A Conversation with Francesco Galli
"Stay hungry. Stay foolish." Steve Jobs
It was 1970 when in Mantua, Giuseppe Galli and his wife Lucia Schiavi opened the doors of a space entirely dedicated to accessories.
It is the beginning of a story linked to the world of fashion and retail, it is the story of Folli Follie.
Brescia in 1976, Verona in 1984, Bologna in 1998, Riccione in 2004, openings which will be followed by important renovations over the years, which will transform the stores into unique spaces, thanks also to the partnership with the Baciocchi Associati studio and collaborations with other important players in the sector, such as Gianni Peroni for the ONE-OFF stores and with the Ratti boutique for the FR concept stores.
A challenge after another, a growth and a desire for continuous renewal, which over the years have dedicated Folli Follie and the Galli family to icons of luxury research in the Italian and international scene.
In 2020 the company celebrates its first 50 years.
I who, even before setting foot in the fashion sector, recognized in the status of the Folli Follie boutiques, I am happy to be able to share this interview with Francesco Galli, son of the two founders, today at the lead of the company.
Although there is a lot of talk about online, your Group continues to invest heavily in physical stores. What are the advantages that online brings to the boutique and vice versa?
We believe that in order to grow in 2020 the best strategy is the omnichannel one. Our boutiques are located in strategic locations where tourism is at the center of the economy, for this reason they represent a point of contact with new potential customers who, once back in their countries of origin, can continue the shopping experience through our websites. In addition, our focus in fifty years of activity has always been aimed at the customer and his loyalty and through the integration between boutiques and online we are sure to increasingly guarantee a tailor made service tailored to his needs.
How important are brands and how much is the identity and history of the boutique?
They cannot survive one without the other. Since the birth of the first boutique in Mantua, the identity of Folli Follie has always been defined by the desire to bring an exclusive and at the same time research selection of brands to an original space, in terms of structure and uniqueness, with the aim of creating an outstanding shopping experience.
What is the biggest challenge you think you have to face in the decade that has just begun?The biggest challenge is to be able to make a difference in an increasingly competitive market. For this reason, in the company we have teams dedicated to the research and implementation of new communication and e-commerce tools capable of offering the user an increasingly engaging experience. Always in order to maintain our uniqueness, we invest heavily in the group's human capital, convinced that people - buyers, sales staff, logistics staff, etc. - are the true differential to bet on.
The streetwear cult is ending: welcome back tailoring?
Although future trends are mainly devoted to tailoring, streetwear will not completely disappear, rather it will transform following the needs of a consolidated niche of fans of the genre. Streetwear will therefore go hand in hand with tailoring.
50 years of Folli Follie: which was the craziest?
The craziest adventure was to manage to bring Folli Follie while remaining faithful to the values handed down, passing them on to the new generations through the use of increasingly hybrid and dynamic formats, just think of the ONE-OFF concept store of Brescia.
Mantua, Brescia, Bologna, Verona and Riccione: recommend a place for each city.
Choosing a place for each city is not the easiest of businesses! Mantua, Brescia, Bologna, Verona and Riccione, all have in common an invaluable historical and artistic value that makes them among the most popular destinations in Italy. Having to give advice to those who have never visited them, I would refer to the little jewels that have made the history of our country: as regards Mantua I would say the Scientific Theater Del Bibiena where Mozart held one of the first concerts, in Brescia instead I would recommend a dip into art in the Pinacoteca Tosio Martinengo. Do not miss the museum dedicated to the history of the lyrical universe, Amo Arena Museo Opera for Verona, while a few steps from the boutique in Bologna we find the small church of Santa Maria della Vita, a beautiful and elegant building that houses one of the greatest masterpieces that you can find in the city by Niccolò dell'Arca. We end our trip to Riccione where one of the places I like to visit for a relaxing break is the ex-nursery Arboreto Cicchetti transformed today into a multipurpose space.
After all, we must never forget that culture and fashion have always influenced each other.