Word of honor from Michele Norsa
MILAN – As a savvy industry veteran, Michele Norsa is fully aware of the opportunities, but also the enormous challenges, that independent labels face in doing business in Italy.
For this reason, Norsa, member of the board of directors of the Ermenegildo Zegna group and executive vice-president of Salvatore Ferragamo, puts his skills and knowledge at the disposal of the next generations of fashion entrepreneurs.
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He notably met, about five years ago, through his daughter Ilaria, the trio behind Blazé Milano, the Italian niche luxury brand founded in 2013 by former stylists Corrada Rodriguez D’Acri, Delfina Pinardi and Maria Sole Torlonia. Norsa began to monitor the brand until he became a strategic advisor.
“The fashion industry has given me a lot and I think it’s important for me to give something back, and one of the ways I can express my gratitude to the industry is to offer some advice to emerging brands with very good potential, ”he said.
Courtesy of Blazé Milano
The executive praised Blazé’s focus on providing a high-end and precise product offering, focused on the blazer as a versatile piece capable of empowering women and helping them express their own personalities, as well as on its communication strategy. “What drove me to collaborate with them is also the girls’ rational, professional and humble approach to business, which is essential at all levels,” he said.
According to the CFO of Blazé, Filippo Fani Ciotti, the company has a turnover of 4 million euros, which is expected to grow between 20 and 25% in 2021. Profit before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization amounts to at 20% of turnover.
From the 2022 resort season, the brand integrated commercial operations, thus ending the partnership with the Milan showroom 247. Following this strategic move, Blazé saw its orders increase by 100% compared to 2020, when the activity was strongly affected by the pandemic, and by 25% compared to 2019.
“I think Blazé is taking the right steps to grow its international business and, at the same time, it preserves that perfectionism and attention to detail that is essential for success in the luxury segment,” Norsa said, adding that, “if the market is returning to stable and normal conditions, Blazé is on the verge of a significant leap.
In particular, Norsa stressed that the main objectives of the brand will be the development of complementary categories enriching the product offering now focused on blazers, and international expansion, with a focus on Asia. “With just one product category, you can double your business, but it’s very difficult to multiply by five,” he said.
In Asia, Fani Ciotti said Blazé achieves great results with its Atelier service, which allows consumers to create their own unique blazer.
While Norsa believes it is too early for the brand to move into direct retail, pop-up shops in department stores or major resorts could be interesting for boosting business and gaining international visibility. .
Courtesy of Blazé Milano
While continuing its process of independent growth, Blazé is becoming an attractive brand for investors, according to Norsa. “However, opening up capital to an investor too early can be risky and at the same time, the current banking system offers attractive options for independent entrepreneurs,” he said.
“In the future, we might consider teaming up with a partner,” said Fani Ciotti, adding that “it will not only be a financial partner, but also someone with the technical skills to help us energize the business. set of operations. “
Blazé presents its spring 2022 collection on Wednesday at the Tommaso Calabro art gallery in Milan, where the brand will also unveil a Polaroid photo exhibition, describing the range worn by a diverse cast of international talent.
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