The next time you want to shop for a truly unique shoe, keep De Siena in mind. It is one of those fairytale Shoe stories that every woman who is even a little bit in love with Luxury ( and who isn’t right?) will love.
Today, we sit down with Francesco Lorenzi, De Siena‘s handsome Creative Director to talk to him about the frenzy behind the fashion. Shoe Fashion, that is.
FUTURE NOTION (FN) : Tell us a little bit more about yourself and how did you decide to De Siena.
Francesco Lorenzi (FL) : To be honest I’m still asking myself every day why I started it and I can tell you that so far, and considering this tough economical period, I haven’t found an answer that makes sense: it’s probably pure passion and a little touch of craziness!
I grew up in a textile district not far away from Florence, and my family was in the textile business, so I grew up amongst fabric swatches, colors, drawings. I started my career first as a textile designer and later on became head of design for several companies. There came a point where I was tired of working to make “other people’s dreams” come true and decided it was time to pursue my own dreams. That’s when I started my own company, De Siena.
FN : Why Shoes?
FL : The decision to start a Shoe business came first because I envied a lot of famous shoes designers who always make women so happy with their creations and also because I have always bought so many shoes as presents for my friends that I thought having my own line would be a money-saving trick 😉
Jokes apart, I have always been in love with and attracted to the world of shoes. I’m passionate about the creative and artisanal skills you need in order to create a masterpiece: a perfect shoe is so complicated to design and produce that it is a real challenge to make it happen.
FN : The economy is not good right now, what is your secret to being able to succeed as a new brand? any tips for aspiring designers too?
FL : Yes unfortunately, it is extremely difficult to succeed with a new brand; you have many competitors in the market and the big brands have huge financial resources, which makes competition very hard for the newcomers.
I believe that the secret to success is exactly the same as 50 years ago:
1. offer a high quality product, almost handmade – do you know that 12 different people are working on a single pair of shoes in order to produce it?;
2. find a producer that will be your best source of all your business and treat him like your best shareholder.
3. find the right people to help you run the business, not just cold professionals but individuals that are 100% committed to your project, and make them part of the success of the company.
If you start with these basics, sooner or later you will succeed in the market…of course you need many hours of hard work, during the week end, nights, holydays…almost after thinking about your brand every single minute on a 24/7 basis!
FN : Your shoes are Made in Italy – is it difficult to keep the price points , quality and workmanship how you want it? How do you do it? constant bargaining with factory 🙂
FL : Being Italian, I’m very proud to produce and present to the market a 100% made in Italy product.
Working with small shoemakers companies (with an average of maybe 30 employees) brings a specific story and very deep meaning for me: every single person in these companies are so skilled, competent and committed, and you can almost feel the love they bring into your product.
The drawback is that, being small, sometimes lead to a problem. Most of these people are so goodhearted and passionate about shoes that they would always like to help everybody, they can’t say “no” and they risk to accept overloads of orders that are way over their capacity, thus leading to delivery delays. This is something everybody needs to be careful with.
As for the bargaining issue, it’s not such a big difficulty, but of course being Italian makes it much easier!
More of De Seina’s Luxury Shoes being Made in Italy – It takes roughly 12 people to produce a pair of De Seina Shoes.
FN : Who are your style inspirations?
FL : My style inspirations are the big designers like Valentino, the French masters like Chanel, Dior, or the Italians like Prada…all those brands that are timeless but always so modern, never vulgar and that are able to give an “allure” of romanticism to women.
FN : Who are your customers?
FL: I love to mix the romanticism as described above together with a rock style: I’m thinking of somebody like Cinderella with AC/DC on the Ipod.
I’m addressing my products to the everyday woman – a sexy yet sophisticated individual, who wants to feel like in a fairy tale, and will be able to dream while wearing her shoes “of desire”.
FN : You seem to be able to do it all – photography, styling, designing, AND run a business – how many hours do you sleep a week ? 🙂
FL : I must admit that I can’t sleep much during the night. I always wake up very early in the morning and start making plans for the day. I would say I sleep around 5 hours a night, so 35 hrs a week.
There we go kids, the secret behind successfully launching a luxury shoe label with European flair and panache. 35 hours of sleep a week is your answer!