Raffaella Brancaleone
Raffaella Brancaleone
Raffaella Brancaleone, who co-owns the Clan Pontaccio men’s and women’s casualwear and accessories store with Fabio Bisogno, as well as Milan’s Clan Café women’s and designer brand boutique, believes that apart from technology and social networking, building customer relationships and letting them feel understood in their personality and style is the most important thing. Interview by Maria Cristina Pavarini.

What are the current bestsellers and why?
Our bestsellers for men's fashion are mostly from Closed - especially jackets, shirts and jeans. Gold Case is also selling well, particularly jackets and shirts, while for jeans Meltin'Pot's capsule collection MP001 is a hit. For women Dondup is our bestseller in terms of the total look, while for accessories we notice phenomena like My Bag, a bag decorated with skulls that is very popular among our younger clients. Jeffrey Campbell bags and aggressive platform shoes, offered at a very competitive price-ratio balance, are also hot items. Prices for these accessories range between €138-€268 for bags and an average of €120 for shoes. Knitwear by Isabel Benenato, High, Isola Marras and Closed are also very successful and appreciated by foreign visitors. All these brands are successful because they fit well, they have a defined, versatile and enduring style and many different types of women can wear them.

Do people buy according to their favorite brand, style, or impulse?
For accessories people buy according to brand or style, but once they find something they like and that fits, their trust builds and they want to come back buy different things. Moreover, people recognize that our staff appreciates them for their own style and can help them be a bit daring while still keeping them at ease.

Where do you order from? How do you inform yourself about trends? How important is the communication with regular customers?
We find ideas by traveling and visiting trade shows and showrooms. An indispensable element in what we offer is the Made in Italy aspect, since quality is essential. We keep our clients informed about our initiatives through mailing lists and talking directly to people who regularly visit our stores. In fact, our clients are extremely faithful and we like to establish a direct relationship with them by talking to them and informing them about what's new in our stores.

"We change our store layout often, each time creating a new image and environment while always remaining the same store."
"We change our store layout often, each time creating a new image and environment while always remaining the same store."
What do your spring/summer collections look like?

Color is a key element for spring/summer. Some neon element is a must, be it fluorescent yellow, fuchsia, bright green or red. We’re also offering some prints in floral and geometric motifs presented by Fuzzi and Marras, although I personally don't care for that theme.

What are the most important trends, in general?
Apart from fluorescent hues I’m seeing a return of wider pants, similar to pajama pants. Jeggings and slim fits still sell well, but wider styles are also starting to sell right now. T-shirts are always bestsellers, especially if one can wear them off the shoulder, which gives a feminine feel. 

Have you added any new labels to your assortment this season?
For women we recently added “ottod'Ame,” a Made in Italy, easy and affordable collection. For men we added Toms, a UK line of espadrille-like shoes, plus the “Rue du Tee Shirt" t-shirt line.

How does your store differ from other stores?
What sets us apart is the research we do for our products, trendiness matched with quality and the services we offer. We don't divide our offer according to brands; instead we mix and display products. Plus, we change the products every two weeks. And, what I also think is very important, is how we follow our clients.

What do you like about your customers?
I like that we have established a relationship based on confidence. They know we could give them a bag with a specially prepared selection, having kept each of them in mind, and they would be happy with it. We understand people's taste, and we make them feel beautiful and at ease. It is a trust we always want to gain and never lose.

How important is the interior, the atmosphere and the whole package?
Our stores' interiors and atmosphere are very important. We have a very good team and people really feel the good atmosphere that we share. Our store also offers an area where people can play foosball or other games that encourage relaxation between purchases. Also, we change our stores' layout often, each time creating a new image and environment while always remaining the same store.

Clan Pontaccio, Via Pontaccio 15, 20121 Milan, Italy
Clan Pontaccio, Via Pontaccio 15, 20121 Milan, Italy
Via Pontaccio 19
20121 Milano, Italy

Via Pontaccio 15
20121 Milan, Italy