A company that believes in the elegance and functionality of furnishings, where innovation comes complete with a study capable of guaranteeing end customers a comfort calibrated for the real world. A brand, Calligaris, that has always embraced change, studying strategies, projects and creations in step with the times. After completing his first two years as the group’s CEO, ready to conquer new goals and face new challenges, we sat down for a chat with Stefano Rosa Uliana.
“I embraced my new role two years ago by immediately aiming to integrate Ditre, a brand specializing in upholstery which the group bought back in 2017. The inclusion of Ditre was an important step: we took advantage of its production chain to offer maximum personalization in terms of finishes, developing a functional array of upholstery offerings for the Calligaris brand, which was able to amplify its presence 360° in the design furniture sector thanks to its selective distribution in around 90 countries.” The result? Nine new beds, seven sofas, and other products for Ditre, not to mention an expansion into international markets, as it’s now mostly widespread in Italy. “Another operation I’ve brought forward together with the team in my first two years as CEO, is the revisitation of our ‘go-to-market’ for each brand: Calligaris has been redefined in terms of image, target and consumer; Ditre, as I mentioned, is a complementary brand important for completing the group’s offerings, while Calligaris has eliminated its endorsement of the brand Connubia, which today expresses a young and occasionally irreverent design. Finally, at the end of 2019, we purchased LucePlan, a synergetic lighting brand whose products have begun to sell in the Calligaris spaces, offering clients an even greater gamut of furnishings.” The group was also meant to complete another acquisition, but that was placed on hold with the arrival of the pandemic, while 2019 closed out big with a major improvement in terms of cashflow.
Another cornerstone of the Calligaris group is internationalization. “70% of the company’s revenue is generated abroad, where we are present not only with stores, but also nine branches. I won’t deny that the Covid crisis has slowed down our expansion in foreign markets. After those in the US, Japan and France, we were on the verge of opening a new branch in China. Instead, the project was suspended, but we’re working to make it happen in 2021,” explained Rosa Uliana.
“My life, my style” is the group’s captivating slogan, representing just the tip of the iceberg that is a major image overhaul: the ad campaigns have been restudied, catalogs and price lists remade, and major focus was directed to the digital transformation, with an omnichannel approach: “In this period, more than ever, we’ve realized that the first evaluation in the purchase of a piece of furniture passes from the digital customer journey to then reach the sales point. Our new website and the e-commerce platform are complementary in our stores. Integrating social platforms, websites, the e-commerce, and physical stores, connecting all touch points in an efficient and user friendly way for the final client, that’s our next step,” explains the CEO. But that's not the only news, the group’s 60 single brand storefronts are set to be enriched with additional openings. Among the latest comes that of Munich, which is truly special as a “group” multi-brand shop: “We recently inaugurated this 800 square meter space in the center of Munich, which really represents a model to be exported. Visitors will find the Calligaris, Ditre, and Luceplan brands altogether, which are all well integrated and geared towards a high-end target that will enjoy the complete offer. This project was also made possible after redefining the brands, each of which today flaunt their own personality and precise positioning.” The next projects will concern Connubia, which will focus on outdoor products with a young and fresh offering, while early 2021 is set to see new lamps from Luceplan, “that will always be ultra-technological, but more decorative in respect to the past and more suited to residential use, entering in synergy with other brands,” clarifies Stefano Rosa Uliana.
Another keyword to watch in the near future is “personalization” as it pertains to fabrics and finishes: the group is studying a new configurator that will outperform the existing model, offering clients an even more advanced and efficient customization. What’s more, the collections of Calligaris and Connubia will be enriched with more accessories in wood certified by the SFC. “We’ve been SFC certified since 2006, promoting the responsible management of forests around the world. We have always been sensitive to the issue of environment sustainability and we are about to obtain Iso 14000 certification, investing massively to make the group more sustainable. Also noteworthy is the research on materials to create increasingly green solutions at ‘sustainable’ prices.”
Finally, how did the Calligaris group experience the lockdown in this latest phase of slight return? “During the period when businesses were closed, we took advantage of all our digital channels to communicate — from webinars to virtual tours. As for the general progress of our business, after an initial period of shock and assessment, we had an important comeback, owed surely to the increased priority the home took on during these trying times. That increase is still continuing and… We might see this trend continue for another few months, in my opinion, although it’s difficult to make precise forecasts. What I do feel that I can confirm is the change in family consumption, which we have managed to capture but still need to study. As always, we’ll adapt to the changing times!"