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FRATELLI ROSSETTI, “HOME-MADE” SHOES GO GLOBAL
The history dates back to 1953, the year in which Renzo Rossetti, along with his brother Renato, founded a shoe factory in Parabiago in the Province of Milan. In half a century that entrepreneurial initiative has come a long way: today Fratelli Rossetti shoes can be found in main international shopping areas. Their strength? The ability to keep up with the times while keeping tradition alive, thanks to a successful fusion between craftsmanship and technology. We ask the company’s current number one, Renzo Rossetti, if today, in a global market that changes from year to year, the Italian company can still gain market share despite fierce competition from those who trade mainly on their prices.
Mr. Rossetti, how difficult would you say it is to convey to your consumers that the handcrafted shoes that you produce are of better value? A value that, naturally, requires appropriate recognition in terms of the sale price.
Indeed, Fratelli Rossetti production has a distinct consumer target, that is international, wants the “very best”, that is rarely seduced by passing trends and instead looks for products that exude class and sophistication. These are consumers that not only appreciate the fit, but also the shape, the quality of the leather and accessories, the workmanship and finish. The same loyal consumers will continue to enjoy the privilege of wearing Rossetti and act as our direct referees, ensuring the continued diffusion of the brand.
One of your virtues is the ability to carry out all the manufacturing stages within Parabiago. Is the quality assurance down to the experience of the workers or is there a higher level of control, managed by staff who are especially dedicated to monitoring?
Naturally there is direct control over all operational areas. This combines the experience and professionalism of our craftsmen, guaranteeing excellence in the final product. I like to say that even the company walls know how to make shoes ... This is the main advantage of retaining all the production processes within, without decentralising anything. It holds onto expertise without having to share it.
Let’s talk about the history. The company has been around for over 50 years. How has the footwear industry changed in half a century? The current post-industrial phase is marked by the increasing use of outsourcing production, but Fratelli Rossetti, which completes 100% of the manufacture in-house, contrasts this. How can we continue to swim against the tide, while staying competitive?
Although in the last 50 years there have been many changes, we have always had a focus: our consumers have remained loyal to a high-quality product, which they can trust and go back to time and time again. That is why we chose to focus on excellence and internally-managed production. This translates into an efficient organisation, and in the end, good value for money.
Stock markets around the world have been hit by the current financial storm, despite a recent pick-up: does the risk have a depressive effect on consumption in Western economies? Do you consider it possible that a gradual shift of sales areas in emerging economies will absorb the impact of a possible demand crisis in more mature economies?
Of course, new markets have offset the slowdown of mature markets, and represent for us a platform for development. Recently we also signed an agreement with the company Fairton to open 17 single-brand outlets in China. However Europe remains a reference point for us, which we observe with confidence: to demonstrate that, in a month’s time we will open a new store at the heart of the current crisis, in London.
How much do you think export will affect turnover expected late 2008 for a company present in 350 outlets worldwide, which include single-brand, multi-brand and shop-in-shops? Which are your main export markets? Which countries offer the best prospects, today and in the future?
The export turnover affects around 60%, with a turnover that at the end of 2008 was 70 million Euro. Our main markets are Europe and the United States, but we still want to grow a lot, strengthening our market presence particularly in Russia, the United Arab Emirates, China and India.
With what strategies will you guard the international markets?
We operate with direct distribution in the West and through distributors or franchisers in the East. Distribution is coordinated from Italy and managed locally by licensed dealers.