Davide Canciani - Group Marketing Director Vibram/Albizzate, Italy

Montag, 31. Juli 2017
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From the GOOD STUFF Interviews from J'N'C Magazine N°69 / 3-2017, Interviews: Cloat Gerold & Thorsten Osterberger

Vibram has been one of the most successful manufacturers of soles since 1937.

What has enabled your products to stay on top of the market for so many decades?
The main feature of our products is the quality, certainly in terms of quality assurance but, also, if not more, in terms of satisfaction of the required performance by the final users. The latter is guaranteed by the combination of the two components that make Vibram soles unique in the market: the compound that guarantees the typical Vibram performance – extreme durability, maximum grip and traction – and the design, which despite the focus on maximising the performance, is constantly up to date in terms of style and appearance.

Trekking and mountaineering boots are quite fashionable right now. Do you think this is because the sporty design is on trend or do durability and quality also play a role?
Probably both. In the last few years a new trend has developed: the urban-outdoor that mixes the look and performance of the two markets. And the quality of a product is becomimg more important when deciding to make a purchase.

Will durability and timeless design be more important in a market that is focusing increasingly on sustainability?
In my mind, the sustainability concept is something bigger than only durability and timeless design. It should be a different approach to the business, from the beginning to the end. It covers the production organisation – i.e. Changing the processes for reducing the use of natural resources, identifying ways to re-use the production waste to the regular “white-collar” activities – i.e. more consciousness in the use of electric energy, paper, etc.

"Trends can well be translated into high quality products."

Big players like Prada and Woolrich appreciate your expertise and cooperate with your brand. Which other brands do you manufacture for and are there different levels of quality concerning the soles you produce?
All our soles must pass a strong process of quality control – in terms of production and in terms of performance – before being put into the market. So there are no different levels of quality. There is only the Vibram quality, the best in the market. No other competitor could guarantee and be recognised for the same level for quality. As B2B clients, we can list all the main brands in the outdoor/sports market, the work&safety market and the casual market, as well. We also work with high level customers in the luxury segment, for example Brunello Cuccinelli and Harrys of London.

Would you work for any brand or do you consciously select your cooperation partners? If so, what are the criteria to choose a partner?
We absolutely need to evaluate the prospect brand before starting to work with them. And our selection process is really indepth: analysing the market position of the prospect, the kind of shoes it produces, its level of pricing, possible competitors… and all of that firstly to protect our brand (one of our main values, built over 80 years of history) and also to protect our clients and the final users who choose us every day .

Slogans like “Slow Fashion”, “Less is more” and “Stuffocation” are trending right now. Do you think this development will be catching on fashionwise? If so, do you think this would mean yet another push for your durable high quality products?
I am not sure when/how these trends could catch on in the fashion market. What I am sure about is that if these trends are translated as “high quality products”, for sure Vibram will have a strong push and position. For Vibram, quality and durability are not trends, they are strong statements and the “fil rouge” of its entire history.

Which (brand)new techniques are you applying in your production line and of what significance is sustainability?
We already have a compound, eco-step in our portfolio, realised re-using some of the waste from production. In a more strategic way, we are working on modernising our production processes and machinery in order to make them more sustainable. For sure, it’s a really long journey…but what is important is that we have started it and have the will to be serious about it.

Please name three timeless classics everybody should have in his/her shoe cabinet (and why).
Business shoes, in black. They are a real classic to be used for all formal occasions.
Sneakers, preferably vintage – a passe-partout for weekend activities.
Tennis shoes – my real passion.
Regardless of the styles, the most important thing is – obviously – that they should be powered by Vibram. As a sign of quality of the product and also of the shoe brand.

Please name three very trendy products you are glad of having hung onto over the years (and why).
My first car – an evergreen as only the Volkswagen Maggiolino can be, and my first classic watch. It represents my coming of age.

What’s your personal favourite “timeless classic” (and why)?
I am not sure this is a “timeless classic”, but it is something timeless for me, for sure: A pocket watch my grandfather gave me years ago.

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Tags: vibram, davide canciani, good stuff
POSTED by Cloat Gerold & Thorsten Osterberger at 15:46
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