Envision: seeing beyond magazine Publisher Martine Breton met with Giovanni Zoppas, CEO of Marcolin Group, in March 2014 at Vision Expo East in New York City. Here is the record of their conversation.
Martine Breton: First of all, please accept our condolences on the passing of your founder, Giovanni Marcolin, last year. What he accomplished in business is quite astounding and I’m sure he will be missed.
Giovanni Zoppas: Thank you very much. The company is strongly committed to the heritage passed on by Mr. Marcolin: a world of craftsmanship and passion.
M.B: How would you describe the culture of your company?
G.Z.: With the same words: craftsmanship and passion! Even today, when we have enlarged our scale with the acquisition of Viva – which has to do with the diffusion of brands and product – we are confident that we’ll be able to give some extra flavour to our collections on the basis of our recognized ability to develop the DNA of brands.
M.B: Certainly Marcolin is one of great success stories in the global eyewear industry. Your reach is extensive. What can you say about your goals for distribution: will we be seeing more direct showrooms in the world’s capitals? Does the company want the Marcolin name to gain more prominence with the public?
G.Z.: We will remain a wholesaler, first of all. Then, for sure we will be more directly present in some key areas of the world: the Middle East, Eastern Europe and China are our targets. We already have a commercial office and showroom in Hong Kong.
M.B: Marcolin has a rich and varied brand portfolio. What can you say about the reach of luxury brands versus mid-level brands around the world? Are you seeing any interesting global shifts with respect to which brands appeal to different demographics?
G.Z.: The brand mix doesn’t have to do with any shift; our varied portfolio is coming from the necessity that a truly global company, which we are today, has to give the market a complete variety of brands and styles and leverage them on a broad scale.
M.B: The number and variety of famous name brands you represent is second to none. What do your recent acquisitions, Agnona and Ermenegildo Zegna, bring to the fold?
G.Z.: This is another step on the way to having a strong and balanced portfolio of brands; Agnona, new to the eyewear category, and Zegna, a worldwide, super-famous brand in the Far Eastern countries, give us the opportunity to better cover all segments – both male and female – and the geography of the market.
M.B: What does the acquisition of Viva International mean for Marcolin?
G.Z.: It means enlarging the presence of the U.S. market in our portfolio, balancing the sun and ophthalmic offerings for our customers and relying on two consistent pillars like Tom Ford and Guess.
M.B: I understand that Marcolin has a preference for manufacturing eyewear in Italy. What percentage of your eyewear products are made in Italy? Are consumers willing to pay extra for the Made in Italy stamp?
G.Z.: ‘Made in Italy’ is still a recognized element of distinction and differentiation; all our luxury brands will remain Made in Italy by Marcolin – a name and a guarantee.