Gian Giacomo Ferraris, CEO of Versace, on bringing the brand back to profitability in 2012, the upcoming Young Versace Line and engaging e-commerce
Called to discuss the widely-discussed but rarely-understood concept of counterfeiting, at the Financial TImes Business of Luxury Summit in Lausanne, Gian Giacomo Ferraris cited the issue as a key part of shaping Versace into a €500 million business by 2015.
At the time of his appointment in 2009, Mr Ferraris admitted there were more seemingly pressing issues on the Versace table than the flocks of fakes lining Canal Street NYC. However, upon further investigating the toll counterfeiting was taking on the brand’s image, bottom line and corporate social responsibility, it became obvious that fighting counterfeit goods would become a cornerstone strategy in returning Versace to profitability.
In his first year at the Versace Group, Mr Ferraris was responsible for increasing revenue by 9% and reducing net debt by over €50 million. His revised business plan focuses on long term growth, initially restructuring the business to create a fully integrated supply chain for the four various brands, and now focusing on expanding the Versace mainline retail network, with a mix of brand owned and franchised stores.
He has also been responsible for re-acquiring the license for the Versus line, now designed by Donatella Versace and Christopher Kane, and spearheading a re-entry into the Japanese market, appointing Hiroshi Saito as Chief Executive Officer of Versace Japan.
We caught up with Mr Ferraris in Lausanne after his keynote introduction to the discussion of counterfeiting and present the second in our series of 5 Minutes With…
In your time at Versace, what has been your favorite memory?
Most certainly my regular interaction with our Creative Director, Ms. Donatella Versace. In addition to being a talented designer she has an intuitive business sense.
Which market are you currently experiencing the strongest growth?
As you can imagine we are experience strong growth in the Far East.
What is the next major launch you can tell us more about?
Young Versace, which will launch for Spring 2012 will be a line for children 0-12 years old. Young Versace complements the fashion offering of the house and is part of our worldwide development strategy initiated with great success in the last 18 months.
What is the biggest challenge Versace will face in the coming years…
I do not think in terms of challenges but more in terms of our mission and goals. Our main target is to become a €500 Million company by 2015. Everything we have done and will continue to do is in line with us achieving this goal.
What one word best describes your strategy?
What is the next opportunity you would like your company to seize?
E-commerce is an important way to reach our customers. We’ve had some experience selling our Home collection online but our next step is to offer online our RTW and accessories.
If you could change any aspect of the luxury industry what would it be?
Nothing. Everything happens for a reason.
For more in the series of 5 Minutes With … please see our previous conversations with luxury leaders as follows: