Trussardi is a true lifestyle brand – exclusive interview with CEO Tomaso Trussardi
CPP-LUXURY.COM has recently interviewed, exclusively, Mr Tomaso Trussardi, CEO of the family owned Italian eponymous luxury house.
How has did your company perform in 2013? What about the first quarter of 2014? What are your expectations for the rest of 2014?
Despite the uncertainty and the ups and downs of the market, we’ve pleased to announce that our retail sales in 2013 have increased compared to the previous year. We closed 2013 with a 40% increase in sales in our Trussardi boutiques and a 9% increase in sales in our Tru Trussardi stores. Regarding the beginning of 2014, our Trussardi Jeans has done quite well: we closed our Fall/Winter 2014 sales campaign exceeding our budget forecasts and receiving very positive input from our clients. We therefore decided to expand the collection also in terms of dimension so that we can give our customers a greater assortment to choose from. Trussardi will continue to expand in 2014 not only on a retail and franchising level, but also in terms of department stores were we will inaugurate the new Tru Trussardi and Trussardi Jeans concept stores, with an expansion project that will be launched in September 2014.
Which have been your best performing markets? Have you noticed any effects from the turmoil in Russia/Ukraine?
Sales abroad make up 60% of our total sales. Our top markets are Russia and China. We have 10 directly-owned boutiques and 14 franchise stores in Russia and countries of the former Soviet Union. In China we have 50 stores, of which 5 are directly-owned. Our young, casual Tru Trussardi and Trussardi Jeans lines are sold through an ample but selective wholesale network, with over 100 flagship stores in several of the most prestigious shopping destinations in the world. Of course, we know what is happening in Russia and in the Ukraine, but we have fortunately not noticed negative effects on sales. We hope, however, that the situation improves quickly.
Your retail network in China is particularly focused on your diffusion line, Tru Trussardi. Is there a particular reason you opted for this strategy? What are your mid-term plans in China?
Tru Trussardi, which accounts for 35 percent of the Trussardi company’s total business, is sold in the label’s 80 flagships and 70 multibrand stores in the world. It counts Russia, China and Southern Europe as its main markets. With a constant goal to increase the penetration of Tru Trussardi label in the rising markets, the company is in talks new distributors and is revising its strategies in Asia to enter the Asia-Pacific market.
Could we say that Tru Trussardi is positioned as an affordable luxury brand? Tell us more about the positioning of the label.
We define ourselves as a one-brand three-labels compay. The first line, Trussardi, which includes the most iconic elements of Trussardi’s world; the Tru Trussardi line, which has a younger, free and more individualistic spirit, reflecting the lifestyle of contemporary young adults who travel around the globe; and the Trussardi Jeans line, our strongest collection in terms of distribution and general marketing. In the past, Tru Trussardi has always been a diffusion line but we recently felt the necessity to create a specific identity for the label, considering its great potential in international markets. According to international studies, the premium segment, which includes brands like Tru Trussardi, Emporio Armani and Red Valentino, is growing and is supposed to continue growing in both ready-to-wear and accessories categories.
How many stores do you operate directly and how many are franchised? What is your view on franchising / wholesale versus direct operations?
Trussardi is present in nearly 500 department stores and has more than 60 directly-owned boutiques. This widespread distribution network allows us to reach men and women seeking clothes made of fine materials and with effortless elegance. Compared to the wholesale segment, distribution through our boutiques lets us draw the customer into the Trussardi world and transmit our group values, which is more difficult when you have a corner shop in a mall.
You are not present in the Americas. Do you have any plans to expand in these regions?
Trussardi’s collections are not sold in the U.S., but American customers can purchase them at the company’s online store. We hope and want to increase, in the next few years, the penetration of the Tru Trussardi label all around the world, reaching 200 stores.
Trussardi has also diversified successfully with a restaurant and a café in Milan. Do you have plans to expand this lifestyle business internationally?
Trussardi is a lifestyle brand. In fact, the Trussardi world is not just about fashion, but it also involves art, food and design. The food sector is very important for us: the Milanese format of Il Ristorante Trussardi alla Scala, Café Trussardi, and the Lounge works quite well. Therefore, we’re thinking of replicating it abroad, as we have done with fashion. The first destinations are Europe, Germany and Great Britain, and perhaps Russia. What’s more, we’re also creating products in the food sector. Last Christmas we presented Cuvée Trussardi, which was created with Ca’ del Bosco to produce a sparkling wine with our personality.
What percentage of your products are Made in Italy and how important is the Italian origin.
Most of our products are made in Italy. We consider ourselves ambassadors of superb Italian artisan workmanship. In the fashion world, we have over one century of experience and a unique ability to study new techniques and processes for treating and working with leathers and fabrics. Trussardi started out as an artisan workshop that produced and sold luxury leather gloves, which is the most difficult leather accessory to make and that requires sophisticated techniques. This expertise is part of the baggage of our brand. Our Italian origins are essential because Trussardi is a lifestyle brand that represents the concept of Italian identity. For the customer, it is an experience that lets him or her identify with our multifaceted world with a certain taste and an Italian heritage that has existed for over one hundred years.
Trussardi has been close to art, participating at events such as the Biennale in Venice. Tell us more about the importance of these associations.
Our family has always been passionate about art, starting with my father Nicola to whom our foundation is dedicated. That dedication has continued with our sister Beatrice, who has intensified the commitment of the group in favor of contemporary culture and its presence in the art world through Fondazione Nicola Trussardi, a nomadic institution that introduces contemporary art into the daily lives of people through exhibitions of international artists held in the historical locations and monuments of Milan.
In recent years, Fondazione Nicola Trussardi has actively worked with other prestigious international institutions, museums and biennial expositions such as the Tate Modern Gallery in London, the Kunsthaus Museum of Zurich, the Biennial of Venice, and with public institutions in various cities of Italy.