📷 Andrea Tessitore, president of Xerjoff Group and senior advisor Elite-Borsa Italiana (Courtesy Xerjoff).
Andrea Tessitore is a person of many talents and experiences and he has many things to tell us about. Born in Turin, he graduated in law in Turin with a thesis at the Sorbonne in Paris and a Master in Corporate Finance at the University of Virginia School of Law. A lawyer with professional experience in New York and London at the Latham & Watkins studios and in the legal offices Gianni Origoni & Grippo in Rome. His recent past is associated with the name of Lapo Elkann with whom he founded the Italian Independent eyewear brand, covering until 2016 the role of CEO. Since last July he has decided to face a new challenge in the world of luxury with Xerjoff, leader in niche perfumery, which in 2015 reached ten million in revenues and whose portfolio also includes the Casamorati and Kemi brands.
As Tessitore says, "My will was to join a group and an industry where I would be able to bring the know-how and decades of experience with Italia Independent, a company founded in 2007 which has managed to leave a clear mark in the field of eyewear thanks to some innovations. The long journey with Italia Independent has been fundamental in getting to know a sector with many similarities to that of my new adventure in niche perfumery, a reality that is experiencing an epochal change, because it is dictating the new industry standards."
[...] niche perfumery's olfactory creations are now more qualitative, last longer, perfume prices have grown and containers are more sought after. Unlike commercial perfumery, the niche one does not necessarily derive from the needs of the public, but they are real artistic creations.
Moreover, "The big conglomerates in recent years have started a series of acquisitions of smaller brands and groups, just like Xerjoff Group and have approached the language of niche perfumery, I prefer to define luxury, since olfactory creations are now more qualitative, last longer, perfume prices have grown and containers are more sought after. Unlike commercial perfumery, the niche one does not necessarily derive from the needs of the public, but they are real artistic creations. If we look at the European market, according to the data provided during the September edition of Pitti Fragranze, the niche perfumery generates wholesale 600 million turnover and 1.3 billion at retail level. Only 10% of companies exceed 5 million euros in revenues and 60% less than 500 thousand. Last year Xerjoff exceeded 10 million in turnover, even if it is still necessary to find its right position in the market and reflect on how to firstly organize itself at company level and set its objectives."
Finally, "I decided to embrace this reality especially for the people who are part of it, the founders Sergio Momo and Dominique Salvo, with whom we immediately shared some strategic lines, because both are open to dialogue, to the world, to the market and understand that strengthening the team it is of great importantance. Moreover its Italian excellence that comes from my city of origin, Turin, is present in 60 countries with 95% of its exports."
📷 Andrea Tessitore with Sergio Momo, founder and artistic director of Xerjoff (Courtesy Xerjoff).
Is it only about beauty or are you aiming to offer immersive and complete experiences to the client as a cross-industry strategy?
The mission is to affirm and develop globally the three brands owned by the group: Xerjoff, Casamorati and Kemi, each with its own target audience. There is an extreme need of a healthy clarity that is not out of context and not limited exclusively to the beauty sector.
To implement this we decided to undertake a new partnership for the world of perfumery, developing a communication that goes beyond the classic moves that one would expect from the sector. Xerjoff will sponsor the next world championship of MV Agusta, a historic Italian brand that returns to the track after 42 years. Being present on the nose of a mythical bike that runs in the Moto2 will give Xerjoff not only extreme visibility, but since it is a brand that, with its reduced volumes and quantities, boasts a global presence in 60 countries, the 19 stages of the MotoGP will allow us to develop relationships with our local stakeholders. Xerjoff Group's corporate vision does not consist in obtaining success by creating a new fragrance, but adopting the right methods by which this is proposed to the customer.
Which are the markets you are on and which ones to invest in?
Xerjoff Group was born immediately with a vocation to sell beyond national borders and today sees us as protagonists in London -a reference market and the commercial heart of the company- where we boast a presence in all the main department stores, such as Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, Fortnum & Mason (a boutique on the sixth floor of Harrods) where Xerjoff is among the leading brands in terms of sales.
We are also very popular in the Middle East, Russia and the United States, while Italy remains a strategic country for us, in which Xerjoff was founded, the country where we operate and where we want to increase visibility with more dynamic communication, effective and transversal, capable of capturing the attention of the consumer in a different way.
Italy is embracing niche perfumery recently, but the cities of Milan, Rome and Turin record a steady increase in attention and sales. Our Turin store is growing thanks to the influx of many foreigners, and our marketing and communication strategy brings the public closer to the brand. The market in which we would like to strengthen our presence is Asia. For example China is not ready for luxury perfumery, but with correct strategic work we could be among the first brands to enter.
Since November, Xerjoff has joined the Elite program of Borsa Italiana in collaboration with Confindustria, in support of SMEs to bring them closer to the capital market, an international platform for which you are responsible. This is an ambitious project that seems to work, so much so that you have reached 1000 companies. It is a project that was born to support the one that represents the backbone of our country, that is, small and medium-sized enterprises. Born with the intention of making the entrepreneur understand that it is something that works, it is an instrument of growth not only dimensional but also cultural, of course with a focus on capital markets. The benefits that Elite brings within a structure are innumerable and above all give the entrepreneur a strong awareness of what you have in hand and how to manage the company in its growth path. Elite guarantees an alternative to what the capital market can offer, so it goes beyond the only choice that the small average entrepreneur has always used, which is the use of bank credit. A project that is having success not only in Italy, but in Europe and in the world, with more than 1000 companies within the program.
This is why I am proud that Xerjoff Group has entered this project and in the next two years we will be able to obtain the certificate that will allow the key people of the company to be more familiar with those tools that will serve to meet the growth target.
Is the future in the hands of small local companies or big players?
In a global market the dimensional factor is crucial, the company growth must be healthy and balanced and can only be achieved through strong cultural growth. Therefore, the future of Europe and specifically of Italy, is that of a country that must realize that a large leap is necessary to remain competitive and be present in an international context, and not to be reduced to local players. Small companies, with the exception of craftsmen of certain categories or specific sectors, no longer has a real purpose of existing.
What do you think about the measures in the 2019 Budget Law to support venture capital and private capital?
Elite speaks to companies that work and this is in a way more complicated because those who work are less inclined to receive advice. It is aimed at companies with at least 10 million turnover and an ebitda of more than 5% or companies with 5 million turnover but who have recorded growth rates over the past three years. The theme of venture capital is very interesting and I think it has been appropriately treated with the latest initiatives that have been put in place.
In fact the theme of incentives linked to innovative startups, tax credit that can finally be obtained by investing in startups and small businesses is very attractive and incentive. We must continue on this path, because it is only by encouraging entrepreneurship and Italian creativity that is valid, along with the large leap of those who are small-medium, that we can continue to be competitive. It is essential to shift the focus on small-medium business, who today need, more than ever, the support of the government and institutions.
Future goals of Xerjoff Group?
Clarity of strategy, focus on the main markets, growth of the brands owned by the group, in particular Xerjoff and Casamorati, with a clear and distinct distinction between geographies and reference targets, and a multi-channel approach. Finally, attention to digitization, which is how to bring luxury perfumery to 360 degrees digital. But that does not only concern the recently launched xerjoffuniverse.com platform with its excellent feedback, but also all the technological innovations that could be applied to perfume bottles, for example.
Source: Forbes Italia, by Anna Rita Russo
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