Fabio d’Angelantonio: What I've Learned
I have been running Loro Piana for less than four years, but I have been a customer for 25 years. The job's goal is simple: to sell the most beautiful cashmere sweater in the world.
The first thing I did as CEO was try to track down the sales lady who use to originally serve me as a customer, but she had retired.
When I was 23 years old, I worked for a textile company and had a meeting at the headquarters of Loro Piana. I remember everything from that day. It was a strange experience twenty-five years later walking into that same building as the new CEO.
I am definitely a ‘glass half full’ person. When you see it half full sometimes, at the end of the day, it makes it feel a little bit fuller.
Our business is sustainable by definition. We are vertically integrated, which means we own and managed the entire process from harvesting the raw material to final product.
It’s not just about offering the best cashmere and wool today, we also have to be able to offer it in 30 years time. If the best cashmere comes from Mongolia, then we need to invest and create the conditions that will maintain the quality and production of the entire product chain in two, or five or 10 years time.
Luxury customers have an understanding of quality. Once you make a connection them and you are able to prove you that you offer the quality that you say you do, then they will always come back, maybe not tomorrow or in a month, but you will always remain on their preference list of someone who understands quality.
I am the sort of gardener who loves to water the flowers every day. I love to see them grow and see them reach their potential. I have the privilege of leading a community of people, so seeing them all grow in their professional lives is a great source of motivation to me.
One of the most productive things I can do is talk to people. If I can motivate them then the entire organization becomes much more productive, and that has more benefits than just me working on my computer.
Goals are important, but I am more motivated by dreams. To achieve a dream you might go through many different goals, and if you are able to craft that dream so it is shared by those around you, then there is really nothing that you cannot achieve.