I can confidently say that today the Duomo did not disappoint! This place was everything I expected out of Italy and so much fun. From the beautiful views to the wide selection of stores, it was an awesome representation of all the great things there is to do and see in Italy. Specifically, in Milan, the fashion capital of the world, shops are extremely popular! This is the home of your high-end stores such as Prada, Armani, Versace, Gucci and Louis Vittoun. All of these stores seem to fit perfectly in amongst all of the fancy and elegant architecture. However, at the other end of town, there are smaller but still high quality stores such as IF Bags and Travi Borse.
While walking through the beautiful archway that the more commonly known Louis Vittoun, Gucci, and Prada stores are located under you notice that everything seems to be very classy and quite intimidating. Especially for me, coming from a middle-class family, I am not the type of person to normally go into these types of stores. Places like this is where you see high class people who are already wearing or carrying something of that brand. These types of customers also mostly shop by brand and are very concerned with the value the name carries more so than the actual product itself. For this reason, they tend to stay loyal to these same stores and they are exactly what these stores need to continue operating. Stores such as this do not need to sell an extremely high volume of products because their prices are so high. The products may be made out of expensive material but they are extremely marked up because of the name they are sold under and the brand marks they have on them. Although these high-end stores may have their manufacturers located in Italy, I believe that the stores we saw today are only distributors of the products. Since these companies are located in other countries, I believe that the products would be manufactured in a factory owned by these brands but have fewer factories than stores. These companies may be vertically integrated and may dye their own leather, manufacture the products, and distribute them but in several different locations.
On the other side of town there are the smaller less known high quality shops. These shops are more local and meant for someone that knows what they want and can appreciate a finely hand crafted product. These shops produce on a much smaller scale than the high-end shops and put out less products daily, and have less variety readily made. Places like this are great for someone who is looking to get something they can’t find anywhere else and that is a customized piece. At places like IF Bags, you can partially customize one of the types of bags they carry to fit the color scheme you want. Although it is not a full customization, since you are putting some of the effort into designing the product it means a little more to you. However, at places like Travi Borse, you can completely customize your hand bags. You can pick the style, size, color, and even the type of leather used. When buying pieces like this you know that you are getting something hand crafted and truly valuable. By speaking directly to the producer, you can ensure that the product will turn out exactly like you envisioned it to. Both of these companies are vertically integrated, so they are involved in several steps of the supply chain to control the quality of their products. IF Bags is the producer and distributor of their products, sometimes even the customers get to be the producer and help to put together the components of their bag, like I did today. The leather manufacturer that this company uses is located in Italy ass well, so you know that you are getting a high-quality leather. With a very small and sole proprietorship like Travi Borse, the company does everything except harvest its own raw materials. This company buys leather from a manufacturer then cuts the leather based on the pattern and preps the leather with any stamping it may need then produces the final product for the customer. Knowing that one person is putting all this effort into a product can truly increase the value of the bag. In small places like this, there is no pressure to go with the latest trend based on what is available because you can create whatever you can imagine.