Longarone, 23 February 2018 - The new year has begun and 2018 is set to be an important one for De Rigo, the prestigious Italian family business which, after 40 years in the industry, has succeeded in becoming a leading force in the international eyewear sector.
In the space of just 4 decades, the small family business “Charme Lunettes” established back in 1978 by brothers Ennio and Walter, has become “De Rigo” and now offers the quality of fine Italian manufacturing worldwide, through the development of its global business model. Today De Rigo is managed by the second generation of the De Rigo family, namely Ennio and Emiliana De Rigo, assisted by their children Massimo – Executive Vice President – and Barbara – Marketing Director of House Brands - with her husband Maurizio Dessolis in the role of Executive Vice President. And Michele Aracri, who has been at the family’s side since they embarked on their mission many years ago, is still the CEO of the company today the company continues to pursue new horizons, in line with the development of its products and strategies, but it still retains its original identity, continuing to uphold uniqueness as the cornerstone of its activity in all fields. Today it is the only player in the international eyewear field to conserve a capital structure that is 100% entrepreneurial.
A company that is always one step ahead of the pack and maintains a long-term strategic vision, as clearly demonstrated by the decisions made by the group in the various fields of business.
The house brands, a key intuition strengthened by winning marketing choices
One of the most significant factors in affirming the status of De Rigo as market leader has been in-house development of know-how and skills for its own house brands. Its investments in the creation of prestigious brands such as Police (1983) and Sting (1985) and the takeover of Lozza (1983) have proved to be essential moves for assigning an exclusive identity to the business of De Rigo, reinforced by particularly effective and innovative marketing and advertising strategies. Police, which has become a cult brand worldwide, thanks to its design, the high quality of the product and effective brand advertising, can be considered a truly exceptional case history: a brand specialised in eyewear that has successfully extended its range to include watches, jewellery, fragrances, clothing and leather goods. The takeover of Lozza, the oldest brand in the eyewear sector, not only provided the group with interesting market shares but also conferred additional prestige and notoriety to the brands launched by the company. To date, the De Rigo house brands account for over 30% of the group’s turnover.
40 unique years, spent accompanying the top fashion houses and becoming one of the first players to create licences designed to target the local markets
Over the years, De Rigo has forged countless partnerships with important players in the world of fashion and luxury goods: from international designer brands such as Chopard, Céline, Fendi, Givenchy to prestigious Italian fashion brands like Blumarine, Furla, Prada and Trussardi. Additionally, when it comes to licences, De Rigo has successfully created a unique, personal model, combining its strong presence in the global markets with a glocal vision, geared towards maximum flexibility and implemented by developing products destined for specific markets, such as the Asian and Hispanic ones, for example. This context provides the backdrop for the licences established from highly successful designer brands in specific geographical areas, such as Escada, Tous, Victor Hugo and finally Carolina Herrera, which has become an international sales sensation in a short space of time.
The company’s physical presence in the markets and the Retail Division
De Rigo has realised the importance of effectively managing its product distribution all over the world and this has driven it to be physically present in its most strategic markets. Indeed, it has opened no less than 16 sales branches overseas, including those opened most recently in the USA and Australia. In parallel, De Rigo has always consolidated its long-term collaborations with the most strategic dealers - to date it works with over 100 distributors all over the world - by establishing real partnerships with them. This approach has always been one adopted by the group in its relations with the optician channel, which to date comprises an international network of 50,000 regular customers, distributed throughout 80 countries. A channel in which the company from Longarone has always firmly believed, since back in the 1980s when it played an important part in developing the sunglass segment in optician stores.
This far-sighted vision continued to pay dividends in time when the group began purchasing important chains of stores with a high strategic value, such as General Optica in Spain, Mais Optica in Portugal, Opmar Optik in Turkey and Boots Opticians in UK, in which it owns a share. A network which today composes the group’s Retail Division, and accounts for 45% of its total revenue, estimated at 429.5 million euro in the 2017 financial statement.
Global business, Italian spirit
With 3,000 employees worldwide, the De Rigo group still maintains a large production base in Italy, with a plant in the eyewear district of Longarone, where it employs almost 1,000 workers and which, now more than ever, is geared towards renewing the technologies and digitalising the processes in use. The creative department is also based in Italy, the cradle of design and creativity. This is a strategic area where resources and talented workers study materials, shapes and colours, with a view to offering styles that are always new, original, and suitable for the different markets in which the group operates. Different consumer bases, different requirements and different levels of product: winning market share in the global scenario by adopting a “tailor-made” approach for each market is definitely one of the distinctive traits of De Rigo.
And another one is the attention it pays to its people and to managing its human relationships. “We are very attached to our people, and our relationship with the people who work in De Rigo is a family one. This is something we are very proud of” – state Ennio and Emiliana De Rigo. “We believe in certain values, and seek to convey them primarily to our children, but also to the people who work with us. Our company is made of people”. Human resources are therefore the true strength of this company which supports them through a welfare-oriented approach and a management model that is still family-led and close to the needs of the local areas.
This same focus on people is also the driving force behind the group’s most important project for 2018: the establishment of Fondazione De Rigo HEART (Health, Education & Art for Youth), which will support programmes - for children and young people - designed to promote personal and intellectual development, and art in the forms of creativity and self-expression.
“The gift we received from our parents was, and still is, a very precious jewel. Our challenge and the mission we pursue every single day is to always fly the flag of De Rigo high in the world, without distorting the values that have distinguished the company in which we were born and brought up for the last 40 years. A company that started out in Longarone and has developed to reach global heights of success and which is now our whole life, as well as our family – conclude Barbara and Massimo De Rigo.