“We don’t want to play on defense anymore, but play to win.” This is the mantra announced by Miroglio Fashion’s new chief executive officer Hans Hoegstedt on Wednesday. Appointed last October, Hoegstedt presented a series of new strategies to enhance the brands in the group’s portfolio and a financial investment of 40.8 million euros, or $44.5 million at current exchange, to reach such goal.
Based in Alba, in Italy’s Piedmont region, the apparel division of Miroglio Group — which also includes Miroglio Textile and logistic company M2Log — produces and globally distributes 11 fashion brands for women. These include Motivi, Oltre, Fiorella Rubino, Elena Mirò, Caractère, Per te by Krizia, Diana Gallesi and Luisa Viola, in addition to the Ipekyol, Machka and Twist labels, which joined the company’s portfolio due to the partnership with Turkish Ayaydin Group.
In 2016, Miroglio Fashion totaled 513 million euros, or $559.8 million, 87 percent of which accounted by the retail channel. More than 83 percent of the revenues were to credit to just four of the group’s labels — the Motivi, Oltre, Fiorella Rubino and Elena Mirò labels, which are at the core of the company’s strategies for this year.
“We’re not forgetting the remaining brands, but it’s important to have a focus,” Hoegstedt said. “We can’t do everything at the same time,” he added underscoring how the four labels totaled more than 400 million euros, or $436.4 million, in 2016.
To consolidate such figures and further enhance the performance of each brand, the company’s total investment is divided into 19.5 million euros destined for marketing activities, 17.4 million euros for store renovations and 3.9 million euros for technological implementations, or $21.3 million, $19 million, $4.3 million, respectively.
According to Hoegstedt, the firm’s main goal was to differentiate each label and provide them with an appropriate price and target positioning. “To try to beat Zara, Primark, H&M with their business model is not our path,” he said, also stressing how the group’s longtime expertise in the curvy market represents an additional asset that needs to be further exploited.
The investments made so far in marketing were channeled in the creation of new advertising campaigns, a range of in-store events and social media boost, among others.
For Motivi, which totaled 136 million euros, or $148.3 million, last year, a fresher ad campaign fronted by model Kate Grigorieva was key to dust off the image of the brand. Capsule collections created in partnership with local celebrities revamped the Fiorella Rubino and Elena Mirò labels, while a new store concept was developed for Oltre, which Hoegstedt defined the “sleeping beauty” among the brands for its yet-unexpressed full potential. Oltre weighted on last year’s sales with 95 million euros, or $103.6 million, without any investment in communication, which will be implemented in the second part of 2017.
Attention to retail and to shopping experience is another key element in the company’s plan. “We want to keep focusing on the retail, not only because it’s nice to have your own stand-alone stores, but these give you the chance to immediately make changes, as you [directly] control [them],” Hoegstedt said. Miroglio Fashion counts 1,188 stand-alone units worldwide, a part of which are under a major renovation project that aims to restore 300 shops in 300 days.
Restyling in stores mainly intends to enhance omnichannel features. With five different e-commerce channels, the company is boosting the interaction between physical and digital stores also with the introduction of technological devices. Tablets, “intelligent cash desk” software realized in partnership with Oracle and tech labels with RFID chips for identifying and tracking the garments are among the innovative tools showcased at the stores.
“Everything we want to accomplish won’t work if not supported by technology,” Hoegstedt said, adding how technology is also present inside the company’s daily life through three-dimensional designing tools and Workplace, a Facebook-created app that enables Miroglio Fashion’s 4,500 employees to dialogue, interact and be updated on the firm’s initiatives.
Also thanks to such activities, Miroglio Fashion ended the first quarter of 2017 with sales up 18.3 percent, more than 100,000 new clients registered and 70 percent increase in sales made on the e-commerce. “These figures surprised even me, we never thought we could reach such [results]. Three months are nothing, the road is still long but we believe we are on the right path,” Hoegstedt said.
Miroglio Fashion aims to end the year with sales up 5 percent compared to 2016, even though the quality of the growth is what Hoegstedt is interested in most.
Focusing on consolidating the brands in Italy, Miroglio Fashion’s plan will be articulated in three stages, the last of which may also involve the U.S. “We need to create a solid base before start expanding abroad,”said Hoegstedt, “but, obviously, the U.S. is the biggest curvy market in the world, so it’s very interesting for us.” The ceo highlighted the complexities and differences in the American approach to fashion, reiterating how “we need to do a very in-depth and detailed research” before entering the market.
Miroglio Fashion’s main markets are Spain and Russia, in addition to Italy.