Davide Bortolazzi is the founder of Dope Factory, urban and contemporary streetwear outlet and e-commerce website born in 2009, which grew to register annual revenues of €4 million. He soon managed to include iconic and avant-garde, sportive and casual products to his offer. He further started a Dope Factory summer store in Porto Cervo, which was inaugurated in June 2014 and will open its doors again from June to September 2015. In addition, the streetwear outlet opened a brick-and-mortar boutique in Cagliari in November 2014, which offers a selection of high-research streetwear and upmarket designer brands. Interview by Maria Cristina Pavarini
What are the current bestsellers and why?
Among our most recent bestsellers are Nike (especially Rosherun) for sneakers, while for apparel we sell both jackets and trousers by D.Gnak very well.
Nike’s Rosherun are now especially successful because we offer special hue variants that cannot be found very easily. D.Gnak also offers an unusual product and certainly a novelty for our clients.
Our store has opened very recently and in Cagliari no other store ever offered brands like ours. For this when clients enter our store they can find an offer of brands and pieces that are similar to what we would wear and as soon as our customers enter the store they perceive this sense of novelty which pervades the store. This guides them to this out of the ordinary sense of research that makes them feel unique. At present many of the brands we offer are not well-known to the majority of our clients and one of our major challenges is to make them appreciate those and get them to idolize them. This way, at the beginning of next season they will return to our store looking for the next collection of that unknown brand they bought now.
Where do you order from? How do you inform yourself about trends? How important is the communication with regular customers? How do you communicate with them?
New trends can always be found around us. Every time we access Instagram we can find some interesting idea, every time we visit a blog we discover some new collabs or discover that some artist or celebrity is launching a new project. In order to communicate with our clients, show them trends and create a sense of community and belonging to the Dope family, we use Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Our favorite social network right now is Instagram for its fastness and immediacy.
How do you choose the products you offer your usual clients?
The purchasing process is a mix between personal taste, trends and store’s selection. It is very important that all these aspects are balanced, or rather - I cannot only buy what I would personally wear, and I cannot simply be guided by trends because a store needs to have its own identity and should try to influence trends rather than running after them blindly. And, last, we always have to be very careful about what we are selling in the current season in order to keep remainders as low as possible. I am not that kind of buyer who looks at statistics from the past. I rather prefer to be influenced by the collections of the present season, though one always has to keep an eye on what he is selling.
How do the collections you offer for next s/s 2015 look like?
Spring/summer is always my favorite season because collections are always so colorful and fancy and also this year it will be like this. There will be a return to denim and to very special floral prints for both men and women. There will be a return to oversize silhouettes and there will be a revamp of many classic styles though reinvented with new technological materials. For sure it will be another colorful summer season!
What are the most important trends, in general?
In order to distinguish themselves many brands concentrated on improving the quality of materials and details by employing always more, for instance, thermo-sealing and precious and technical materials. In addition, graphics rule both on t-shirts and sweatshirts.
Did you add any new labels to your assortment?
We recently added quite a few new brands – both in our seasonal stores opened in Porto Cervo and in Cagliari. Though, I also hope to increase our offer of brands in the next months. Already from next season we will also carry Kenzo, Comme de Garcons, Y-3 by Adidas-Yamamoto, Opening Ceremony and other less known ones, though, not less intriguing as, for instance, Studio Pretzel and From Britten.
Our store is new for the city – both in terms of design and in terms of brands we offer. For its interior decors we got excellence names such as Bonaldo and Viabizzuno involved, and we offer the same level of quality we offer for apparel. Most of the brands we sell are offered by us with exclusive agreements for Sardinia, and this is a reason to be proud of for me and my team. Though, my aim is also that Dope Factory can distinguish itself for the atmosphere that one can breathe inside the store. For this we are trying to organize events, aperitifs and evenings and transform it to a meeting place and a reason for sharing interests and hanging out together.
What do you like about your customers?
I like their curiosity and the fact they are interested in what they are buying – or simply trying on. I like their enthusiasm: we are facing true exaltation scenes when they become conscious they found some real true new product throughout the city!
How important is the interior, the atmosphere and the whole package?
They count for 80% of our work, especially if, as it is in our case, a store opens in a city where it is not renowned and presents brands which are only known to insiders. I think that our stores’ interiors and our atmosphere will be our winning ace!
Via Alghero 25