MILAN — “From good to great.” With this goal in mind, Britt Moran, cofounder of Dimore Studio with his partner Emiliano Salci, is working on creating “a proper company,” and to further grow it.
Inspired by the “Good to Great” management book by Jim C. Collins, Moran said he and Salci are finding themselves at a “crossroads.” His “biggest fear,” he said, has always been of “not taking advantage” of the moment. “I think we are a good company, but from the book, I learned that you have to get the right people on the bus. We need to really figure out our strategy for where we want to go, and one of the challenges is, often people don’t know who is supposed to be doing what,” said the affable Moran, who is the more business-oriented half of the duo, while Salci, a former designer at Cappellini, is the creative driver. “We have discipline, but if we become more disciplined, I am certain things will be perfect in every aspect, from how we evaluate the projects for Studio and how to sell products. I am hopeful we will go in the direction we’ve planned.”
The interior design company now employs 40 people and Moran feels the pressure to “get everything in place, with the engine running smoothly, which frees us to be creative and be strategic on what we want to do. I don’t want to take the wrong step and I want to make sure we have a road map for where we need to be going.” Thinking ahead, Moran said he wanted “things to be in place so that business will go well 25, 30 years from now. We are very active but we want to make sure this doesn’t stop with us.”
To take Dimore Studio “to another level,” and evolving naturally from a more family-oriented business, Moran and Salci have tapped communications consultant Marina Piano to develop a brand and business strategy as senior adviser.
“We’ve always been very fortunate, we never had to go and look for work, people contacted us, whether it meant residential or hospitality projects, but we are now trying to be more proactive to generate business, categorizing, creating a proper thought process,” Moran explained. Dimore Studio has its own collection and sells through Dimore Gallery in Milan and through a distributor in New York that also operates in Los Angeles and San Francisco. “The idea is let’s see where we can expand, see new retailers and distributors, that’s one area where we can proactively create more revenue.” The company has been growing significantly, posting a 57 percent gain in the 2016-17 period and, in 2018, sales jumped 47 percent to reach 7 million euros compared with the previous year, with an EBITDA margin of 33 percent.
As part of this evolution, Moran and Salci have created a new branch called Dimore Milano.
Dimore Studio, known for its sophisticated taste, warm colors, special use of light, blending retro elements and contemporary accents, has worked with the likes of Fendi on several boutiques and the luxurious Palazzo Privé VIP apartment in Rome; Dsquared2, decorating the high-end Ceresio 7 bar and restaurant and designers Dean and Dan Caten’s London town house; Pomellato; Boglioli, and Aesop to name a few, will continue to offer architectural design services.
Retailer Dimore Gallery, launched in 2014, allowed the duo to indulge in their passion for historical and vintage pieces by the likes of Giò Ponti, Piero Portaluppi and Gabriella Crespi. In addition to selling such items, the beautiful venue, located in Milan’s arts district Brera, also carries some selected pieces of furniture by Dimore Studio.
The plan for Dimore Gallery is to continue to present at trade shows, such as Design Miami, The Salon in New York and at PAD in London. “Gallery is a nice platform for those that would not necessarily come to us and to have a selection of things that we could use in a project,” observed Moran.
With Dimore Milano, the efforts will go into production of larger furniture pieces and the introduction of a fabric collection, as well as of home objects that will “probably” be called “Accessories,” Moran said.
The textiles business, similarly to furniture, stems from a necessity to find pieces that were not in production, he said. Everything is manufactured in Italy. “Over the years, we received lots of proposals from China, but that is not our DNA. It’s really important to support these dying arts here.” Moran trumpeted Italy’s craftsmanship as the best. “In France, for example, you hear the word no — in Italy anything can be done, there are amazing craftsmen,” Moran said. Case in point, an 80-year-old artisan who lacquers tables by hand. He was one of the several artisans Dimore Studio works with, presented at Milan’s Fuorisalone in 2013, as the company celebrated its 10th anniversary.
The business is self-financed, but Moran admitted that “at some point, we would very much like to talk to investors; it’s a direction to move in, eventually. It’s also as a source of pride that we have done it all on our own.” At the moment, Moran is looking at significant investments in real estate for bigger spaces for both the Studio and Milano branches.
While working with several fashion houses, Moran and Salci have dismissed the idea of launching their own clothing line and are negotiating a partnership with an international fashion school.
Coming up, at Milan’s international furniture and design trade show Salone del Mobile in April, Moran and Salci will present a collection reproducing seven pieces by the late architect and interior designer Gabriella Crespi in an exclusive collaboration.
After designing the jewel Leo’s at The Arts Club in London, Dimore Studio is working on The Arts Club in Dubai, expected to open at the end of 2019.