviera di Chiaia 287