MILAN — Italian craftsmanship and staying true to the brand helped Cruciani report strong growth last year.
Parent company Maglital Srl posted a net profit of 1.05 million euros, or $1.45 million, in the fiscal year ended March 31, almost three times the 294,000 euros, or $388,080, in the previous fiscal year. Revenues rose 34 percent to 19.5 million euros, or $27.1 million.
Dollar amounts have been converted at average exchange for the periods to which they refer.
Chief executive officer Luca Caprai, who founded the brand in 1992, said he expected a further 23 percent growth in sales in the coming year, forecast to reach 24 million euros, or $31.3 million at current exchange. The firm is based in Italy’s Trevi region, near Perugia.
Exports rose 34.4 percent compared with 2010 and 85 percent compared with 2009. In particular, the company is investing in Asia and in the U.S., with a new 3,200-square-foot showroom in New York. Caprai said the company’s sales rose 300 percent in three seasons in the U.S. and noted Cruciani’s performance at Bergdorf Goodman as particularly rewarding. The entrepreneur said he plans to open three boutiques in the U.S., of which one will be “in a top location” in New York.
“We’ve stayed the course, resisted the temptation to cut on research and development for higher margins,” said Caprai, adding that he was especially pleased about the results because they allow the company to have more critical mass to further invest in growing the brand.
Caprai credited his father, Arnaldo Caprai, as an inspiration and for the values instilled in the company. “We are harvesting today, but he is the one who sowed the seeds,” said Luca Caprai. His father owns a 50 percent stake in fine yarn producer Filatura Cariaggi and has shares in dyeing firm Tintoria Ferrini. “Our products are not only made in Italy, they are made in casa [home in Italian], we check every step, from the flock to the dyeing, and we certify the yarns,” he explained. “Clients know we can guarantee quality, know-how and timely deliveries.”
Caprai’s latest success also indirectly stems from his father, who collects antique laces, now totaling 24,000 units, and produces laced tablecloths for the Vatican and international political meetings through his company, Arnaldo Caprai.
In July, Luca Caprai launched macramé lace bracelets that have set a trend here, selling 3.5 million pieces since then. They retail at 10 euros, or $13, but Caprai underscored the quality and fine workmanship of the accessories. They initially featured four-leaf clovers, models with hearts (for Valentine’s day), butterflies and even a limited edition version for Japan with cherry blossoms.
“We didn’t have an entry price product before this. We combined our craft with a young, fun theme,” said the entrepreneur, mentioning what Swatch did with its colorful and affordable watches in the Eighties as an example. “We still guarantee the quality, but at 10 euros,” he said, adding that a “big event” will take place later this month in Hollywood, where Cruciani bracelets will be used as passes. On April 25, a store dedicated to the bracelets will open in Madrid.
The brand is sold at 400 points of sale around the world. In Italy, there are Cruciani boutiques in Milan and resort towns Forte dei Marmi and Courmayeur. There are also stores in Tokyo and Dubai, where the company has set up a branch. There are plans to open units in Qatar and Abu Dhabi, too. The Middle East, together with Russia and the former Soviet Union countries, are strong countries for Cruciani, said Caprai, as well as Italy, the U.S. and South America. Asia is a particularly important market, accounting for 42 percent of business.
A Hong Kong-China subsidiary will open in the fall, with five stores to be unveiled in China in September. Caprai said there are plans to open 10 stores a month in China, with the goal of reaching 400 units.