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Fast and firm in the world of fashion

Portrait

Wise is an Italian fashion retailer with several boutiques in Italy and a highly popular online shop (wiseboutique.com). The company was created by Gianni Peroni and Federico Scalogna in 2001. The two founders are highly dedicated entrepreneurs with additional activities in fashion and retailing.

Besides Wise, Gianni Peroni runs the fashion dealer G&B Negozio with boutiques in Courmayeur in the Aosta Valley as well as in Flero and Ponte di Legno in Brescia and online shop (gebnegozionline.com). And Federico Scalogna also owns and manages Lidia Shopping, a luxury megastore in Mantova (lidiashopping.it).

“Gianni Peroni was a friend of Federico Scalogna’s mother,” General Manager Paolo Locati describes the origins of Wise. “So the two decided to do something together and set up the first Wise fashion boutique in Cremona, which is located right in the middle between Mantova and Brescia.”

Cremona is also the company’s headquarters, where a motivated team of graphic designers, photographers, stylists and buyers work closely together. Wise also runs a second boutique in Cremona.

In 2009, Wise started another boutique in Desenzano del Garda by taking over an existing retailer in the city in the province of Brescia. Three years ago, the company acquired a large, centrally located property in Desenzano del Garda and opened a fashion megastore for men and women in the new building.

“The opening of the new store led to substantial growth, both with domestic and international customers,” states Mr. Locati. “Desenzano del Garda is located on the shore of Lake Garda and one of the most preferred tourist destinations in the area.”

With the opening of the new megastore, Wise closed down the original store in Desenzano del Garda and integrated it into the new store in the city center.

In 2015, Wise opened its fourth boutique in Reggio Emilia, again by taking over an existing fashion dealer: Pulcinella. “The former owner wanted to retire and entrust the business to a reliable successor,” explains Mr. Locati.

The acquisition of the store in Reggio Emilia initiated Wise to further extend its presence in the city in northern Italy. “In September, we will open another, bigger store in Reggio Emilia,” explains Mr. Locati. “The new store will offer a complete selection of men’s and women’s fashion while the smaller one will focus on accessories such as handbags and shoes.”

Wise is determined to open further fashion stores in Italy. The next expansion step took place at the end of April when Wise opened a megastore in Turin, together with G&B Negozio and a second partner.

“We believe in retailing and want to continue growing,” states Mr. Locati. “We are not in a rush, though. Instead we are focused on developing the company step by step and in a sustainable manner.”

Wise employs 54 people. Customers include fashion-conscious Italians and people from all over the world coming to Italy. “We do not have any export business yet, but in the long term, this could be an interesting option,” says Mr. Locati.

In its boutiques and through the online shop, Wise offers a unique selection of some of the most famous brands in the world of fashion and design. The assortment includes Dolce & Gabbana, Givenchy, Stella McCartney and many other internationally renowned fashion brands.

“We sell the world’s leading fashion brands for men and women,” states Mr. Locati. “At the same time, we are always looking for new fashion trends and young designers with a promising future. We travel around the world and visit fashion and design exhibitions to spot the latest trends and developments. In the fast-evolving world of fashion, you have to be quick and always offer something new in order to sustain your competitive edge. In the past, we have discovered many young designers and developed them into internationally recognized fashion brands.”

Wise uniquely combines stationary and online selling. The company’s boutiques, whose number will grow from four to six within the year, present the world’s most renowned fashion brands in a highly exclusive shopping ambience. The online store was started three years ago and has attracted many new customers, especially from abroad. “70% of our online shoppers are international customers,” explains Mr. Locati. “The online distribution channel has developed very positively and generated above-average growth rates.”

The core business of Wise is women’s fashion. “65% of our customers are women,” says Mr. Locati. “We would like to increase the men’s segment, but women are generally more fashion-conscious than men.”

A special service provided by Wise is a VIP shuttle for hotel guests staying at Lake Garda. “We have agreements with the best hotels and offer an exclusive shuttle service for bringing guests to our megastore in Desenzano del Garda,” Mr. Locati describes the unique service. “On request, these guests are also provided with a personal shopper to guide them through their shopping experience and provide individual advice.”

Together with G&B Negozio and Lidia Shopping, Wise operates almost 20 fashion boutiques throughout Italy. “This makes us the largest fashion retailer in the country,” states Mr. Locati.

The company’s nationwide and international success is based on its unique sales organization, with a perfect combination of stationary and online selling, and its young, dedicated team with highly qualified, loyal staff members working closely together for mutual benefit and success.

“Another reason for our favourite development is the foresightedness of our two founders,” explains Mr. Locati. “Both Mr. Peroni and Mr. Scalogna have seized promising opportunities and pioneered new fashion trends as soon as they have emerged. And they have always believed in their employees and have given them the chance to develop together with the company.”

When opening new fashion boutiques, Wise cooperates with renowned architects and interior designers. “Every new boutique we open is bigger and more beautiful than the previous one,” says Mr. Locati. “And every new boutique has been an immediate success. The company’s main office in Cremona was designed by star architect Roberto Baciocchi, who works for Prada and now also collaborates with us in view of our new shops.”

Wise plans to further grow its position in the fashion retailing sector, both nationally through its boutiques and internationally through its online store wiseboutique. com. “After a consolidation phase, the fashion market is on the up gain,” explains Mr. Locati. “In the past eight months, we have generated double-digit growth.”

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