I was born in a small city in South of Italy, a place lacking of opportunities for people without any “important friends” or without any “friends in politics.” It is almost impossible to create, and have a business there, especially if you come from a poor family. I was still a teenager when I promised myself that I must run away from that reality.
You moved from Italy to China many years ago. What brought on that decision and how difficult was it to settle down in a country with so many cultural differences?
In the South of Italy, there are no opportunities to create and develop a business, the global environment conditions and infrastructures are really poor. It was not really difficult to find a place better than Italy to develop a business. I never fear cultural differences. I believe that differences are a chance to improve ourselves, a chance to have a better view of the world and new cultures.
Apart from being a jewelry designer, fashion creator and luxury brands expert, you are also the man behind “Moooh!!” Can you explain the idea behind it and where the inspiration came from?
The idea behind “Moooh!”! is very simple and easy. “Moooh!!”
“Moooh!!” is not the sound of a cow, but a dialect form of its hometown language, Bari, a language that is a creative blend of Latin, Greek, Turkish, French, English. “Moooh!!” It may cause a major shake-up in the luxury market, or even for the word “luxury” itself. The word “Moooh!!” means surprise, stupor, the unexpected that happens, something never seen before, never heard because it has never been disclosed yet. Everything new, surprising, uncommon, beautiful and positive can be expressed with just one word – “Moooh!!”
You can say “Moooh!!” when you see a beautiful piece of jewelry at a very competitive price, you can say “Moooh!!” anytime you engage in one of the sweepstakes on “Moooh!!’ or when you read a blog post and discover that many luxury brands produced in China, prefer to hide the origin of their products because they cannot justify the expensive prices of the goods they sell. I think that this practice is not an ethic way to conduct a business, especially if you have a worldwide recognition.
“Moooh” is making valuable the phrase “Made in China”, it lets people know that luxury can be produced in China and that luxury doesn’t always have to be expensive.
Overall, there are many reasons to say “Moooh!!” just browse www.moooh.net and you will understand.
I understand that you encourage people to get involved with you on “Moooh!!” Can people actually make money from this?
Wholesalers and small businesses can enjoy very interesting discounts on our custom made products. Furthermore, we are also a big sourcing opportunity in China, for fashionable and home decor items. Small stores and retailers that want to produce high quality items at factory price can contact us for their fashion and home decor requirements.
I love to “study” the local designs, especially artistic custom make pieces and get inspiration from it. I’m interested in everything beautiful, different and truly ethnic. I think there’s not a better place than China to get inspiration, considering the large number of minorities and each minority has its own traditions and “personal” artistic products, from jewelry, clothing and home decor. A silver or brass ethnic jewel, a pair of shoes, a lantern, anything can attract my attention. When I look at a particular piece, I think globally, how I can modify that piece, which kind of materials I can use to recreate that produce, how I can make it appealing for a wider market, the latter are proper marketing considerations.
What exactly is a luxury brands expert and what makes Luxury a special field in marketing?
A brand expert must love fashion or generally beautiful things and products not necessary related to fashion. A Brand expert doesn’t have to only promote and advertise a brand or blog positively during a fashion week, just like many bloggers do. I think this is talking about nothing, just nonsense. This is just a different and free way for the brands to be promoted. I have a totally different concept of a brand luxury expert, maybe too personal.
As a brand expert, I prefer to “discover” what a brand likes to say and what it doesn’t like to say, one of the things that a brand doesn’t like to say is for example that they have been produced in China. This is not an ethic way to conduct a business, especially if you are famous and have a worldwide recognition.
What do you predict will be the most desired luxury brands in China this year?
I’m quite sure that nothing will change in the Chinese market for luxury brands. Many brands will try to enter into the market and many will fail, just a few will be successful and the same brands, already famous for many years, will still be the favorite of the Chinese people. Vuitton , Gucci, Chanel in the top places. The reason is simple, Chinese people have a typical Chinese concept of luxury, often luxury must be useful and for everyday use. My opinion is that there’s a great deal of attention from the luxury Chinese consumer on custom-made fashion, personalized and truly unique.
How do you think the recent economic crisis has affected the luxury industry? Is it still possible to develop luxury markets?
The economic crisis will not affect the luxury brand’s industry, people who have money and love luxury brands will always buy luxury brands. Furthermore, thanks to the Chinese market, famous luxury brands can gain market quotas and recover where the market is already mature.
Instead, I can see the development of a new social luxury concept. Small and unknown brands can think better of leveraging their social media presence and make it one of their primary marketing elements. This is what I’m doing and it works.
Do you believe the internet is of benefit to brand manufacturers as a way of reaching an elite global audience?
Definitely yes, the Internet and especially social media can help small brands to develop faster and develop their audience exponentially. Already “social luxury” websites like “Fashionstake”, nowadays purchased by “Fab”, help designers and small luxury brands to reach a wider audience. I’m sure this trend will grow this year and in future years. Once again, thanks to the social media, I wouldn’t make my brands just for the “elite”, instead, I would prefer to create “elite items” and promote them for a wide target of people that love beautiful and fashionable things, but cannot have access because of the expensive prices. This is “Moooh!!’s” mission, creating, hand picking, beautiful “elite” pieces and “selling” them social for many people and not just for the elite.