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Lelli Kelly, the success of an idea
Rome (Ign) - ''Where did the idea come from? From the consideration that in the footwear market, in Italy and Europe, there was no brand dedicated to girls. Shoes for young children were strictly unisex. So the idea that my wife Mariella and I had was that of trying to divide the market not only in function of age''.
And the idea of Attilio Attilieni, chairman of Lelli Kelly, was clearly a good one, excellent in fact. Since 1992, when together with his wife Mariella, he was the first to launch the fashion of footwear for young girls, his company has achieved an annual turnover of over €60 million, increasingly realised on foreign markets, which now represent a third of total turnover. We asked him what market analysis he carried out before launching the Lelli Kelly brand.
"No analysis in particular," he replied. "My family had been working in the sector of footwear for children for decades, and so we knew the market well. We knew that new opportunities could be opened up by introducing shoes dedicated exclusively to girls, which they would like and want to wear. The name itself, Lelli Kelly, was thought up in the family. I asked my son, who at the time was six, what his girl school friends thought would be an attractive name. He came up with the idea of Kelly Kelly, which was then changed to Lelli Kelly".
So you focused on a design specifically dedicated to a segment of the market?
"Yes, that's right. But that's not all. Above all we make excellent quality shoes. Our products are among the best on the market. They are anti-transpirant, thanks to a patented technique which we perfected in our facilities, and also respect the strictest regulations in terms of plastic materials and colourings. Moreover, our shoes have a distinctive style, and are always recognisable: unique, in a word. And equally unique are the models, personally designed by my wife".
The key to your success was thus combining design and quality. What about the commercial aspects?
"Let's say then, that the key was design, quality and marketing. We started out in 1992 with a simple slipper shaped like a dolly. Then we came out with the first models of gym shoes for girls. In 1993 we decided to invest in advertising and already that winter sales began to grow at exceptional rates. 1994 was the boom year, and we also began to look towards foreign markets".
What markets did you focus on?
"We made our first moves towards Spain and Germany in 1996. Then, gradually, we built up a network of distribution and agents able to ensure increasing market shares. Since 2002 we have also invested in advertising on foreign markets, and this has continued to bring results. This year, for the first time we have got to the point where we have more points of sale abroad than in Italy. We now have a stable presence in Germany, with over 500 points of sale, in Spain, France, the United Kingdom, the United States and the Netherlands, not to mention Thailand, Singapore, and Hong Kong".
And what markets will you be looking to in the future?
"We are also about to move onto Scandinavian countries. And then we will look even further afield. Our constant aim is to develop and improve the quality of our product. And to export wherever the aesthetic philosophy of a brand, which has been so successful here in Italy, may be appreciated. I'm convinced that there is always room for business initiatives which are able to respond to consumer demand".
Lelli Kelly spa
Via dei Bocchi, 233
55013 Lammari (LU)