Dua Lipa will perform on stage at LuisaViaRoma for Unicef Party at Eden Rock on December 29, 2021 in. on … [+] St. Barths. (Photo by Craig Barritt / Getty Images for LuisaViaRoma)
Getty Images for LuisaViaRoma
About two weeks before their gala on December 29th, the Italian retailer LuisaViaRoma came to the French-ruled West Indies island of St. Barth to start producing her latest UNICEF benefit film. As a kick-off event, family business patriarch Andrea Panconesi hopes the fundraiser, led this time by English pop star Dua Lipa, will become an annual event tailored to American clients with deep philanthropic pockets.
IPO in preparation
Panconesi sat with me on the morning of the event to outline what the next year will be like for the Florentine retailer who pioneered e-commerce in Italy over 21 years ago to become a leading global luxury website. He recently became President of LuisaViaRoma by handing over the reins to former YOOX Managing Director Alessandra Rossi, the new CEO.
“I’ve got to the point where I’ve done what I wanted to do. Now I was ready to give it to someone else to take the next steps and see what they can do,” explains Panconesi. “With regard to the company, I have positioned it well economically.” This position includes the 92 year old retail company’s r -id growth over the four years.
The new CEO, Alessandra Rossi, has a long résumé in luxury retail and worked for a competitor as the right hand man of Federico Marchetti of YOOX for 12 years. She left the Italian e-commerce platform in 2015 but returned in 2017 when the merger of YOOX and Net-A-Porter had taken place and headed the off-season discounts division.
“She was instrumental in bringing Net-A-Porter and Yoox together and going public. We want to do this in the next three years, “says Panconesi, adding,” It’s completely new to me, but she went through it to make it take it in the right direction. “
This goal is supported by an external investor. For the first time in the retailer’s history, in October 2021, they acquired a minority investor, Style C -ital, a fashion company that owns 40 percent of LuisaViaRoma. For example, the Australian brand Zimmerman is another investment by Style C -ital.
Rossi’s job is to prepare for going public, starting with growth. “In 2020 we gained 30 percent, in 2021 it was 15 percent. I told her that we want to make 20 percent by 2022 because we can manage 15 without your help.” He also cites updating their trimester reports to get faster financial results.
WORKS OF PHILANTHROPY
The r -id growth, according to Panconesi, is in part due to her philanthropic efforts over the past four years, which included the UNICEF gala, which up until this edition was held in Europe, particularly in Porto Cervo, Sardinia, and C -ri, Italy. The President sees St. Barth as the place of American philanthropy.
“Our focus for 2022 is the US market. We came to St. Barth because we wanted to build on the success of the previous events. That helped us to position ourselves on the right perspective and the right clientele, ”he explains. He is a firm believer in the ROI of giving, which he compares to the love you give your children that comes back double. “We want to be a good company in order to do good to others. When you do good to others, you are doing something good for yourself.”
From left: Tommaso Chiabra, Luisa Panconesi, Andrea Panconesi and Kieran O’Brien attend the … [+] LuisaViaRoma for the Unicef party at Eden Rock on December 29, 2021 in St. Barths. (Photo by Craig Barritt / Getty Images for LuisaViaRoma)
Getty Images for LuisaViaRoma
UNICEF, for which the gala benefit also explores the possibilities for developing private wealth philanthropy. Kiernan O’Brien, Chief of Global Philanthropy at UNICEF, explained why this is an area of growth for the 75-year-old International Children’s Fund. “We develop tailor-made -proaches for the award of private grants, establish a common mission and orientate ourselves on values and purposes,” he explained about his department. “Many of the families and individuals we work with describe their philanthropy as a life-changing journey. The path we have walked with the Panconesi family is an example of trust and action. Together we ensure an effective and lasting effect for children and at the same time offer the opportunity to write the story of your life. “
The event took place at Eden Rock, the most prestigious and well-known resort on the island. Guests included VIPs like Leonardo Di C -rio, Kygo, Danielle Bernstein of WeWoreWhat, and Cuba Gooding Jr., who stormed the stage while selling a guitar and drum kit signed by famous musicians, asking people to “show me the money” for the kids. The night ended with Grammy Award winner Dua Lipa performing five of her most popular songs. Around 400 guests – mostly Americans with houses on the exclusive island – were in attendance, and the event raised around 4.4 million euros. The aim is to hold the event with the summer edition in C -ri and the winter edition in St. Barth every six months.
Media returns have so far paid off, according to Kate Davidson Hudson, who was named editor-in-chief of LVR Magazine, a standalone publication the retailer created to gain exposure in the US market. “The event helped our positioning as a brand; we had 7.5 billion media impressions in the US press from last summer’s C -ri event.” The event, which featured Katy Perry and John Legend in the headlines, was the first time a major US press covered the event.
While Panconesi believes that “everything has to be done in the US market because we are not known there and it is the leading market,” Davidson-Hudson affirms that the brand is making progress. “The numbers show that penetration is growing r -idly in the US. The website’s digital statistics show that our presence has grown and the healthiest metric is conversion rate, which is up 40 percent year-over-year.” In the fourth quarter of 2021, the US -p achieved a peak conversion of active users, which is up 30.1 percent. ”
“The magazine is a good example of the company’s marketing evolution,” says Panconesi. More so, the numbers back it up as good business practice. Google Analytics also shows a 120 percent increase in average weekly pageviews for the US market since the magazine was launched, and the US has the highest average value per order.
The LVR magazine was launched as an independent editorial platform unit that does not depend on or is subsidized by advertising sales. However, brands recently announced their interest in partnering in the second edition.
“We have seen an influx of advertising inquiries that are currently exceeding our bandwidth,” said Davidson Hudson, adding, “This could be a potential new source of income.” She noticed bespoke programs that were activated in St. Barth. “It has to make sense for the brand.” The Brazilian tailor Pat Bo invests in advertising in the magazine and dresses prominent influencers and VIPs for the event as added value, who are then photogr -hed and tagged on social media. “LuisaViaRoma has growth potential and a healthy conversion rate. The branding exercise is opening up a potential source of income.”
Another philanthropic endeavor is LuisaViaRoma’s partnership with Extreme E Racing, which has just completed the first of their three year partnership. A traveling exhibition with more than 40 photogr -hs by the photogr -her Luca Locatelli and Gabriele Galimberti, in the words of the journalist Raffaele Panizza who was charged with recording the race is scheduled to start in Florence, Italy. Preliminary locations for 2022 include Chile, Uruguay, Senegal. “We are partnering with Pangaia Sustainable Tracksuits for the event and we want to work with a different designer for each stage of the race,” added Paconesi.