Our last stop on Thursday was in Civitanova-Marche, home to Copen Group, makers of Royal Hem. Got some really great suits, blazers and outerwear, almost all from the Royal Hem line, and a few pieces from De Curtis and Romeo Gigli as well. Lots of heavy wools, including a number of tweeds and even some garment-dyed wools. If there’s one thing to note, it’s that production quality has gone up — better fabrics and better construction.
Interestingly, Copen Group has now started production on a full line of menswear for Baldinini, an Italian shoe company that some of you may be familiar with. Down the line there’s a good chance we may be able to grab a bit of that as well.
So that’s it folks. All in all it was a great trip. The merchandise should be headed to the States in approx. 2 weeks, and, G-d willing, up on the website for a debut in mid-August. If anyone out there wants an in-person preview, do feel free to hit us up and we can try and schedule an appointment once everything arrives (appointments are limited to those who have had a significant purchase history with us in the past — you know who you are).
Well most of today was technically not spent in Italy, but in the Republic of San Marino, a small country w/in the borders of Italy wherein lies Saitt. Interestingly enough, production of all of Saitt’s merchandise does not actually happen in Italy; rather, production all takes place in Romania, and the warehouse is based in San Marino. The shirts, however, all use Italian fabric, which is why we often saw ‘Tessuto Made in Italy’ on the shirts at Daffy’s.
That interesting tidbit aside, we purchased a smaller lot than initially hoped for — 250 shirts in a variety of sizes and styles that are sure to please. Kept things on the conservative side – no polka dots, paint splotches or camo prints in this bunch, but just some really solid options for your formal and casual wardrobe come Fall. Brands headed your way will include Zero Veronese, Bonser, Rodrigo, La Camiceria Italiana and a host of others you likely have never heard of but we promise are phenomenal quality and a great value.
Tomorrow we have one last stop in Civitanova Marche at Copen Group, home of Royal Hem. Full report tomorrow night.
Spent the morning in Arezzo today. The name of this particular factory isn’t that important, so much as is the fact that we picked up a nice chunk of suits and outerwear from Gazzarrini. Probably a dozen or so suits from the label, plus several pieces of outerwear. Very excited about this stuff. Additionally, we picked up some items from Hackett and a few other labels some Daffy’s fans may be aware of from the Yellow Baggers blog — Dellachiana (now D.C.) and Andrea Neri.
Presently in Rimini to get ready for tomorrow’s visit to Saitt – home of Mastai Ferretti, Truzzi, Agho, Bonser, Paolo Verri, GF & Co, Luciano Brandi… the list goes on, but those are the brands Daffy’s fans will remember. If prices are good, hoping to be shipping 500 or more shirts back to the States, but that’s all pipe dreams until tomorrow. So for now, good night from Rimini (which I didn’t realize was a beach town until I arrived around 6:30pm local time and saw everyone in their bathing suits walking around – wish I had brought a bathing suit myself).
Stop one was just outside of Florence at one of our favorite leather companies, Compagnia Delle Pelli. Managed to get a very nice selection of leather jackets for Fall, including some really nice bomber jackets, and a few motorcycle jackets from a brand we can’t mention just yet (it’s one of those brands you are unlikely to see on our site very often, but we splurged on a few pieces b/c they were quite beautiful). A small sampling of the items is shown to the side, and below.
Tomorrow we’re headed to a factory in Arezzo that is similar to Copen Group in that it produces for a wide variety of well-known (or at least well-known in Europe) brands, and we hope to get a nice selection of suits and sportcoats. Word is they may have some Gazzarrini suits available; fingers crossed.
Headed over to Italy soon, and have nailed down 3/4 stops, with the fourth probably confirmed early next week. Our stops will include Saitt, home of Mastai Ferretti and Truzzi, Copen Group, home of Royal Hem, amongst many others, a suit manufacturer that wouldn’t ring a bell, but Daffy’s fans might remember some of the more notable labels they work with, including, Gazzarrini and Simon Peet, and if we can get an official confirmation on the date, CDP, which is, IMHO, one of the finest leather outerwear manufacturers in the entire world.
Once we, G-d willing, get this merchandise back to the States, you will see a new strategy emerging. We are, of course, going to still be bringing you high quality, fantastic items from Europe, and most of the above manufacturers have production almost exclusively in Italy. But the goal is to bring down the price points from our initial run, and make the prices more Daffy’s-esque, for lack of a better term, to attract a larger audience and ideally move the merchandise faster. This will happen, in part, by sticking to a lot of one-off merchandise, including samples. It will also increase the uniqueness factor of our items, which is something that Daffy’s always provided to all of its customers. Most of the photography will be farmed out, and the goal is to get everything up ASAP once it hits Philly. Given, this will all take a little adjusting, but if it works right, there is no reason why I can’t be heading back to Italy in September for another run of Fall/Winter merchandise – either that, or making some friends up in NYC (heading to a trade show next month and there are several folks I’m quite interested in meeting).
So a fall buying trip is on for July. We have confirmed appointments thus far with our friends at Copen Group, and a new shirt vendor with which Daffy’s fans are quite familiar (if you’d like to guess, feel free to leave a comment, and we’ll confirm). We’re still trying to get in touch with a leather company that goes under the initials CDP, but aren’t having as much luck with that one, but we will persevere nonetheless.
If you have any interest in a particular brand or manufacturer, let us know and perhaps we can arrange something for this trip or a future visit (G-d willing).
It’s hard to imagine that it is already seven months since I was in Italy meeting with vendors and making my first purchases. A lot of time has passed, and I’ve learned a lot about how to move forward with the business. Of course, hindsight is 20-20, but I have a lot better ideas about execution, merchandise, etc…
Just a few ideas that are going to be implemented —
- Lower price points, almost all Final Sale — we are going to transition from the ’boutique’ concept to a volume concept. That means, a broader array of merchandise at lower price points. But it also means almost all items are going to be Final Sale. Also toying with the concept of a modified Final Sale, i.e., lower price if you purchase outright, higher price if you want to be able to return.
- Better purchasing — to get to lower price points, we need to do better on the bottom line when buying in Italy and locally here in the States. The goal is to meet with some new vendors, and some old ones, but stick with merchandise that will be a tremendous value. And, yes, for those who have bugged me, we are in the midst of trying to work something out with some notable shirt and leather vendors.
- Outsourced photography — Professional photography is the only way to go. Still trying to figure the details on this one in terms of execution, but me and my Canon need to be retired, at least for larger items.
But ‘moving forward’ requires something in particular — cash. As hard as it is to do it, in the coming days, we will be slashing prices on every single item, to a large extent to prices well below our cost, in order to finance another trip back to Italy in early July for Fall/Winter 2013/2014. This will be a test, in part, as many of the items will transition over to Final Sale. We will also be adding our inventory to eBay, and possibly Amazon, to hopefully widen our customer base and gain some additional exposure.
If you have any thoughts about pricing, merchandise, business plans, etc…do not hesitate to reach out on the contact page — http://peurist.com/contacts/, the Facebook page — facebook.com/peurist, or on Styleforum.net via PM under the handle ‘PEURIST’. More than happy to chat any time via email or phone with those who (sorry for the cliche) have a passion for fashion.