27.10 EF Magazine
Fashion Designer talks about her future business plan

TEXTILWIRTSCHAFT – October 27th, 2016

Womanpower made in Bologna

Elisabetta Franchi made a name for herself in the premium luxury womenswear segment. Now, the Italian designer is focusing on the German female market.

This woman is a phenomenon. Within a one-hour interview, she did not sit still for a minute. The designer from Bologna, the Tortellini homeland, is tiny but her laugh fills the whole room. “All the women from the Emilia-Romagna region are famous for their cooking expertise. We like to have the rolling pin in our hands, which helps to keep an eye on the men too“. About the fashion design, she says, “You don’t learn it to school. It is something you have inside or you just do not have it“.

And Franchi got it. With her feminine designs, she has a safe place in the full wardrobes of many women. The Italian is settled within the segment of ‘Affordable Luxury’ including collections of big fashion houses such as M Missoni and Roberto Cavalli. The average price for a dress, a shirt and trousers is about 350 Euros. From tailor-made office looks up to evening gowns.

In September 2014, Elisabetta Franchi celebrated its debut in the Milan Fashion Week, it is present in 1.100 multi-brand stores, in 20 monobrand boutique in Italy and 47 worldwide. The turnover in 2015 was 101 million euro with net income of 18 million euro.

In 1998, after a career at Imperial, known in Germany as Jeans Please, chose to take an independent path. “I cannot draw, but I do sketches,” says Elisabetta Franchi. “I have a clear vision of how a woman should dress. Only a well-defined vision can lead you to success in a world that already has everything.”

Elisabetta Franchi’s creativity has flanked by CEO Eugenio Manghi, from the Max Mara Group and the fund Trilantic Capital Partners, which owns a 25% holding.
“Within three years we want to increase turnover by 50%,” says Manghi about the ambitious targets of the Maison. Goals that should have achieved through the expansion of the store network and by enhancing the accessories business, which currently accounts for 10% of sales. In order to get the attention of the largest department stores, it will be also launched a Pre-Collection from the FW17 season. Instead of four times a year, collections will now be presented six times a year and will be divided as follows: Pre, Main and Show collection, for a total of about 800 pieces.

Important sales markets are Russia, China and the Middle East. Germany also plays an important role in the plans of the company.
At the time, the brand Elisabetta Franchi is represented by the distributor Fashion Square in Duesseldorf, Germany, and is available in 28 stores and at the Galeries Lafayette in Berlin. “We are also in contact with Breuninger, KaDeWe and Ludwig Beck,” says Manghi. In the medium term, the CEO claims that they will want to be present with 50/60 Flagship stores and several department stores worldwide.

Elisabetta Franchi has no doubt that the German women want to have a piece of her collection in their wardrobe “I initially was afraid that Germany would be a difficult market, given the tastes are so different.” She adds, “However, it was easier than I thought. The German women, who can afford my clothes, wear them. They are irresistible!” And she bursts into laughter.