Whereas other brands spend a lot of money on testimonials, the company
owner is also the top brand ambassador at the Italian shoe manufacturing company Santoni. Read about what he does differently and what he does better.
He is good. Really good. I would even say that Signor Giuseppe Santoni from Corridonia, a small Italian village, is perfect. Not only because his product is perfect. He is good because he comes across as extravagant and exclusive as the shoes made by his company. And who can be a better brand ambassador than the managing director himself? Giuseppe Santoni does not act a role; he simply is himself. He loves beautiful, expensive things and is very crazy about detail. Good is not good enough for him; he wants it to be different and better. He is a personality, in everyday life and all the more in his profession. Everyone in the fashion industry knows the man who exclusively wears blue suits and shoes. The man who even has his pyjamas made to measure and describes his own shoes as something “you don’t need but must have.”
Giuseppe Santoni does not like the mass. And enviers might throw in that with his body height he would be swallowed up in it. But no matter what drives this man from Central Italy, he loves it exotic and chic. According to his own statement, saving is not his cup of tea. But he only spends money if the offer is worthwhile. Rarity, quality and passion are details that he appreciates. It is therefore not surprising that cars and watches make his heart beat faster. He has great respect for everything that boasts quality and passion. And for people who do not accept mediocrity. And that is exactly the secret behind the Santoni brand which has been successful for more than 40 years.
His father Andrea was just like him; he did not want to be one among many but looked for, and found, his own way. Signor Santoni sen. was convinced that only timeless design in combination with top quality would sell in the long run. Especially in times when mass-produced glued shoes from Asia flooded the market. Andrea Santoni was also aware that there were enough shoemakers, both good and bad, who were up to their tricks in his home country Italy. That is why he flew to America in the mid-1970’s with the first shoe collection hand-made by him and his wife in their living room and absolutely outstanding in terms of quality. And his plan worked. The American connoisseurs practically tore the elegant Italian shoes out of his hands and the Asians and Europeans also gradually became aware that a Santoni pair of shoes are the ne plus ultra.
Detail is what counts
In 1990, Andrea Santoni officially handed over the factory and the responsibility for about 500 employees to his son. By the way, without the requirement to continue to pursue uncompromising craftsmanship in the future.
. But a change to automated production was never an option for his son. In his opinion, you’ve got to have the right feel of a genius craftsman for making a Santoni shoe. And a machine has no passion. It does not concern itself with the product. He does not want people to do something because they have to. He wants each shoe to be made in pursuit of perfection or, to use his words, under the “crazy about detail” motto. This guiding principle that everyone does what he can do best is therefore applicable throughout his company. Giuseppe Santoni would never meddle in the work of the employees in the factory halls. “This is where Dad Andrea and Mum Rosa still have the say.”
Giuseppe Santoni instead concentrates on the development of new models and the marketing and presentation of the brand. In recent years, he made comprehensive investments in a re-branding of the design and in the marketing and public relations work. He continuously seeks product partners who manufacture with the same passion and the same high quality standards as his factory. He found that, for example, at the Swiss watch manufacturer IWC and the sports car brand Mercedes AMG. He has had partner-like relations with both of them for many years and this has often resulted in limited editions.
He also attaches great importance to good contacts with the VIP world. He enjoyed welcoming the actor Sylvester Stallone in person when he made a stopover in Italy on his promotion tour for the Rocky remake. Italy is by the way the home country of Stallone’s father. Because the good man’s real name is Staglione. George Clooney is also a regular customer of Santoni and he immediately made it clear to his advertising partner Nespresso that he would do anything but only in Santoni shoes. The hearthrob and his cast colleague, actor Jean Dujardin, insisted on wearing Santoni shoes during the shooting of a spot.
And those are the things that make Giuseppe Santoni happy but for which he would never pay. He knows about the quality of his products and he has a company to run. In times of digitalisation, investments are therefore made for example in the expansion of the sales channels. The recently initiated digital ‘customizer’ that can be used on the website is one of the results.
It allows the customers to give the Carter double buckle model their favourite colour with just a few clicks and to have their own initials engraved in the sole of the shoes if desired. They will then be delivered four to six weeks later at a price of approximately EUR 790.00.
There is always a way to make it even more personal.
Whereas future-oriented thinking applies to the product portfolio marketing and sales, that is not the case for the manufacture. As already mentioned, the production remains traditional. Series production requires about 170 work steps that require 30 hours of work done by 100 pairs of hands. Finally, female art students from Milan apply the die brushstroke by brushstroke. Those who want even more order a pair of hand-made bespoke shoes in the price range of a small car. However, for that, Antoni will have planed an individual shoe last in his small corner in the warehouse, Sauro will have cut the leather by hand and Luigi will have sewn the shoe with 600 stitches.
It can therefore be truly said that much personality has gone into such shoes. In a figurative sense of course. Because Santoni is a lifestyle and not simply a brand.
And how Bella Vita works is shown par excellence by the CEO each day.
Photos Copyrights: Santoni