THE TALK: Sketching Out the Near Future

Massimo Gismondi, CEO of Gismondi 1754, tells us how he’s handling these weeks of limbo – with training courses, sketches for new collections, and virtual meetings with buyers and clients

How are you handling this emergency?
«Since December, Gismondi 1754 has been going nonstop. On December 18, we were listed on the stock market in Milan. In January, we took part in Vicenzaoro for the first time, and this was quite a success, with great feedback from important buyers from Italy and abroad. We had a similar experience in Doha, Qatar. With these changes in mind and with the accomplishments at the beginning of the year, even in the months before this happened, we’d created a warehouse that would meet the needs of our growth. And we began producing more in order to take on everything we had planned, including trade shows abroad, without ever putting the workshop in debt. We’ve basically already invested 80% of our resources for 2020, therefore, this enforced stop will have no effect on our production. On the contrary, the fact that we don’t necessarily have to manufacture has allowed me to really focus on free-flowing creativity. I’ve actually designed five collections, which I will perfect with my team over the coming months. In general, when I come up with a new collection, I wait a few months to see if I still love that idea. If it can really gain traction. 

With production stopped, what are you doing with your time?
Right now, we are reinforcing our brand identity. Normally, the first Tuesday of the month, we schedule training sessions, which is an extremely important time to share our philosophy with those who collaborate with us. When I realized how long this emergency phase would last, I decided to make training a daily thing. So we spend four hours per day, five days a week on training, sharing values, feelings, and designs. Business has been put to the side. What counts now is the spirit and philosophy of the brand. Now more than ever. Obviously, we do all of this on chat and with conference calls. During these times, we’ve even made a few sketches, focused in on elements of a story that will then become pieces. This is exactly what Gismondi 1754 is: interpreting a desire, a dream that takes shape, always trying to surprise the wearer with a detail that is dynamic and never the same.  I like to think of my jewels as waves in the sea. No two are alike. To achieve this, I have to get in sync with the client, with whom I try to create a personal relationship. Even during these weeks, I’ve received telephone calls from various clients who have asked me to create something special for them. With some of them, I’ve actually shared some of our innovations, spinning off ideas from future collections, with complete shared trust. 

Will the relationship with your clients change?
Our relationship starts from a direct, preferential relationship with the commissioner, and we become someone they can turn to, a sort of lifestyle provider. And perhaps, the fact that we don’t have much freedom now is increasing this need for more contact, for authenticity. I believe that from now on, it will be ever more important to focus on this type of personal relationship, especially for high-end pieces. It is very likely that people will not go out to shop as much and will seek out tailor-made pieces. Currently, this is 40 to 50% of our sales, but it will grow, as added value. This personalized service can be applied to our entry-level price of 2,000 euros, allowing the commissioner to choose from all of the variations. The product is shipped worldwide in 30 days. 

What are you most worried about in the near future?
I’m worried about people’s health. I mean, even beyond “phase one,” because we are going to have to learn to live with this virus for a while. And we won’t be fully at ease. We can’t return to our usual lives, and, for now, this seems to be something of an exception. But going back to our old habits will be very hard. Think about, for example, shops and showrooms. We will all be more careful about shaking hands with those that come in, and even trying on earrings or a necklace could be a problem. 

What new strategies are you thinking about relying on?
Though we are a small company, we are listed on the stock market, and this requires us to come up with a recovery plan to present to stockholders or potential stockholders.  This plan includes implementing e-commerce channels, which we will create via an agreement with the international Moda Operandi platform, starting the week after Easter. Here we will offer pieces at entry-level prices, but there is also the opportunity to personalize. At the same time, we will launch the Gismondi Shop Online, on our site. These are things that were already planned for 2021 but, given the current situation, we’ve decided to move them up. As I said, we are also planning to work one on one, creating virtual meeting rooms for each client, to preview certain pieces and make them feel like they are part of the design process. Or simply to allow them to distract themselves or even enjoy a moment of pure beauty. We also have an interactive newsletter for these clients and buyers that we will send out in a few days. This will be a virtual journey that will allow them to experience the excitement of the “making of” Gismondi 1754 pieces. They will be able to understand how we work, from the first sketch to the prototypes all the way to the final touches. This is an experience that I can’t wait to share with those who believe in our values. 

- Dipendenti: 17
- Markets: Italia, Europa, Russia, Stati Uniti, Qatar, Emirati Arabi
- % export: 76% ca
- Financial statement 2019:  5,9 mio ca
- Point of Sales, Italy: 4 (diretti 3 + concessonario 1)
- Point of Sales abroad: 16.

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