FLORENCE — Desmo, one of the most established Florentine leather goods companies, is taking a more upscale path to sales growth.
Starting with the fall collection, Gabriele Fantappiè, the owner of Desmo, and creative director Alberta Dalla have eliminated the more basic looks in the line and have added more novelty looks and special trims. Aimed at customers over 40, these core styles were a hit in the Eighties and Nineties and accounted for more than 50 percent of company sales.
For example, Desmo has discontinued the lizard-print bag, which it now considers not high-end enough, and the Derby bag, which was made with hammered calf, woven tubular handles and golden rings. The Derby has been replaced by the Gipsy bag, which features crocodile shoulder belts and bronze buckles.
“We stopped playing it safe and gave more focus to the line,” said Fantappiè in an interview at his headquarters, located in a 16th-century Florentine palazzo, a few steps away from the Pontevecchio and the Arno river. “We were trying to please everyone, but that’s not the right strategy. We now want a product that offers an emotion.”
The brand is carried in about 400 sales points around the world. In the U.S., which accounts for 30 percent of sales, the line is available at department and specialty stores such as Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s and Marshall Field’s. Last year, the company registered sales of about $10 million, and with the new product strategy, the company expects a 15 percent increase in sales in the next three years.
“A new product also means a more uniformed and clarified distribution aimed at clothing boutiques, as well,” said Fantappiè.
For fall, Desmo’s other offering includes a soft lapin hobo bag with a crocodile or antique-looking silver jewel handle, a long-haired pony skin doctor’s bag in a multicolor pattern, a python accordion bag and an embroidered shearling tote. Details include hand-sewn leather buttons, ethnic wood disks that make up a handle and stitched python leaves. Fantappiè said the new styling is aimed at the upscale market, with average retail price points at $420.
Next month, Desmo will open a boutique in Tokyo, its third in Japan after Osaka and Nagoya.
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