3' di lettura
«To cater for the fashion industry’s demand for instant service you have to have your own kitchen». Andrea Lardini, chairman and CEO of Lardini, founded 41 years ago as a contract tailors in the little municipality of Filottrano, in the province of Ancona, and now a luxury men’s/women’s fashion brand, uses this ironic metaphor to describe the speed at which the sector is moving and to announce their most recent acquisition.
Lardini has secured a trouser production workshop that employs fifty people and which until now was a supplier to the Marche-based company; it is now an integral part of the business, strengthening its efforts to shorten the supply chain, a process being undertaken by many leading brands. “You need special products to cater for the needs of the market,” explains Andrea Lardini, who runs the company together with siblings Luigi (creative director), Lorena (head of finance) and Annarita (quality control). “The level of processing has increased and to keep up to speed you have to monitor the supply chain.”
Revenues at the €90 million milestone
A man with tailoring in his blood and a great believer in Italian quality, Andrea Lardini continues to invest in technology and human resources: 450 direct employees in the Filottrano factory (a town with a population of 9300), 1200 employed in the external workshops that work for the brand.
Indeed, production capacity remains the trump card of a company which has grown prudently and unhindered in the last few years - even during a challenging time for Italian fashion - complementing its classic productions for leading brands with the Lardini and Gabriele Pasini (acqui
red in 2013) brand collections, which now account for 60%: this year (the financial period closes at the end of September) revenues should hit the milestone of €90 million, up over 5% compared with 2018, with exports worth 70%.
But even more significantly, 2019 will be the year that Lardini is listed on the Borsa Italiana, its placement on the AIM market dedicated to SMEs almost a done deal. The listing, followed by Ubi Banca, will see a percentage close to 20% of the company’s capital floated on the market with the aim of earning around €30 million to dedicate to retail development.
London and Paris strategic
«Today we have around a dozen direct and franchise stores – explains Andrea Lardini – but now we need capital to open in strategic locations, like London and Paris, so we can further establish the brand». The current outlets are the flagship stores of Milan and Tokyo and the showcases in department stores in Korea (Seoul, Busan and Daegu), Spain (in Madrid, in three different El Corte Inglés stores) and Australia (Sydney and Melbourne). A boutique in Antwerp, Belgium will be open by Christmas. Back in June the Lardini online store was also launched where it is possible to purchase a selection of the men’s collection (also from the US and Canada).
The men’s lines remain the focal point of the brand’s range even if the Lardini women’s collection, launched in autumn 2013, is growing. More to the point, the production of women’s apparel for third parties is growing rapidly with 30% of the garments made by the company now part of women’s collections. The company owner reveals: «Not many people know that from when we were founded, in 1978, through to 1990 we only produced women’s fashion for labels like Valentino, Genny, Versace, Katherine Hamnett: it was a great learning curve that enabled us to acquire lots of experience with both the women’s and the men’s product. It is no coincidence that our men’s clothes are less structured, lighter and more modern: that’s because we come from the feminine world».
The step from provincial production to Piazza Affari is a big one and can be intimidating. «Our listing on the stock market is a bet I have made with myself, my family and others» concludes Andrea Lardini. A gamble that won’t damage the values of the family and the business: «We remain manufacturers by nature but we want to grow slowly and surely, according to healthy recipes».
In primo piano
Condotto da Giuseppe Cruciani, David Parenzo