Luciano Bertinelli, CEO of Salvatore Ferragamo Parfums knows exactly where in Asia to put his money. He was recently in Singapore to launch Signorina Misteriosa, the third and final addition to the house’s Signorina franchise for women, and also alluded to Uomo, the house’s latest men’s fragrance which will retail in Singapore from September. Ferragamo also offers exclusive men’s fragrances such as Tuscan Soul and the Tuscan Scent Quintessential collections, which are only available in Salvatore Ferragamo boutiques and selected leading department stores.
I once said Asia was big, practically a planet. Now I see it as a triangle. On top is China, with Korea and Japan at the other two ends. In the middle are all the other Asian countries, like Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. I’m Italian but Europe is the past. Asia is the future – there’s absolutely no doubt about that. China is our top market. 2016 saw a slowdown but I believe it’ll recover in a year for sure.
Singapore is a hub for Asia. We do things here for image. It’s not a cashcow. If I have one euro to invest, I’ll put it in China. If I have two euros, I’ll put the second euro in Korea or Japan. I don’t have three euros, so I need to be strategic with where I put my money.
It’s difficult to generalise when it comes to the tastes of the Asian customer. Maybe this was the case 20 years ago, but not anymore. Japan is very progressive and sophisticated, while China is still a bit behind. They’re still looking for made-in Europe, logo mania, and love to show off. They don’t want exclusive perfume launches – they want the latest product, something they can buy in Paris or Rome. Singapore and Korea are somewhere in the middle.
It’s a challenge to make Ferragamo’s perfumes stand out in an increasingly crowded market. As CEO, this is a challenge I face every single day. On average there are about four to five hundred fragrance products released every year – about one per day. At Ferragamo, we make sure every one of our products is of a very high quality. We are obsessed with detail. And we’re proud to be 100-percent made in Italy. For example, the bottle cap on Signorina Misteriosa is made in Italy. Look at the Vara bow on the bottle – we have a special machine at home which makes kilometres of the ribbon. The glass is made by Bormioli, one of the world’s foremost glassmakers – and which also makes the bottles for Chanel No 5. The perfume must have quality of composition, and must be full of natural ingredients. Even the box that Signorina Misteriosa comes in is produced in Italy. We could have made any of these things in China, Romania or Morocco for four, five or even six times less but our company president, Ferrucio Ferragamo, says we are made in Italy 100 per cent. Our products will tell Ferragamo’s story for the next 100 years, not just 25.
Uomo will help us build a strong pillar in our men’s fragrance segment, which represents about 40 per cent of the business. Uomo is for a 25- or 35-year-old man who’s positive, self-confident and knows how to enjoy life. He’s not a fashion victim. I’m wearing it now – it’s a fragrance with power. It’s really masculine – even the bottle has presence.