Behind Bottega Veneta’s Iconic Bounce-Back from Near Bankruptcy

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Remember when Bottega Veneta was on the verge of bankruptcy? It’s probably hard to imagine, seeing that the mega-brand now enjoys something of a reputation for being quite the star in the luxury scene.

The label even continued to flourish after 2008 rocked the world with a global financial crisis, when its philosophy for “stealth luxury” resonated well with wealthy consumers who grew disillusioned with loud logos and flashy statement pieces.

Among Bottega’s star products were the Cabat tote, whose understated appearance and signature intrecciato weave reinforces the brand’s propensity for discrete luxury and sophistication.

Bottega was founded in 1966, before its famous acquiring by Gucci Group in 2001. Both labels are now part of Kering, a French conglomerate who also owns Alexander McQueen, Saint Lauren Paris and Balenciaga, among a number of other luxury labels.

The Italian luxury label has emerged from its darker days most notably in 2005 when it achieved its annual revenue of over $178 million, thanks to its global retail roll-out, starting with Milan, Paris and London. 2013 was also an exceptional year for the brand, when it reached $1.1 million in annual revenue, making the once-troubled label the second largest Kering-owned luxury label.

But business can only grow so much before it hits a sort of plateau and begins to dramatically.

Carlo Beretta, Bottega Veneta’s CEO mused about the way growth began to slow in the last quarter of 2015, before it became more pronounced earlier this year, considering waning tourism not confined to Europe.

“The challenge is to balance the short term results with a long term vision,” Beretta told the Business of Fashion. “This is why we know we have to carefully manage the evolution of our collection, the expansion of our product categories, and the evolution of our retail network.”

“We need to add new product, we need to add new categories, but that doesn’t mean we want to expand the number of stores. But for sure, we need to expand the square metres and the perimeter of our stores. And again, Rodeo Drive is a clear example of what we have to do.”

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