The Giglio chain of fashion stores is based in Palermo, on the island of Sicily, Southern Italy. Owner Federico Giglio and his family run the ten fashion boutiques of the city since 1974 offering designer prêt-à-porter, sportswear and jeanswear for both men and women. Constant store image refreshing, a wide offer of products, international research and social media initiatives help the retailer getting the attention of their customers. Interview by Maria Cristina Pavarini

What are the current bestsellers and why?
In our Giglio In store, our jeanswear-oriented boutique, we sell many jeanswear brands. Both men and women are mostly looking for skinny fits, though more recently, they tend to look for slightly more comfortable items than in past seasons. They like slightly washed and treated pieces, though never too evident and accentuated. Among our best-selling brands, the number one is Armani Jeans, though we sell also well Ice Iceberg and D&G, despite this specific brand won’t exist any longer from s/s 2012. Another best-selling brand is Stone Island at present. Also successful are jeans collections by Ralph Lauren and Fay.

For women, the market is more diverse and it is harder to say if there are any brands selling more than others since every customer tends to establish her own specific look and product mix. Nevertheless, also women like Armani Jeans and D&G. Skinny fits and clean looks still play a major role – especially in a city like Palermo where women opt for urban-minded, sexy looks. Generally, among our bestsellers there are also accessories. For instance, girls love the Armani Jeans bags. They look great and have the right price with about €200. Accessories continue to help sales in the women’s market.

Another best-selling item - especially for a city near the sea as Palermo and because of the prolonged warm weather – are knitwear tops. Both men and women love to buy and wear them. Fits are not exaggerated, not even too tight. Most favorite hues are brown and green with some red hints.

We haven’t sold many outer jackets yet because of the warm weather.

Where do you order from? How do you inform yourself about trends?
Since customers tend to buy single pieces rather than complete total looks and since – especially women – seem not to be that loyal to brands generally, but rather look for products they like and that fit them perfectly, it is harder to find the right products to offer them. Thus, it is more challenging and one has to push even harder on research and learning more about what’s happening in the market. For this, my father and I travel a lot in order to be updated on the newest trends and collections. We visit many foreign cities – especially London and Berlin. We know that there are so many inspiring cities like, for instance, Shanghai and Hong Kong, but considering our clientele’s taste and attitude, London and Berlin give us the right inspiration. We also visit all fashion weeks – Milan, Paris, New York and London - and attend the most important fashion fairs – not all of them every season. For instance, Pitti, Bread & Butter, Who’s Next-Prêt-à-Porter, etc. They all help us understanding which direction to head to and what to buy.
Giglio In interior, Palermo
Giglio In interior, Palermo

What is attracting customers inside your stores?
Our shop displays. They are done very accurately and taken care of in every detail. We change them every 15 days. For this, people pass by to look at them and very often also enter to buy. We constantly change the image of our stores by moving merchandise and creating new interest of what we show inside. Four people are always involved in changing the windows and displays every day rotating in all of our stores.

How important is the communication with regular customers?
We communicate with them in many ways. An increasingly important instrument of communication - and sales – is our website. Customers visit it for getting information and often order via the web shop. Though also people from all over the world visit the website and are ordering merchandise. We launched it four years ago and now e-commerce makes up 10% of our revenues. We communicate what’s new in our stores through our website and send out a newsletter every two weeks to clients and people who sign up for it. More recently, we also started acting through social networks like Facebook and Twitter, posting news that refer to all of our stores or to special initiatives we organize through our stores.