Discovering Elisabetta Franchi’s World with Daniela Vertemati
After working for PINKO and POMPEA among others, Daniela Vertemati’s empathy for people has played a major role throughout her journey in the retail world and ultimately has led her to her current position at Elisabetta Franchi – an Italian luxury fashion brand with great international reputation. MiND had the pleasure of speaking with the Retail Manager Daniela and delving into how Elisabetta’s company shakes up the world of fashion.
Can you walk us through your background and how you got where you are today?
I started working when I was very young because I really wanted to enter the world of stores. My dream as a child was to be a saleswoman. Being in contact with people was the most rewarding thing for me on a human level, as well as establishing a relationship of trust and exchange of goods/money with them. When I was young, the world of stores was very different from now. Retail absolutely did not exist. Instead, there were stores of property with their own sellers.
As a seller, I worked my way up in terms of building a relationship with the owner. After two years, I called myself into question and joined a company in Milan – Intimo 3 – for which I worked for 15 years. I started as a shop assistant, then I moved on to be a manager and owner of two sales points in two shopping centers. At that time, Intimo 3 was one of the first companies to enter the retail world. After selling the two stores to La Perla group, I became responsible for 26 stores located in north-eastern Italy. It was my first experience as Area Manager until La Perla group sold all the stores to Calzedonia.
Later, I was recommended to Pinko, where I started a wonderful adventure and where I entered the real fashion world. In the boutiques I finally started living in contact with people. After a period at Miroglio – a great retail school – where I was in charge of Motivi, Oltre and Fiorella Rubino as Area Manager and later as a buyer, I took an opportunity at Pompea as Retail Manager Outlet.
“Being in contact with people was the most rewarding thing for me”
What made you approach Elisabetta Franchi?
I was interested in Elisabetta Franchi as a company, partly because it’s a front-line company with luxury boutiques, products at a high price etc., but also because Elisabetta Franchi impressed me as a person. There was an imprinting with her. The company was born out of a woman belonging to a very poor family. Despite this, she has managed to build a large, ever-changing empire. Currently there are almost 1,000 Elisabetta Franchi distributors worldwide.
Elisabetta always wants to be part of everything. She controls everything, reads every single report we write and gives us her opinion. She’s also working a lot with social media. For example, her Instagram account reflects exactly her real life. Her community knows precisely what she is doing and that is how they fell in love with her story and in particular with her as a person. She’s totally an influencer. What she wears is always automatically sold out.
"For me, working for Elisabetta Franchi is discipline, respect, but also passion, honesty and trust."
Not to mention her love for animals, and especially for dogs. She has always been active in the defense of animal rights through the support of numerous initiatives for their protection. Finally, she has incorporated all these initiatives into a single project: the Elisabetta Franchi Onlus Foundation.
She invites all employees to bring their pets to work, so in our offices we have all kind of dogs like Labrador, Pitbull and so on. They live in our space and stay with their masters during the day. This pet hospitality makes us understand Elisabetta’s openness of mind, and her being a woman ahead of the times.
How is Elisabetta Franchi’s store planning?
We have an online schedule that is always shared with Elisabetta and her social networks. She wears a dress; her picture is posted on social media and the dress that our community sees is already in our boutique. As for off-line planning, we have always exhibited some must-have items that Elisabetta is wearing or that are special items for her or that we want to revive.
Everyone is talking about retail’s major shift to online stores. Do you think it’s a challenge or an opportunity?
Maybe I’m a bit old-fashioned, but in some respects I’m sorry to see that, while once the seller’s role was a point of reference, now, customers entering the stores are so informed by our social media that they ask you directly for the product they already saw on Instagram. The boutiques’ added value is the customer’s experience, the human aspect. Today, people are only looking for experiences.
How do the Elisabetta Franchi store concepts reflect the fashion designer’s style and her collection?
Entering an Elisabetta Franchi store means fully enjoying the brand’s style. The format is welcoming, refined and elegant, to reflect the codes of the Elisabetta Franchi style and give a concrete and direct perception of the collections. All the clothes and accessories are mixed with the environment and convey the boutique simultaneously a seductive and intimate atmosphere, which evokes a sense of sophisticated luxury.
What is the story behind the Betty Doll?
Since she was a child, Elisabetta had this desire to draw and create. Initially, she began to draw and sew clothes for her own doll, named Betty (from Elisabetta). She imagined herself to be Betty and to have all these clothes that she couldn’t afford in real life. Then, growing up Elisabetta became Betty. Now she designs clothes for every woman, who are all her “Betty Dolls”. She finally has the chance to create the clothes that she has always wanted and gets to see them worn by her Betty dolls around the world. This is the reason why we have the mini mannequins in our stores, the Betty Dolls, which have seasonal looks custom-designed by our seamstresses.
Considering the constant expansion of Elisabetta Franchi’s Retail Project, what is the brand’s next destination?
America. We have already opened the doors to America through the web and, at the moment, we are dealing with department stores to create a first chain of openings starting from Florida. The Elisabetta Franchi Retail Project is in constant expansion and always looks at new challenges and new territories with great interest. In Italy, for example, we are thinking of some relocations in new strategic positions.
Passionate, determined and focused are just a few words to describe Daniela and the love for her job at Elisabetta Franchi. We at MiND really appreciated the opportunity to talk to her in Milan and we wish her good luck with her future retail projects.