Gucci CEO Marco Bizzarri took the stage at the WWD Summit today in New York with some good news. On Tuesday, Kering, Gucci’s parent company, unveiled that Gucci posted a 49.4 percent jump in organic sales in the third quarter, adding to Kering’s overall sales rise of 23.2 percent to 3.92 billion euros ($4.63 billion).
But for Bizzarri, the success is much more than numbers.
He revealed a telling moment for the brand and what it stands for. Upon reading a text from his 16-year-old daughter with the phrase “I feel Gucci,” the CEO asked, “‘What do you mean by I feel Gucci?’ It means I feel Gucci [like] I feel good. And that’s very interesting.” He added that the slang phrase reflects the authenticity and sincerity of the work of Alessandro Michele, Gucci’s creative director, who took that position in 2015 in a decision made by Bizzarri.
There’s no magic formula, he continued: “Intuition and instinct are more important than rationality,” which is one of the reasons why Michele was appointed creative director and a reason for the brand’s success, he said.
Bizzarri said the hiring was completely by chance, and Michele wasn’t even on the list of candidates — despite working for the company for 12 years. It all unfolded because he was looking to meet with someone on the Gucci team who could tell him the processes of design, which led him to Michele.
“I met him in his apartment, and intuition in this case is important,” Bizzarri explained. “[Alessandro] opened the door and was wearing the Princetown fur loafers — at the time it was fur, now not anymore,” he smiled (the brand recently announced its new anti-fur policy). “We were thinking the same way — for me, it was from a business standpoint, and for him, design. It was was very much about empathy. You feel like you found the right person immediately.”
Bizzarri credits the company culture for the brand’s growth and recent accomplishments, citing respect, happiness and empowerment as key factors. He added that employees are encouraged t0 feel free to take risks, and it starts at the top with Michele, who isn’t given any boundaries or budgets.
Since Bizzarri has taken the lead, he said onstage, “emotions [and creativity] were put again at the center of Gucci.”
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