PARIS — With a new owner and a new designer, Ramosport, the French outerwear company known for its chic utilitarian aesthetic, is looking to the future.
Last year, Nicoletta Giadrossi, a former consultant and private equity investor, purchased a majority stake in the company, which had been family owned since its founding in 1905.
Though the business had earned success with designs by Jean Colonna, the Paris designer known for his downtown edge, Giadrossi bid him adieu as artistic director. She tapped Silvia Gavina, an Italian who has worked with the likes of Gianfranco Ferré, Kiton and Valextra, last July to bring a fresh perspective to the brand.
"She's gone into the archives," said Giadrossi, who explained she wanted to bring back some of the brand's vintage styles and temper them with a modern edge.
Meantime, Giadrossi, a Harvard alumna, cemented the house's several-seasons-long collaboration with Paris label E2, asking them to further contribute a small capsule line. She said she would like to forge other ties by getting other designers to collaborate, too.
Expanding product categories has been another of her priorities. This year, for example, she launched Ramosport's first men's collection and added new women's accessories, including scarves, hats and umbrellas. Bags are in the pipeline for next year.
Now, with a firm grasp on the rudder, Giadrossi is preparing to beef up the firm's retail Web site and also wants to bolster wholesale business in promising markets like the United States and China.
"We've just scraped the surface so far in Asia and in the U.S.," she said.
Giadrossi said Ramosport has revenues of about 10 million euros, or $14.7 million at current exchange. While she wants to grow the brand incrementally so as to preserve its niche status, she said there are plenty of opportunities.
"There had been some inertia at the company," she said. "They were trying to figure out a succession plan so a lot of decisions were left untaken. The last shop the company opened was in 2001. I want to shake things up a bit. Now I want to move into new markets very quickly."To that end, a shop in Beijing is scheduled to open in December. Giadrossi said a store in the U.S. was a priority and that a unit in Europe within the next couple of years is also being explored.
This June, Ramosport opened its third shop in Paris, a unit on the Rue Saint-Honoré.
"There is more room to expand," she said. "We are a small company of 30 people. But Ramosport has global potential."
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