MILAN — Blonde, blue-eyed and with a contagious smile: Valentina Ferragni has more than just the surname in common with her big sister Chiara, including a namesake brand.
Wrapped in a vintage Valentino black gown with voluminous pink shoulder embellishments, on Tuesday night she gathered her inner circle at The Dome — a new hip rooftop bar in Milan overlooking the iconic Duomo — for an event to celebrate the first anniversary of her jewelry label, Valentina Ferragni Studio.
Although it might seem easy to walk a path that has already been successfully paved by a sibling, the youngest Ferragni had her share of challenges to overcome in her business journey, including the pandemic.
Conceived two years ago, her brand was supposed to be unveiled in March 2020 but the launch was postponed. “We had to stop everything and change strategy in progress, finding ourselves not really sure about what to do or what to expect,” said Ferragni, describing the past 12 months as “very intense but amazing.”
“Being here and celebrating this anniversary is a big achievement for all of us. All of our struggles are paying off,” she added, praising the small team she helms, entirely made up of women aged under 30.
Ferragni decided to delve into the world of jewelry after developing two capsule collections for the Rue des Mille brand in the past. That creative process sparked her passion for the category and respect for the craftsmanship behind it.
Produced in the Tuscan gold district of Arezzo, Ferragni’s brand is best known for V-shaped charms used in earrings, bracelets and necklaces as well as belt chains, all in silver with gold or platinum plating as well as colored enameling.
Prices for the line range from 48 euros for the casual Kate bracelet style — in which the charm is combined with braided yarns in contrasting colors and derived from recycled plastic bottles — to 275 euros for the recently launched Nina gold necklace, which Ferragni and her sisters Chiara and Francesca all wore at the event.
Last year, the brand debuted with a single earring style called “Uali” — the founder’s longtime nickname — that has since been revisited in different versions, including colored options and more precious ones covered with zirconia.
“Earrings for me have no gender nor age, and I liked the idea of having a product for everybody,” explained Ferragni. “I envisioned this design on a person going to school, university, work or to a dinner, on young girls and mums alike, as well as matching different looks. Plus, I wanted an item that didn’t make anyone anxious about sizes while ordering it online, but could easily fit everyone.”
Next month the brand will release two new pieces. While Ferragni kept details under wraps, she teased that these will fill a gap in the line, which is missing a ring offering, for instance.
Ferragni is also looking to expand the distribution network. The brand is available at more than 360 doors in Italy, but the company’s e-commerce site, which ships throughout Europe, accounts for most of its sales.
The label sold more than 50,000 pieces in its first year.
The company is working to further enhance its online platform, which will start to ship to the U.S. and Canada at the beginning of 2022. As for physical distribution, the strategy is to consolidate its presence in Italy, focusing on key department stores, and to grow elsewhere in Europe, as Ferragni revealed she’s in talks to enter the Spanish market soon.
She will be headed to Madrid to shoot the brand’s advertising campaign right after ending her fashion week commitments in Milan and Paris, where she might be joined by her sister Chiara.
Asked if her elder sister’s popularity represented more a pro or a con in starting her own business, Ferragni said it was both. “It’s a 50-50 situation. I have an important surname — yet one that 10 years ago was extra normal — and I’m very proud of it because both my sisters, along with my mother, are my points of reference and my inspirations. They push me to do better and better every day and it’s so good to have [so much support]. But on the other hand, this fact has been an obstacle on the web. People believe everything comes easily to me because I came after her [Chiara]. But in reality, nothing was ever gifted to me.”
Determined to walk to the beat of her own drum, Ferragni also said she won’t embark on collaboration projects and category extensions with her brand for the foreseeable future.
“For now, it’s important to focus on jewelry and enhance the brand awareness, but in the longer term I would like to explore other categories, for sure,” said Ferragni.
While the founder’s 4 million Instagram followers will have to wait for a possible crossover with the Chiara Ferragni brand, they will still be able to catch a glimpse of the sisters’ energy in the upcoming TV series that Ferragni senior and her husband Fedez are to release on Amazon Prime Video.
Earlier this week, the social media power couple revealed that “The Ferragnez – La Serie” eight-episode series centered on their daily life will debut on the streaming platform in 240 countries in December.
“[My boyfriend and I] will appear in that, too. This series is just the beginning of a very big project,” said the youngest Ferragni.