Five Questions for Mattia Rossi: An inside look at the Rossi brand from Mattia Rossi, who heads up the company’s sales and marketing efforts.
I’m sure customers would be interested to see three generations of Rossi historical archives… Do you have an in-house “museum” where you display your most interesting designs?
The archive is very important, it holds many years of research and conservation. The material can be more or less expensive, from expensive art print books to simple postcards found at a market. Many items are from abroad. These have been accumulated over the years, not necessarily something found and used for the collection that same year, sometimes it’s taken out years later.
Many of the items have an emotional value, which is probably the best part of it. An old magazine from the 30’s may generate an idea. It is a way to spread a culture, a taste.
During the 80’s Giorgio Rossi purchased an archive with art reproductions.
However, our archive is not open to the public, our staff may have access.
Over the years we have tried to acquire antique machineries and to restore them. In our factory we have dozens of antique machineries, partially still to be restored.
Your company does business in many countries, how do you appeal to the varying tastes of countries you are selling into, while staying true to your Italian heritage?
Actually, it is true that we work with many countries, from Australia to New Zealand, Europe and North and South America and the number of countries increases every year. It is very important to remain within the Italian taste: vintage, retro, traditional Italian. The product has to be “recognizable” as 100% made in Italy, even before the customer sees the country of origin label. This intrinsic taste and value is perceived by the consumer. However, even if the made in Italy is the driving force, functionality, the right specs, the right price is what makes the product suitable for everyone.
Rossi has always had a special attention for the US market and not only because it’s an immense market but also because Americans have a cultural perception of stationery and the art of writing. There’s a tendency to anticipate trends which helps us to then be on the cutting edge in other countries as well.
As an example: Three years ago I was at the Stationery Show and I saw all this revival of letterpress, seen as a new trend while in Italy it was considered old, obsolete and old fashioned. Whereas an American printer saw it as an opportunity, an Italian printer discarded it as old.
Rossi is a true artisan brand—something that American companies are trying to build into their products these days. Tell us how you manage to avoid the “mass production” culture in your company and retain the high level of craftsmanship.
Taste, craftsmanship, quality, but if one wants to export his products into the world, one must be open to innovation and find a balance between taste and industrial culture.
I remember when I was a child, my father Giorgio ran the factory and there were many more workers than today (and probably less “feeling” for quality), my father used to say over and over again to those ladies: “Imagine it’s a box of chocolates and imagine how you want a box of chocolates: beautiful, impeccable, clean and perfectly made.”
In this age of electronic – everything, what is the hardest thing from a sales/marketing standpoint to keep your brand front and center with customers and prospects?
Electronics has helped us tremendously to become known globally, and in fact a lot of investments have been made in web-marketing. Communications are faster and easier and we’ve been able to speed up many tasks. However the true ambassador of our company, beyond all technology, is our product, our brand and quality which enters in a shop or in a family, that is how a company wins faithful customers.
Tell us about your creative process and your creative team….. who does the wonderful artwork for your amazing patterns and designs?
We start to work on the new products in June, so that the new products can be launched in January. At first it’s sketches, designs, a study of what competitors are doing, new trends, brainstorming. Then the sales are analyzed so that we can determine which products need to be increased and which collections should be decreased. Once the program is established, it is followed by various individuals and the new collection is created, both by internal design and graphic personnel, as well as by outside artists who work for us.