NEW YORK – Herno is stepping up its efforts to expand in the U.S. market.
The Italian luxury outerwear brand has opened a permanent showroom on Varick Street in Tribeca to better service its existing customers — which include Neiman Marcus, Barneys New York, Nordstrom and Mitchell — and others seeking a sartorial alternative to the ubiquitous Canada Goose and Moncler puffers.
Herno has had a small presence in the U.S. in the past and is represented by the M5 Showroom, which is located in the same building. But now Claudio Marenzi, president and chief executive officer, has moved a few floors down and opened a cleanly designed space where the brand can present its full offering of men’s, women’s and children’s coats hanging on hooks similar to how they are displayed in its retail stores.
Herno is sharing the floor with Woolrich. Although the two brands have no professional affiliation, Marenzi said they are friendly competitors with a mutual respect. Both firms are represented by M5 and wanted to have their own space, so it was a practical decision.
Marenzi said that over the past five years the U.S. has grown to represent a larger chunk of Herno’s business. It now accounts for 10 percent of overall sales, which hit 111 million euros in 2018, and is the fastest growing region for the brand.
While Europe remains its largest market, the U.S. is currently number three after Japan but has grown at the fastest pace over the past five years, Marenzi said. Five years ago, the U.S. was the brand’s seventh largest market.
At the end of 2017, Herno opened a store in SoHo in New York that has helped raise the brand’s profile here. It also has eight shop-in-shops at Bloomingdale’s. And Marenzi has said he can see the business here quadrupling.
“It’s very important for us to be close to our wholesale customers,” he said.
The new showroom allows the brand to showcase its men’s and women’s Laminar Sartorial Engineering collection, a new urban sportswear collection that fuses technology with functionality. The collection features traditional tailoring fabrics such as boucle, herringbone, houndstooth and flocked nylon on the exterior of the garment and water-resistant layered members on the interior.
Marenzi, who also serves as president of Pitti Immagine Confindustria Moda, said he is projecting Herno will exceed 120 million euros in sales this year.
For Italian brands overall, he said, the U.S. is the third-largest export market after Germany and France. China is eighth. And while many in his home country said he should focus on China as an expansion opportunity, Marenzi opted for America instead, hence the investment in the showroom. “It’s much more steady and serious,” he said.
Herno was founded in 1948 by Marenzi’s parents Giuseppe Marenzi and Alessandra Diana in Lesa, Italy, and manufactured outerwear for other brands for nearly 70 years. In 2007, Claudio Marenzi took the helm and decided to concentrate on growing the Herno brand instead. He is now the brand’s sole owner.