Coc­cinelle CEO Fabrizio Stroppa Sets Out Ex­pan­sion Am­bi­tions

Asia is a key tar­get for the Ital­ian ac­ces­sories brand, and the new ex­ec­u­tive is aim­ing to dou­ble sales in three years.

WWD Digital Daily - - Bridget Foley’s Diary - BY LUISA ZARGANI

MI­LAN — Coc­cinelle is eye­ing an ex­pan­sion out­side Ital­ian bor­ders and has pro­moted Fabrizio Stroppa as its new chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer, effective Oct. 15. Stroppa, who is chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer of the Ital­ian ac­ces­sories brand, suc­ceeds An­drea Baldo, who is leav­ing af­ter two years at the helm.

Coc­cinelle plans to lever­age Stroppa’s years of ex­pe­ri­ence at Coach, where he held the role of vice pres­i­dent of sales, Europe, and at Mul­berry, where he served as global head of sales. Prior to that, Stroppa was brand man­ager at Donna Karan in the LVMH Moët Hen­nessy Louis Vuit­ton head­quar­ters in Ja­pan. He has also worked at Gior­gio Ar­mani.

Stroppa’s re­mit is to con­tinue to re­de­fine the brand with a fash­ion el­e­ment, a strat­egy ini­ti­ated by Baldo. “The brand has a his­tory of 40 years in busi­ness, of­fer­ing qual­ity hides at an af­ford­able price and special de­tails,” said Stroppa.

Coc­cinelle was founded in 1978 in Sala Ba­ganza, near Parma, Italy, by the Mazz­ieri fam­ily. In 2012, the Korean E-Land fund, ac­quired the com­pany and the Mazz­ieri fam­ily ex­ited. Since then, Coc­cinelle has be­gun a process of in­ter­na­tion­al­iza­tion. “We are now telling the story of the brand, el­e­vat­ing its fash­ion con­tent, reach­ing out to new cus­tomers with­out chang­ing our price range,” said Stroppa. The core hand­bags re­tail at around 250 eu­ros.

In Fe­bru­ary last year, Eleonora Pu­jia and Vin­ciane Stou­ve­naker were tapped as the brand’s first cre­ative di­rec­tors. Af­ter ex­pe­ri­ences at Prada and Miu Miu on the com­mer­cial side, Pu­jia, who joined Coc­cinelle in 1994 hold­ing dif­fer­ent roles in­clud­ing that of com­mu­ni­ca­tions direc­tor, is a lawyer with a mas­ter’s in in­te­grated com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Stou­ve­naker, who was raised in Bel­gium, col­lab­o­rated with sev­eral brands, in­clud­ing Fratelli Ros­setti and Ice­berg, be­fore launch­ing the De Cou­ture ac­ces­sories la­bel with her hus­band, Mas­simo Mar­i­otti. In 2009, she left the con­trol of the brand to her hus­band and in 2011 started col­lab­o­rat­ing with Coc­cinelle.

The first col­lec­tion bowed for fall 2017 and for spring the cre­ative di­rec­tors ex­per­i­mented with ma­te­ri­als other than leather, such as Vi­en­nese straw and rat­tan, re­work­ing them into pretty, mid­size flap or bucket bags.

Stroppa said the brand re­ceived “very pos­i­tive feed­back” as the de­signs helped “raise tar­get and per­cep­tion,” and ap­peal to ex­ist­ing and new cus­tomers.

Coc­cinelle is ex­pected to re­port sales of al­most 100 mil­lion eu­ros in 2018, up from 65 mil­lion eu­ros three years ago, and Stroppa said the plan is to dou­ble the 2018 fig­ure in three years.

The brand counts 150 stores in the world; 35 are owned and 1,000 are whole­sale clients.

For two years, Coc­cinelle has seen a boost in its travel re­tail chan­nel, which in­cludes 150 doors glob­ally. Stroppa em­pha­sized the im­por­tance of be­ing avail­able on cruise ships.

“The Chi­nese have dis­cov­ered this way of trav­el­ing, and while cruises were pre­dom­i­nantly held on the Mediter­ranean and the Caribbean seas, now they are in­creas­ingly sail­ing to Korea, China and Hong Kong,” said the ex­ec­u­tive. “Tourists spend around a week on a cruise, they walk by the shop win­dows again and again and are tempted to drop in and buy some­thing, of­ten a clutch or mini-bag for the evening events there. At an air­port, they might be more time-con­strained.”

The brand also re­launched its web site in Septem­ber last year and works with part­ners such as Style­bop and Za­lando and said dig­i­tal growth has been phe­nom­e­nal. Za­lando is help­ing Coc­cinelle build its busi­ness in Ger­many, which is al­ready a strong mar­ket for the brand, as is Rus­sia. A first di­rectly op­er­ated flag­ship opened in Mu­nich last year. The com­pany is tar­get­ing growth in the U.K., where there are two ex­ist­ing di­rectly op­er­ated stores in Lon­don, and in France, where it is avail­able at Ga­leries Lafayette, for ex­am­ple.

Italy ac­counts for 48 per­cent of sales. “This year, as a ‘gift’ for our 40 years, we will open a beau­ti­ful flag­ship in Mi­lan at the end of Novem­ber or early De­cem­ber,” said Stroppa. Lo­cated on the city’s pedes­trian and shop­ping street Corso Vit­to­rio Emanuele II, it will be lo­cated op­po­site a Michael Kors unit.

Asia and China are key tar­gets for the com­pany, which opened 22 mono­brands in two years in the re­gion and there are plans to open 30 to 40 ad­di­tional stores by the end of 2019.

While E-Land may be Korean, Stroppa said the com­pany had to “clean up” that mar­ket, and plans to re­turn to it.

It will be mak­ing sim­i­lar moves in the Ja­panese mar­ket. Man­da­rina Duck, Su­tor Man­tel­lassi, Glover­all, Lochcar­ron and K-swiss are other fash­ion brands con­trolled by E-Land.

Fabrizio Stroppa

A Coc­cinelle bag for spring/sum­mer 2019.

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