Big Shoes to Fill

Velasca is definitely one of the smaller of the businesses that we have visit since we have arrived in Italy. It only has a total of two storefronts, one in Milan and one in Rome, which was just opened very recently. The company itself was started by two men and has expanded since to about 15 people in total. Because of their small size they have to work very hard in order to compete in the current market. They pride themselves very heavily on their artisan craftsmanship that provides in incredible quality to everyone of their products. Also this idea of quality is the main reason they only have a few store fronts and aren’t selling to any retail stores. They want their products to go straight from them to the customer to assure the greatest and fastest service possible.

They have a few major philosophies that define their business structure and interactions with customers. Some of these include things like high quality, high value, affordable prices, and, of course, made in Italy. This last claim is a major component in their philosophies and it relates heavily to a lot of companies that we see in the United States. It brings up the question of buying cheaply or buying local and supporting their home country. Often the cheapest things are produced outside of the company in places like China and many people buy these without quality in mind. Some people, however, are more focused on quality and will buy locally, carefully produced items, which is exactly what Velasca is trying to capitalize on.

They had began as solely a business shoe company but has since then expanded to include lines for casual shoes and boots. This is obviously a very important decision on their part because it will expand their customer base and allow them to draw in more revenue. For example, we were told that they had brought in a total revenue of 1.2 million euros this year. To me this seems like a good amount of money and is enough where the company itself isn’t struggling to get by but I’m sure that it is not enough for the company to experience any large-scale growth.

One major part of the presentation was on the topic of marketing. The woman giving the presentation was actually the head of marketing for the company as a whole so she gave us a lot of important information regarding marketing. For one thing, she mentioned that the target audience of the company is 30+ year old business men. Most of their sales and business is done online (approximately 70%) so their online marketing is very important. We were taught many different methods but one of these was probably the most relevant to today’s society. One method they use is using peoples searches and pacing adds on places like social media. For example, if I were to google ‘Italian dress shoes’ and browsed for a little bit, a lot of options would pop up. Then lets say I go on Facebook later and sure enough there is an ad in my feed for Velasca shoes in Italy telling me to come purchase their products. These kind of advertisements are very effective because they can get out to not only a larger audience than they would normally have access to, but it will also hit people who are interested in the product because they had previously looked it up. They also try to advertise using apps like snapchat or Instagram to help expand the network even more.

Along with online advertising, Velasca also advertises in major magazines like Vogue. Along with magazines like this they have people called “influencers” help them advertise their products. Since celebrities are basically untouchable due to the ridiculously high cost of acquiring their help, Velasca has turned to influencers to find help. Am influencer is a person who is very popular on social media and therefore has a very large fan base. These people will then wear clothes from a company, such as Velasca, which will encourage many of their followers and supporters to support that company too.

Velasca was definitely an incredible company to visit because we were able to see a company that started from nothing begin their journey to be a larger name brand. I hope that they will have the resources and good fortune to continue to expand their company and one day make it big.

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