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Growing up in Sicily, Gangemi remembers visiting boutiques that sold beautiful, high-quality shoes and bags made in local factories without massive markups. Over the years, however, she observed that Gucci, Prada, and other luxury brands were bringing more and more business to these factories in an effort to expand their output and global footprint. In the process, they edged out smaller brands that charged less for their products.
Soon, the well-crafted heels and handbags that Gangemi loved stopped appearing in local shops. She decided to take the model she had observed as a child and modernize it by selling her products online. To do this, she had to build relationships with factories. As a native Italian, Gangemi has had an easier time navigating the manufacturing landscape than her American counterparts, but finding the right partners was still challenging.
She spent months traveling around the country, talking to cobblers about the kind of shoes she wanted to make. Some factories exclusively make leather pumps; others specialized in driving moccs. These days, her New York-based company, M. Gemi, works with a dozen family-owned factories concentrated in the Florence region. She convinced these manufacturers to work with her by promising to order shoes throughout the year, rather than following the traditional two-season fashion calendar which is itself becoming a relic of a bygone era.
Gangemi wants to treat these factories like partners, collaborating with them on everything from shoe design to annual workflow. She hopes that by building long-term relationships with them, rather than just treating them like contractors, M. Gemi will be able to release a regular stream of fashion-forward shoes that are of the highest quality.
But our factories are willing to work with us because they see that the partnership is very mutually beneficial. The shoes often sell out that week. Business has grown four times over the last year, and half of all new customers visiting the site make a second purchase.
It also prompted Scott Gabrielson to launch his bag and accessories brand Oliver Cabell. Gabrielson ended up in Italy after touring factories around the world to get a sense of how they all function. In China, for instance, factories tended to be large operations, often hiring hundreds or thousands of workers who are quickly trained to cut, sew, and operate machines as fast as possible.
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NEW! Fall/Winter 2018 Collections
Vintage styles spring to life inside the cozy boutique walls of Italy Direct. Utilizing the finest modern day fabrics, we bring to you that classic look of the 40’s and 50’s with all the comfortably of the 21st century. Italy Direct Clothing, New Orleans, Louisiana. 2, likes · 24 talking about this · were here. Italy Direct Clothing specializes in dressing you to /5(60). Italy Direct is the first store of its kind in New Orleans, providing merchandise previously available only at the finest haberdasheries in New York. Our concept is simple, buy styles from the most sought after Italian designers, directly from the manufacturers' distributor in Italy, and bring them to New Orleans for sale at wholesale prices/5(13).