Moreschi Italian Shoes
The Pemberley: Tell me about your brand and what you do.
Francesco Moreschi: Moreschi is a family brand started in 1946 by my grandfather. I am the youngest of three brothers and my father is still the president of the company. I take care of marketing communication and image. I love my job a lot; I feel it in my heart, it's in my blood.
The Pemberley: What is the background of your family? How did you get into shoes?
FM: At the end of the second world war my grandfather was working in a bank, and the director proposed to him to partner with him to make shoes. They moved to Vigevano, (which used to be the capital of shoemaking in Italy), and started the company with two other partners. After a couple of years my grandfather took over, and it became Moreschi.
The Pemberley: What does your company add to the market?
FM: Our DNA is that we manufacture the shoes like it was done in the fifties. This means the shoes are made by hand and the construction is still the same, but we have new machinery that assists us in the process. Also, the quality of the hides that we are purchasing every month, is very high. This is extremely important because if shoes are created with a very good raw material, then part of the job is already done. The work can be a little difficult because making one pair of shoes involves approximately 250 steps which must be followed with great detail.
The Pemberley: What was the first Arab nation that had Moreschi shoes?
FM: I think it was probably Qatar and then little by little we expanded to other regions, even Egypt.
The Pemberley: Where else do you have stores?
FM: We have a store in Dubai Mall which we opened 8 years ago and it's a market that is working very well actually. We’ve been selling in the Middle East for almost 40 years when my father started to expand from Italy in the sixties, and this has proven to be very successful. We also have stores in Italy, Russia, Far East, China, Indonesia. We are looking for the right partners to open stores in Europe.
The Pemberley: How many people are involved in the company?
FM: Up to 300. Making one pair of shoes is no simple task and involves a lot of people. We are making almost 900 pairs a day.
The Pemberley: What is your favorite shoe?
FM: I like many different styles but especially slip-ons, because they're easy to wear.
The Pemberley: What's your earliest memory of shoes being a part of your life?
FM: When I was 12 years old, I tried my first Moreschi moccasin shoe and I remember feeling surprised by how comfortable it was. I thought wow, my dad makes good shoes!
The Pemberley: What are your biggest challenges in today’s market?
FM: The challenge is to be noticed in the market, to be the real Italian shoemaker and with positioning price point and quality. We want to provide very good quality with the right price point- not too over price, but we want money for value.
The Pemberley: What is the price point for a shoe?
FM: Our selling price point is between 400 to 600 Euros.
The Pemberley: Do you create bespoke shoes?
FM: We have special requests for custom-made orders that can take almost 3 months. The customer selects the luster, style, the kind of leather, colors and even a rubber or leather sole (leather is the best, of course).
The Pemberley: What's a typical day like for you?
FM: I used to travel a lot in the States but now I'm doing a lot of work in Italy. But depending on the time of year, we still have a lot of press days around the world. The east market is a big market for us, and a macho market as well. A typical day for me starts with taking my dog out for a walk for a half hour, shower, head to my office, attend meetings, and then return to our Milano showroom where I work with the press. The factory is in Vigevano which is about 1 hour from Milano (where I live), so on the way in and the way back I make a lot of phone calls.
The Pemberley: When you're traveling, how many pairs of shoes do you take with you?
FM: My trips are four days maximum, so usually three or four pairs of shoes is enough.
The Pemberley: What are the plans for the business in the future?
FM: Our plan is to double up in the retail market, because that’s where we can get more feedback and ideas from the consumer.
The Pemberley: Some say that once you move into retail, you lose the craftsmanship. What are your thoughts?
FM: In my opinion it's the other way around, because being in direct contact with the consumer allows you to get direct feedback and to test shoes in the market immediately without any filter which is beneficial. It’s not easy to handle a little business, but it's still a good business. Selling online is also successful because it allows us to reach a wide range of customers all over the world.
The Pemberley: What does luxury mean to you?