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"Guru", an Italian miracle
Rome - (Adnkronos Multimedia) - "You want to know why I decided to become an entrepreneur at the age of 22? Because I wanted to stand on my own two feet. Clothes are in my DNA. It's a family tradition. And I wanted to have a go too".
So Matteo Cambi, now only 28, tried. And succeeded, founding in his home city, Parma, Jam Session srl, the name behind the Guru brand, famous for its T-shirts and sweatshirts with the daisy logo, painted somewhat haphazardly, as if by a child. Casual - chic, it has been defined. His intuition was right, because since 1999, when he started, Jam Session's turnover has gone from zero to € 90 million.
What was your original idea?
"When I started this adventure in 1999, the world of clothing was going through a transition period. The era of shirts and polo shirts was coming to an end, and even the high end of the market wanted T-shirts and sweatshirts, items which were easier to wear, but without compromising on quality. That's where I started, offering the market something that had not existed previously".
Today the Guru brand is distributed over most of Europe. What has been your development strategy?
"We adopted an absolutely traditional strategy, proceeding very carefully, without taking any risks. We started in Italy, immediately trying to place our products in a well-defined sector of the market, and working on a precise image. Then, once we had built solid foundations in our own country, we turned to those European markets which offered us potential for development. We launched the brand in Germany, France, Holland and Spain, always trying to aim at a specific sector of the market and a precise product image. For example, in Spain we chose a testimonial who gave us this precise point of reference, Fernando Alonso, the Formula 1 driver".
The figures of Jam Session's growth are incredible: 200,000 T-shirts produced in 2001, 3 million in 2003; a turnover of just over €1 million in 2001, over 70 million in 2004 and forecasts of 90 million for this year. How have you dealt with such growth?
"It hasn't been easy managing these changes. We have had to build an efficient management team quickly. But we have managed to deal with the situation, bringing in the help of important professional resources from outside, a director-general with solid experience, Patrick Nebiolo, and a sales director with the necessary background, Marco Bacà. The entry into the company of my father and mother, who have always worked in the textiles and clothing industry, was also decisive".
What is your presence on foreign markets today?
"Our expansion into Europe began in 2003. We are present on all the main markets of the continent: we are in 300 shops in France, 250 in Germany, 180 in Holland, and 100 in Greece. We also have an important position in Crocus Mall and Bosco dei Ciliegi, two of Russia's largest distribution companies. Now we are also moving towards Japan and the United States, even if the current euro/dollar exchange rate makes it difficult to break into this market".
And where will you go in the future? What will you offer the market?
"The challenge is China and India. These countries are destined to become the largest markets in the world and we want to be the first there, to present a style of clothing that breaks away from tradition. What will we propose? Already today, in addition to the line of T-shirts and sweatshirts, we have an extremely wide range of products, also dedicated to teenagers and children, to provide a total look, and soon we will also be offering fashion accessories".
Jam Session srl
Via Mercalli, 8/A