Italian Scientists and Scholars of North America Foundation
Home > USA > Spotlight
Valleverde, fashion and comfort
Rome - (Ign) - The scene is Coriano, a small town half-hidden between the hills along the Romagna Riviera, between Riccione and Rimini, towards the end of the 1960s. A young man full of initiative presented himself at a small shoemaking factory, after answering an advertisement for the post of head of administration. He was taken on and thus learnt the craft of making footwear. And he learnt it so well that in 1970 he decided to set up his own company. This is the story of an entrepreneur, Armando Arcangeli, who has never been lacking in imagination or courage, and of his company, Valleverde, one of Italy's most important in the footwear sector. The characteristics of its products - now available on markets all over the world - are however entirely unique: fashionable footwear, of high quality, but above all comfortable, perhaps like no other.
It was with this idea that Arcangeli started out 35 years ago: to bring together comfort and fashion. The concept, initially restricted to that of women's footwear, was immediately welcomed by the market. Then came marketing and advertising campaigns, the launch of a line of footwear for men in 1983, and for children in 1989, with a product range which has grown from the initial 150 models to over 2000 today. Today, Valleverde sells over 3 million pairs of shoes a year, through a network of 2300 stores spread throughout the world, 250 of which are a single brand stores, with a turnover of one over âŹ 100 million, with 300 direct employees and over 2000 in the extensive network of related businesses.
Mr Arcangeli, what is the key to your success?
"A great deal of research and development, and studies aimed at trying to understand where the border lies between the needs of well-being and those of fashion. Does fashion require pointed toes and high heels? We have to understand the limit beyond which well-being is compromised, and never cross this line. Our original working approach started with considerations of foot health, not stylistic aspects. We started with the idea of making shoes that make you feel if you were walking barefoot in a meadow. Then we combined all this with stylistic research, and the results proved us right. I don't think there are many companies in Italy and the rest of the world in which you will find chiropodists and specialists in angiology and orthopaedics, working side by side with designers and technicians of leather working and pattern cutting".
When did you start to look to foreign markets?
"Right from the beginning we realised the need to widen our horizons. We also invested a great deal on certain markets that had significant potential for profitability, but the recent economic slump, after the attack on the Twin Towers, forced us to slow down. Now signals of recovery can be seen in various areas, and we intend to make progress in this improved scenario to develop our presence abroad".
Which markets are you most interested in?
"Above all central Europe, Germany, Switzerland and Austria, countries in which we have been present for many years. Then Asia, including China, where our products have met with considerable success. And, naturally, the United States, where at present we are working in seven large stores and where we hope to grow significantly in coming years".
What are your strategies for the future?
"Two aspects are a priority. First of all, to strengthen the company and aim to be listed on the stock market, which will allow us to find the resources necessary for the realisation of important investments on foreign markets, above all the US. Secondly, to develop a network of single brand stores: two thirds of our turnover comes from these retail outlets, which also allow us to respond positively to the loyalty which our customers have always shown towards our products".
via Piane, 78
47853 CORIANO (Rimini)