Italian fashion store chain Folli Follie, founded in the 1970s, has recently started an overall relaunch project including the redesign of its nine boutiques, all based in Northern Italy, the launch of its new website and, by beginning of 2017, of its new international e-commerce platform.
“Each of our stores is different from the other as multibrand stores have great energy to communicate,” explain Francesco and Giuseppe Galli, owners of Folli Follie. “Monobrand stores almost all look the same in each city of the world. We rather believe in the importance of serving our customers – each one different from city to city and all willing to be treated exclusively, almost like with a tailor-made service.”
What are the current bestsellers of your store and why?
Since the last two seasons we are getting good results from contemporary streetwear brands ruled by Off White, Marcelo Burlon and Palm Angels because their price-quality ratio is balanced and because they offer products that are more modern in style and design and meet our customers' needs.
Among our bestselling brands there are also Gucci. It is so successful, as Alessandro Michele's collections are highly researched. For this it recalls such great attention from our clientele. Its s/s17 collection - mixing more iconic vintage elements and bright hues with British elements such as school uniforms and punk influences - strikes all the right chords.
Among women's accessories Stella McCartney is also successful as its “ecological correctness” is strongly appreciated by our customers.
Menswear bestselling designers include Gucci, DSquared (especially their denim offer), Prada and Saint Laurent.
Do people buy according to their favorite brand, style, or impulse?
It is most a mix of the three factors. Most often each generation has some different reason for buying: the young are often attracted by the hot brand of the moment as they act and live according to statements, while more adult clients are looking for more specific and recognizable styles. Generally people buy as they want to satisfy some desire and some vision they have in mind.
Where do you order from? How do you inform yourself about trends?
We make our research via web. This also gives us the opportunity to also find information about different topics such as, for instance, foreign brands, emerging designers and similar other aspects. Then we combine all the results we have gathered with what we see during our purchasing campaign.
How important is the communication with regular customers? How do you communicate with them?
It is very important.
Our face to face with customers is fundamental for recognizing and understanding one's own client's needs and for finding ways of meeting them. Luxury consumers are changing. They are always more demanding. For this we have decided to launch our new e-commerce project that will go live by beginning of January 2017 under a new brand name “Thedoublef”, born from our interest in offering an additional service to our clients and meant to also serve an international clientele and not simply our Italian aficionados.
How do the collections you offer for next spring/summer look like? And what will be the most important trends, in general?
For women there is a great return to the '80s, one example is what Balenciaga is offering with pieces characterised by evident shoulders. The flower print theme – also recently revamped by quite some brands – will certainly be strong as an evident return to a kind of sophisticated elegance from the past and a strong desire to astonish by breaking all rules in fashion. Among main menswear trends I find much denim, monocolor suits or a mix between interesting matching jackets and trousers worn together. Among men’s footwear we think sandals will be very strong.
Did you add any new labels to your assortment?
We have increased our streetwear offer, a segment that is constantly evolving. For this we added brands like Marcelo Burlon, Off White and Palm Angels.
How does your store differ from other stores?
All of the Folli Follie stores have always offered an exclusive shopping experience focused on quality products and service. We can achieve such results thanks to our buyers' accurate selection, our staff’s extreme attention to clients, our maniac-like care for store lay-out and impressing stores' visual presentation.
In the last period some of our boutiques were enlarged and all of them will be redesigned totally – with each one looking different from the other - by the end of 2017. We have also increased our personnel as we want to be able to advise and support our clientele at best by informing more and more thoroughly about our products. For this, we have started and will continue opening independent boutiques destined to our male clientele and shop-in-shops entirely dedicated to specific brands.
In addition, each of our stores is different from the other as multibrand stores have a great energy to communicate. Monobrand stores almost look all the same in each city of the world. We rather believe in the importance of serving our customers - that differ from city to city - and all want to be treated exclusively and looking for an almost tailor-made service.
What do you like about your customers?
I like that they still appreciate quality. Our clients have the capacity to show their excitement when they see a great product, a reaction we like to share with them.
How important is the interior, the atmosphere and the whole package?
Our stores shall respect the purchasing dynamics of the products we offer. We have already enlarged and redesigned two of our boutiques - in Verona in July 2016 and this one in Mantua in October 2016. We enlarged the Mantua store from its 350-sq.meter boutique to the present 800-sq.meter one now offering two distinct though communicating areas – one for women and one for men respectively measuring 600 sq.meters and 200 sq.meters, and each one with an own dedicated entrance. In addition, here in Mantua we also introduced an area offering luxury cosmetics, beauty products, bijoux, small design objects and some alcoholics. We don’t want to become a perfumery store, but liked the idea to start offering our clients a selection of other products that are also becoming important means through which each one can also express one’s own personality and sense of style.
We have already started redesigning our Bologna boutique we will open in a 1,000-sq.meter palazzo in the central via Clavature street expected to open by February 2017. The Verona store, the men’s and women’s Mantua boutiques and the Bologna store were refreshed as a collaboration with Studio Baciocchi Associati. Our other remaining stores (a second one in Verona, another second one in Bologna, one in Brescia, one in Riccione and another kidswear shop in Mantua) will also be reopened by end of 2017.
Each boutique will have its own unique image as we think multibrand stores have to keep their own identity while always keeping into consideration their local clients’ needs. Our Mantua clientele, for instance, doesn’t like to show off too much and likes to shop in a quiet and almost intimate atmosphere. For this together with Studio Baciocchi we devised to create two more quiet areas – one for women and one for men - where they can try shoes, and also another, a sort of oval-shaped square where we present special pieces or mixes of products, but, in the future, might also host installations, art exhibits or launches of special collections, all in a very intimate and sober mood.
What other projects do you have in mind for the future?
We would like to also open another store in one of the major cities of Italy such as, for instance, Milan or Rome and, why not, maybe in the future we might also start opening outside of Italy. We would like to also start launching some special edition collaboration projects with important brands. We have many dreams in our drawers. We closed 2015 registering €100 million sales and expect to register a +14% growth by end 2016, a result that well reflects our growth as we always register double digit increase year after year.
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