"Nothing very bad could happen to you there, not with those kind men in their nice suits," exclaimed Holly Golightly, having breakfast outside Tiffany's.
|London's E. Marinella shop.
While Audrey Herpburn may have only been acting in the 1961 film, Breakfast at Tiffany's, the people queuing outside the E. Marinella showroom are probably thinking the same thing while waiting to get their hands on a famous bespoke tie.
A combination of businessmen shopping in the early hours before work; women taking advantage of off-peak parking; and tourists enchanted by the "Made in Italy" label, filter through the showroom. During the festive season, Maurizio Marinella, third generation heir of the Marinella dynasty, buys coffees and sfogliatelle (a typical Neapolitan pastry made of ricotta and candied fruit) for his employees and customers. Sharing breakfast together is a way of making everyone feel a part of the Marinella family, a courteous offering, symbolic of the respect that grounds the company.
"A good entrepreneur should aim to pamper his customers," was E. Marinella founder, Eugenio Marinella's, motto when he opened the first E. Marinella shop in 1914. Although it was only 20 square metres, the shop in Piazza Vittoria on Riviera di Chiaia, was an area known for attracting high society shoppers in Naples. Initially, Eugenio supplied his clients with shirts and ties, made of the finest silk, which he personally procured from London and sewed according to the Neapolitan tailoring tradition.
After the end of World War I, Italian fashion was heavily influenced by British imports and Eugenio was among the first to bring the "Four-in-Hand" knot to Italy. However, it wasn't until the first president of the Italian Republic, Enrico de Nicola, began to wear Marinella ties in 1948, that the brand took off and Marinella decided to close his shirt factory and specialise solely in ties. Since then, many Italian heads of state have worn Marinella ties, with popularity increasing from 1985 to 1992 specifically, largely due to then-President of Italy, Francesco Cossiga, gifting boxes of them to other heads of state.
From a 100 by 130 centimetre pure silk section, it's only possible to make four to eight ties. The average width of a bespoke E. Marinella tie is usually between eight and nine centimetres, while the length has to be customised to the client's dimensions: shorter ties for Japanese men and French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, longer ones for former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and former American President Bill Clinton, to name a few. The former Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, also wears Marinella ties and at Christmas he usually orders fifteen-tie boxes as presents for his colleagues in the Italian parliament.
Eugenio's motto has lived on and continues to influence the brand's customer formula: when service is quick and efficient, clients are satisfied and will tend to come back. This mantra translated into sales revenue of nearly 14 million euros in 2011, 85 per cent of which was generated in Italy at the firm's Naples and Milan ateliers, while the other 15 per cent came from sales at its international showrooms. The company's international portfolio has grown substantially since March 2007, when it opened its Tokyo atelier. A Lugano showroom opened in November 2010 and their most recent atelier in London opened in June 2011. A further three E. Marinella corner shops can be found in Tokyo and another in Bruxelles.
Both Eugenio's creativity and the tradition of bespoke ties was passed on, firstly to his son, Luigi, and then to his grandson and current owner, Maurizio. As his grandfather before him, Maurizio still uses the best twill silk from Macclesfield, a market town in Cheshire East, England. From the David Evans & Co. design archive at Adamley Textiles, Maurizio chooses among 4,000 original patterns, including striped and pois patterns for classic ties, plain fabrics for more elegant ones, geometric designs for the unconventional and the quintessential "Marinella flower" pattern, which is now recognised worldwide.
|Maurizio Marinella. Source: online.wsj.com.|
The brand's expansion in the last five years has furthered the success of the business. The E. Marinella label can be found on men's watches, cufflinks and berets, women's handbags, perfumes and foulards, as well as wallets, shoes and pens decorated with the Marinella flower. Yet, the majority of the brand's profits still come from the sale of bespoke ties (60 per cent), whilst 40 per cent is from the sale of accessories.
Even though the firm has achieved an international reputation, Maurizio has never forgotten his love for his homeland. He has often refused to sell the brand to foreign investors, being faithful to "Made in Italy" and his affection of Naples. This is why Marinella works with the Rotary Club by investing part of Marinella's profits to restore Neapolitan historic monuments, such as the "Statua delle Virtù dei Martiri" in Piazza dei Martiri, in Naples. Moreover, to celebrate the city during the America's Cup which will be held from April 11 to 15 in Naples, Marinella has created a collection of ties that have been embellished with helms, flags and nautical knot patterns.
The idea of a line of ties dedicated to sailing fans, sums up the ingredients of Marinella's successful business model: high quality products, passion for the Neapolitan culture and individual attention to customers' expectations.
Riviera di Chiaia, 287
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