Gian Giacomo Ferraris used to be a schoolteacher. And if you want to learn how to double your turnover in the next three years, than the Versace CEO is someone you could learn from. Lesson one: confidence. “I think Versace deserves to double its turnover. So for the next five years our target will be to become a one billion dollar company,” he says.
A tall order, but Ferraris’ track record since taking the reins in 2009 suggest he may just be the man to pull it off. Despite Versace taking up its usual slot on the red carpet back in 2009, the iconic fashion brand was struggling behind the scenes with serious implications to its bottom line due to the economic crisis and the lack of a fixed strategy.
However, due to its strong DNA, the company was able quickly react and started seeing a significant uptick in their revenues in 2010 and finally profitability in 2011. This allowed the brand to re-enter the haute couture fashion shows and capitalise on creative director Donatella Versace’s expertise.
Now, Versace is looking to become a billion-dollar company in the next five years, which is double their current reported revenue of $528.4m in 2012. The man who is spearheading this vision is Ferraris. Prior to his role at Versace, Ferraris was CEO of the Jil Sander Group, and the managing director of the ready-to-wear division of Gucci Group, with responsibility over all the group’s brands, including Gucci, YSL, Balenciaga, Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen and Bottega Veneta.
“I joined in 2009, in the middle of the worldwide crisis,” says Ferraris. “For us, it was strategically fundamental to define a medium- and long-term strategy, which means we want to be very Versace. And thank God, just like the oil is in this country, we have this endless creative energy, who is Ms. Donatella Versace.”
The Middle East is a key player in this strategy, as Versace celebrates its new partnership with Samra International, a fine jewellery retailer, distributor and manufacturer, which is based in Dubai. This partnership gives Samra the right to produce Versace’s atelier jewellery for the global market.
“Originally, in 2009, Samra was our retailer and regional distributor. We noticed immediately that there is a good feeling between us as we spoke the same language in terms of our products culture,” Ferraris continues. “We started up an atelier with them in Dubai Mall. This is where we have our unique pieces which are very exclusive.
“In 2013, we signed a worldwide licence, so we trust in their capacity to translate the same energy that we have in the atelier and the total range of our product. We need to have a coherency in quality, in service, in craftsmanship and in everything else.”
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