THE TALK: Constant Promotion Activities but Companies Need Liquidity

Giovanni Licastro, founder of the fashion jewelry brand, Amen, highlights the serious topic regarding the impact of the crisis on SMEs and retail

Companies related to the industry of reference but distant in terms of numbers. And yet, what Stefano Beraldo, Managing Director of OVS, told Fashion Network today when talking about the insufficient measures provided for in the Cura Italia decree to support the fashion and fashion accessory sector, are in line with what Giovanni Licastro, founder of the fashion jewelry brand, Amen, told us in this interview.  In a country where large and small companies operate in the fashion and accessory sector employing hundred thousands people, should it be included among the sectors in crisis?

«The situation at the moment is incontrollable. When trade is blocked, all ongoing orders stop, everything stops indefinitely. Let me give you an example. In just two days since the first decree, our in-store sales at Milan station plummeted by 80%. As did the sales points in Arese, Florence... But the costs keep running. In a country that does not allow you to ‘put things away’, where we work on a day by day basis and with a payment system of 180 days, which is now blocked, we need to intervene immediately and together».

It is too early to estimate the damage but can you give us a forecast about ‘post Covid-19’? «The first 3/4 months will certainly see a ‘natural selection’. Many companies will be forced to close or, in any case, re-invent themselves or change strategy. The real problem is the family-run sales points that we work with. Our sector, unfortunately, goes at a slow speed and finds it hard to understand the logics of some communication activities. We are inventing promotion activities, like, for example the Tree of Life for Father’s Day. In the areas that have been most hit, we also have to manage the psychosis of receiving a courier, and, in the southern Italian regions, where payments are still mainly in cash, they are scared of hand contact».

With a product whose price ranges from 19 to 200 Euros, and an average receipt of Euro 45, are on-line sales helping at the moment? «We are still operating online but sales from the e-commerce platform do not sustain the company. I am intensifying my branding activity and urging people to go on the website but I can already estimate a loss of 3/4 million Euros over the coming months. The government has to support us with liquidity in order to help companies, otherwise things will be very difficult and the recovery will be extremely slow. In these days of intense reflection, you can see that not everything is possible. We have to keep our feet on the ground». "There are crises that knock you down, leaving you with no energy to get up again. And then there are others that have a ‘phoenix effect’, or rather, the ability to rise again, to renew and re-invent thanks to genius and intuition". That is what you told us in the last interview published in VO+ January 2020.

«You reconnect with the family and reflect a great deal. I am at the window and watching what is happening because something will happen. We certainly need to look to the community, systematize and be united. This is the only way that we will even be able to think about rising again. Like my phoenix».

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