Brand Interview | Design Italian Shoes.

Tradition, innovation and of course Made in Italy.

Today we have the pleasure to speak with Roberta Francesconi, E-Commerce and Digital Marketing Manager at Design Italian Shoes (DIS). DIS is the second Italian brand to join fashionTrade and we are proud to share such an innovative project on our platform.
Since 2013, DIS has been combining the best of Italian craftsmanship with cutting-edge technology. Based in the ‘shoe valley’ on the East of Italy, the brand produces luxury, handcrafted shoes, with the option to fully customise them.
Do you feel like diving into the marvellous world of Italian shoes? Just read our interview with Roberta below.

Hi Roberta, DIS seems like a very special Brand. What do you exactly do? And how do you do it?

At its core, DIS is a custom-made shoe brand combining the best of Italian craftsmanship with cutting-edge technology. We design a couple of models for both men and women, and we offer the customer the possibility to fully customise their pair. The customisation can be done on our website or on the point of sale, with an iPad and the help of a sales assistant.

Everything on the shoe can be customised: materials, colours, eyelets, laces, lining and sole, etc. There are thousands and thousands of possible combinations.

Shoes are then hand-crafted on demand in Italy by highly-skilled craftsmen in only 10 days. We deliver them directly to the customers or at the retail store. Customers who are happy with our standard styles can also buy them straight off the shelf, of course.
Finally, we also produce ‘brandless’ shoes for retailers willing to launch their own shoe line. So our offer is pretty large.

The DIS customisation tool in action on a tablet The DIS customisation tool in action on a smartphone

And how was DIS created?

The three founders (Andrea Carpineti, Francesco Carpineti and Michele Luconi) noticed that two things were happening in the shoe market:

  • An insane amount of shoes don’t sell. We estimate that $50bn worth of stock is unsold every year.
  • Even if many customers are willing to pay for custom-made shoes, the offer was often lacking.

As a result, they decided to launch a custom-made shoe brand, with the clear objective to boost the Italian craftsmanship and to renovate the retail sector through innovative digital solutions.

All DIS styles are hand-crafted in Italy All DIS styles are hand-crafted in Italy

How do retailers react when you tell them that they need to install a touch-screen in their shop?

Retailers are excited because the screens allow consumers to ‘design their own shoes’. They usually place them near the entrance or by the windows, so it can attract people passing by. People are very curious and our partner stores have seen a great uplift in consumers entering the stores to discover more.
This also happens in Italy where retailers are looking for new solutions to attract consumers to the stores and engage them in an innovative and entertaining way.

Can you tell us a bit more about this win-win collaboration? How is working with you different from working with any other brands?

There are 3 things that make us different from other brands.

First, we give retailers the opportunity to offer a virtually unlimited collection with a very limited stock. They just need to buy a couple of sample shoes so consumers can try them on. Shoes are then produced on-demand.

And we only charge retailers when the handcrafted shoes are ready. Because there is no stock, there is also no need for retailers to sell our shoes at a discounted price, making it easier for them to forecast their revenues. And we help retailers serve interesting customer niche, like  ‘Big and Tall’ and ‘Short and Small’.

Second, we help retail shops differentiate themselves from their competitors. We all know that only shops that are able to sell unique styles will eventually survive. And what is more personalised than a custom-made shoe?
Finally, I see our shoes as a great cross-selling tool. Imagine that a man has just bought a red tie and he is looking for the perfect pair of shoes to complement it. With DIS and the help of the sales assistant, he can be sure he will find the right pair. Thus, we help the retailer to create a unique experience and a great service for the end consumer.

What triggered you to join fashionTrade?

There are 2 main reasons.
First, we are trying to expand our wholesale business. DIS is now well-known in Italy and we are already sold in a several premium shops across Europethe United States, Russia, China and Japan. We see that the interest is there and we want to be able to scale. With its growing network of European retailer stores, fashionTrade is the right partner for us.
Second, we need to do grow in an efficient and automated way. We cannot afford to manually look for each retailer online, call or email them, send individual line sheets, etc. And they cannot keep on buying in the same way they did 10 years ago. It’s just too inefficient.

With its one-to-many model, fashionTrade allows us to reach to a wide crowd of retailers at once. We really believe in this way of doing business.’

 

Which functionalities are you the looking forward to using in the future?

From a feature point of view, I am looking forward to using the API to automatically push our collections live on fashionTrade. But I am generally excited about the whole collaboration. I see fashionTrade as a real partner that will proactively connect us with the right partners across our key markets, through your Customer Success and Marketing teams.

What are the next biggest developments you are working on?

Well, we just presented our Store of the Future at the Micam in Milan. With this new set-up, we push our concept further away. The store includes a built-in 3D biometric scanner.

DIS Store of the Future at Micam, Milan (February 2018)
DIS Store of the Future at Micam, Milan (February 2018)

The scanner is able to suggest the best size to buy for the consumers among the whole range of shapes and models. Then, the consumer can touch the shoe and start customising it. The shoe is visualised in real time on the screen via an innovative 3D configurator so the consumer has a clear idea of the final product.

Our objective is of course to create an emotional and immersive experience for the end-consumer but also to learn about their the tastes and purchasing habits. Eventually, this will allow us to predict their future purchases.

And finally, we are working on a rebooted and increased women line – adding pumps to our custom-made offer. That’s very exciting, so ladies… stay tuned!

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Grazie mille Roberta! We look forward to seeing more DIS retailers across the world.

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