The footwear brand was born in Bologna. “We were the first to market them in Italy”
From the Pyrenees to the Bolognese hills. From the world of multi-brand retail to the new single-brand and online market scenarios. Ferrari Zenobi, an emilian company founded in the 1970s by two shoe industry agents, has always associated its name with Espadrilles, a registered trademark in Casalecchio di Reno, synonymous with a summer and naif shoe capable of cross the modes of each time. “We were one of the first to market this product in Italy,” says Martino Ferrari. He is today, along with his brother Lorenzo, in charge of this company founded by his father and his partner, who left the family in the early 1990’s. Specializing in the marketing and distribution of the espadrilles (or espadrillas) notes, in addition to seasonal collections, Ferrari Zenobi recorded a turnover of 3 million euros in 2016. And 90% came just thanks to a kind of footwear invented by the peasants of the Pyrenees around the fifteenth century and today spread in virtually every corner of the planet.
HOW THEY ARE DONE – “In Spain there is a factory that makes them for us using the traditional sewing technique,” Ferrari continues. It is a light, summer, fresh product made with natural products. ” The sole, in fact, is made of spelled or hemp, while the top of the shoe is sewn by hand with the cotton cloth. Just as peasant people did between France and the Iberian Peninsula but with different variations to satisfy the different tastes of the general public. “We also distribute other brands, such as the American Walker acquired in the 1980s,” continues Ferrari, “but the main one remains Espadrilles.” In Italy, where 90% of revenue is received, the Spaniard brand of the Bolognese company is distributed in around 600 multi-brand stores, while overseas major customers are located in Japan, Switzerland, Kuwait, Lebanon, Dubai and Bahrain . “In most cases, they are chains that sell Espadrilles in a number of stores,” he says. “Traditionally, we’re very close to our multi-brand retail customers, but the first experiences with the online shop since 2013 have brought satisfactory results and so we decided to spend more and more. At present – continues – the share of revenue from e-commerce is between 6 and 7%: by the end of the year we hope to reach at least 10. ” On the net, therefore, the ecological shoes marketed by the small Ferrari Zenobi (five employees) are gaining momentum, so the company has decided to launch more and more targeted in this area. But this is not the only strategy adopted to continue to grow. In March and June, the first two Espadrilles one-stop shops were inaugurated: one at Olbia airport, the other in Ibiza, for a total investment of around 100 thousand euros. “There will certainly be other such sales outlets, but for the moment it is still to be defined – concludes Ferrari -: we first want to evaluate the results of the first two. Espadrilles is a product strongly linked to the summer season, choosing to leave Sardinia and Ibiza was not casual: for sure, even for the next openings, we will look at similar areas. In Italy and abroad”.