We dedicated our day to Bottega Velasca, today. Bottega Velasca was formed in 2013 when a young man at a consulting agency was working in Eastern Asia and needed a new pair of shoes. All of the shoes cost around 500 euros for a quality pair, and this young man decided to go for it and start his own company. Bottega Velasca was born, and the mission is to provide the highest quality shoes for a reasonable price by quite literally “cutting out the middleman” and directly marketing the customer with a unique and different business model.
Bottega Velasca’s main market is men’s professional shoes. When the company was first made, the founders considered making women’s shoes as well. However, they decided that the best thing to do would be to narrow their market to a specific audience. Therefore, they chose their original market, men from around 25-50 in more professional work settings, like doctors and businessmen. Bottega Velasca is unique in the sense that they do all of their marketing online. Their business model is to target a potential customer through social media and other online marketing. Because Bottega Velasca cuts out the middleman, they originally sold strictly online, then as their sales began to increase, they opened up a “flagship” store in Milan and just three months ago, opened up another one in Rome. The company hopes that soon they will be able to open up more stores in “target” countries, such as in Europe and even New York City. The company also hopes to continue to grow and expand in their shoe variety and company size. Currently, 30% of their sales are earned from selling in Milan alone, so they hope that by opening more stores in prime locations, their revenue will continue to grow. It is projected currently that their revenue should double every year consistently. Bottega Velasca is able to do this through their ability to interact with customers through email, social media, and influencers. Paola, the head of marketing at Bottega Velasca, explained to us that they collaborated with a famous instagram influencer to design a line of shoes that followed his style. These shoes are currently their bestsellers, and the company has a huge realm of new customers to engage with. Bottega Velasca hopes to sell the company for a decent amount of money in the future, and do it all over again. Paola explained that with a solid business model, you can recycle companies in various markets.
Bottega Velasca reminds me of the startup company Ivory Ella, who originally started by making women’s varsity t-shirts with images of an elephant on them, and pledged to donate 10% of their earnings to elephant conservation. The young woman who started up the company worked strictly through social media, and the company has skyrocketed to make more merchandise from beach blankets to water bottles and necklaces. Ivory Ella had a goal, or an idea, just like Bottega Velasca, and decided to act on it and “cut out the middleman” and reach potential customers directly through social media and word of mouth. These two companies reminded me of one another, due to the young founder with a unique idea and unconventional business model that allows the company to reach such great success.
The industry of Bottega Velasca is footwear, and more specifically the major products men’s professional and dressier footwear, such as loafers and moccasins, all made of leather. Bottega Velasca’s biggest competitors are other men’s footwear companies, such as Church and Tots. Big department stores such as Macy’s or Coin could also pose a threat for Bottega Velasca. Some unique challenges for the men’s shoe wear companies such as Bottega Velasca are trying to present the product in a new or innovative way so that the targeted market even considers purchasing a new pair of shoes. This could be described as “trying to reinvent the wheel” because it may be difficult for companies to persuade a potential customer to try their product over other products and due to shoes fitting so differently for every person, making sure shoes fit for every customer. Some opportunities could also still be “reinventing the wheel” giving designers and marketers an opportunity to use creative freedom to reach a market in a unique way, like Bottega Velasca did with strictly online marketing.
The Bottega Velasca company marketing presentation, logistics center tour, and storefront tour were an incredible experience and has inspired me in the various careers I could take when I am older.