Today, we had the pleasure of speaking with the head of marketing from the Italian shoe company, Velasca. Not only did we speak with her, but we also visited the store and Fiege, a logistics company. These companies partially depend on each other to keep their business going, Velasca needed a company to ship their shoes and Fiege needs products to pack and ship to receive revenue. Both companies started out very small, but now both are very successful and in more than one location. Even though these companies seem very different from each other, they both have hard working employees that care about the quality of the product they put out. One very big difference between the two companies is the amount of time it takes them to finish their product or service. It takes Velasca about four weeks to finish one pair of shoes, while it only takes Fiege about 24 hours to process the order and have it ready to go out. It was cool to get to see the behind the scenes processes at Fiege, in a world with so much online shopping, we do not really think about the shipping process, but from now on I will.
Velasca’s main business is making leather shoes for men. These shoes are hand created by artisans and machines are only used for processes it is necessary for. This company just started as skilled shoe makers that did not know how to reach the market. They now do business mostly online but do have a small store in Milan. This company prides themselves on being a reference point for high quality because they are 100% Italian handmade shoes. They mostly operate from their online store because they like to use the direct to customer method, by using this technique you cut out the middle man, making it cheaper for Velasca and the customer. They like the fact that they have very few stores open because that makes the product a bit rarer and gives the customer a feeling of exclusiveness. They do not even do marketing other than online, they use sites like Facebook to draw in customers. This is a very smart technique since now so much is done online and so much of the population has Facebook. They also use people that they think will have a positive influence to market their product. This company goes above and beyond with its online presence, they create an atmosphere of authenticity on their website so the customer gets the full experience and can even watch a video on how the shoe is made. However, this is not the only thing they do, they also have a tab of articles about the shoes or just the company in general. To go along with all these great website features they also have great customer service. Their customers can review the products they purchased and if they were not happy Velasca will reach out to them and try to make it right.
To expand in the future, Velassca plans to increase their number of store fronts open by only a small amount. After opening their first store, they saw a dramatic increase in revenues from a single storefront so by adding more they can make even more. However, online they plan to maintain and grow their business and get more into the United States. To keep up with the expansion of their business, they will need to find more artisans to work for them, which is becoming scarce. They will also need more money from investors, it is more difficult to get funding from investors in Italy than it is in America. That is the big difference between companies in Italy compared to companies in the United States, even companies that are operated very similarly to Velasca. For example, Kylie Jenner has an online business called Kylie Cosmetics that she sells makeup from and it is operated completely online. This is similar to Velasca because they are both ran almost completely online and they are both high end products. However, this is also very different from Velasca because they obviously sell very different products and Velasca can be found in a few stores. Overall, the way businesses are ran in the United States compared to Italy is slightly different because it is so much easier for anyone to start a business in the United States than it is in Italy. Also, the Italians seem to take more pride in their work and make hand made products.