If the shoe fits

Our first day back in Milan and it feels like we’re back home from a vacation within a vacation. Of all the cities, I feel most home at Milan, a city with ample beauty and fashion with less tourism than the other cities we visited. Speaking of fashion, today, we visited Velasca, a company that my group researched and presented before we arrived in Italy. This prior research helped me better understand Valesca and our visit today allowed me to further explore the goals and process of this company.

Valesca is a relatively new start-up company dedicated to producing leather shoes for middle aged men. The two founders, Erinco Castati and Jacopo Sebastio gathered their contacts with expertise in order to find leaders for various departments such as customer care, digital marketing, stores, and others. The company began as an online business and recently opened two storefronts: one in Milan and one in Verona. Their prices for online shoes and prices in storefronts are both the same because Velasca picks up the additional cost needed to maintain the stores.  They avoided stores because they emphasize avoiding the middleman which adds costs. They aim to directly reach the customer from their artisan. Valesca faces a high amount of competition and thus, their goal is to become a reference point for high quality. Indeed, their prices reflect this high quality. The shoe prices usually begin at about 185 euros. Due to their online business, they have sales channels internationally in the Philippines, Japan, United States, Dubai, and other countries.

Velasca is in the Italian shoe industry. Many companies in this industry also create primarily leather shoes. More specifically Velasca is in the industry that produces Italian leather shoes for middle aged men. Other companies that participate in this industry and pose competition to Velasca include Tods and Church’s. These companies also produce shoes for women but follow the characteristics of this industry including high price, high quality, and pure leather. These competitors produce similar products. The major product is leather shoes however they are divided into categories. For example, Velasca just released their line of leather sneakers along with shoes for special ceremonies and shoes for business. Aside from occasion, shoes are divided by their rubber soles and the type of leather used to produce the shoes. These companies have an opportunity for expansion in their company because of the variety of shoes available. For example, Velasca currently only produces pure leather shoes for middle aged men. However, they can also produce womens’ leather shoes. In addition, their competitors can expand into different types of shoes and for a larger selection of ages.

Velasca goal is to continue to build their prominence in the Italian market before establishing additional sales abroad. In addition, they are seeking additional artists instead of the sales staff. This will ensure that they have enough employees to fulfill the product demand. In addition, they plan to build additional stores in Italy to further their brand and earn more profits especially because the first store brought them 1.2 million dollars in revenue their first fiscal year.

In general, Velsca’s model is similar to any startup company in the United States. I received my glasses from Zenni Opticals which is a relatively new glasses ordering system. This is a solely online based company which is slightly different from Velasca because they do not have any storefronts. In addition, the prices of their lens are much cheaper than the shoes that Velasca sells but their quality is impeccable for the price. Velasca has a few store fronts, however, Zenni is only an online business. Due to their high profits, they may consider opening storefronts in the future like Velasca.

I enjoyed visiting the different aspects of this companies especially because we visited the warehouse and storefront. This was my first experience with a warehouse so I had the opportunity to learn the behind the scenes of shipping. Even though I’m pretty sure that Velasca will not consider producing shoes for women, I hope it does because their leather shoes are absolutely beautiful and I’m sure they would feel comfortable too. Here’s to the last few days of which I am trying to enjoy every second. Until next time- Ciao! 

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