VezaTalks 008: Riccardo Cascianini
Riccardo Cascianini is the CEO and Executive Vice President of the Helen Marlen Group, one of Europe's most prestigious luxury specialty retail groups. With a portfolio full of top-tier brands such as Gucci, Loro Piana, Burberry, and Salvatore Ferragamo.
Riccardo is a seasoned business leader with a wealth of experience in restructuring, identifying new business opportunities, and mentoring large teams. He has traveled extensively around the world, from the vibrant streets of India to the beautiful landscapes of Argentina, gaining a deep understanding of diverse cultures and global business practices.
With over 600 staff members under his leadership, Riccardo has a reputation for inspiring and motivating his team to achieve excellence. His passion for luxury retail and his dedication to empowering his staff to deliver exceptional customer experiences has made him a respected figure in the industry.
After dedicating himself to a basketball career, Riccardo sought counsel from one of his mentors - his father - who suggested that he consider a different approach to his future as relying solely on basketball may not suffice.
Riccardo then decided to pursue his studies in economics and marketing, with a focus on business and luxury management. Subsequently, he joined a local family-owned business called Grami Company, where he gained invaluable experience in managing a company from the ground up.
That's when Riccardo discovered his love for the "selling ceremony," which involves talking to clients and convincing them to make a purchase.
Riccardo explained when a client is willing to spend $5,000 on a suit or a bag, they expect a certain level of experience that cannot be provided online. A person gets to see and touch their products, and their staff is trained to provide a personalized experience.
They can explain the details of the product, offer a glass of champagne, and build a relationship based on trust with the client. Luxury purchases are not just about the product, but also the brand's history and reputation.
Customers are buying into the story behind the product, and the in-store experience is an important part of that. Online shopping is more transactional and impersonal, and customers miss out on personal interaction with the brand and its staff.
Riccardo says as a luxury retailer, his company’s focus is on providing an exceptional in-store experience for their clients. He believes that the personal touch, attention to detail, and personalized service are what sets us apart from other retailers.
Riccardo spoke of good leadership and how it is about creating a positive and collaborative work environment where everyone feels valued and encouraged to grow. Riccardo believes in working in an open space with his colleagues rather than isolating himself in a private office so that he can be involved with them.
As a leader, he strives to simplify complex problems and empower his team to come up with creative solutions. While the final decision may be his, he always listens to the ideas of his colleagues and gives credit where credit is due. He believes that two heads are better than one and that working together leads to better results.
Riccardo has a great deal of respect for his colleagues and their abilities. He aims to create a culture where everyone is supported and allowed to succeed. Riccardo says he is always appreciative of good ideas and offers constructive feedback when an idea is not quite right.
To Riccardo leadership is about leading as a team rather than as an individual. While he takes personal responsibility for his own success, he believes that the success of the team is just as important.
Helen Marlen is more than just a big organization - it's a hub of opportunity for professional growth and development. Riccardo says one of the unique benefits of working with Helen Marlen is the ability to exchange staff with other organizations, or even to send your own staff to spend time at Helen Marlen and gain valuable insight into how to work effectively with local staff.
But the commitment to quality doesn't end there.
Riccardo explained that before the team even begins working with a new brand, they take the time to evaluate whether they're truly ready for this market. They request exclusivity for at least two to three seasons to thoroughly assess the partnership and ensure that it’s a good fit for each other. Once they have established a successful partnership, they begin developing marketing strategies to increase business both online and offline.
At Helen Marlen, their team believes in taking a thoughtful and strategic approach to building relationships with both staff and clients, and we're always looking for new ways to innovate and grow.
The Helen Marlen team resides in Ukraine where the Russia-Ukraine conflict is still ongoing. Riccardo stated that he hopes and believes everything will be alright and that it is not easy, but Riccardo also believes Ukraine is strong and will overcome this challenge. Riccardo cannot leave his colleagues and company behind which may seem quite insane, but he believes in supporting and being there for them. Riccardo left us off with his hope for a quick resolution of the country's situation and the safety of his friends, colleagues, and their families
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