Web, China, Cara Delevingne: CEO Massimo Piombini tells about Balmain

A new attitude towards digital experience. The Millennials. A growing participation in Asia. Such are the three key points on which Balmain has been focusing its prospective development, as emphasized by Massimo Piombini, chief executive officer of the fashion house since 2006. While granting an interview to Fashion Network, he spoke about the strategy they planned to expand the company’s business. “A few years ago, Balmain decided to appoint a very young creative director, namely Olivier Rousteing, who was only 24 at that time”, remarked Piombini. Rousteing is “a super-talented and brilliant individual”, but he is proudly one of the first digital fashion designers too. Such skill enabled the brand to speak “the language of the new generations. It also provides a very clear point of view about the brand placement – carried on Piombini – and we are building it up while opening to new categories, new prices, new clients and new styles”. The aim is to tackle a new market target: the one Balmain was aiming at, yet he could not afford it. This strategy is proving rather effective and profitable on the web: in fact, online deals “account for 25% of our overall sales”- cleared up the manager. He also pointed out: “In my opinion the very first contact with the brand takes place in real stores, but younger consumers get in touch with it online, therefore affecting our supply and distribution strategy – added Piombini –. We do not run many real stores and we will not have any more the ones we could have been running five years ago. We are now opening new shops based in strategic places”. In the meantime, we have to monitor and build up social networks: “We are currently testing an artificial intelligence system to evaluate and assess the efficiency of our comments posted in Instagram – announced Piombini –. We are talking about a software you can interact with, asking questions and getting answers. I think we will have completed it by the end of the year”. Ultimately, Balmain is winking at China’s big market. “To our company, this is a great opportunity we have not taken advantage of yet – remarked again the chief executive officer during the interview –. We have started opening some stores, though many Chinese customers fly over to Europe for their shopping: that is why we shall focus our efforts on selected openings while developing, at the same time, a digital strategy”. More specifically, digital experience is due to lead the brand into one of Alibaba’s dedicated areas: “We are planning to run our own space in the Luxury Pavilion – wrapped up Piombini –. Although the online market is full of opportunities, it is not easy to get in there: Alibaba may be a possible way to get access to it”. Meanwhile, the fashion house has started working on the development of a new leather bags product line, in collaboration with model Cara Delevingne. The collection consists of three bags: yesterday they launched on the market the first one, BBag; the other two models, Romeo and Twist, will be available from July onwards.


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