Mafalda Tatoli and Sara Anastasia work as buyers for the women's and menswear departments, respectively, for L'Officina, in Molfetta, Southern Italy. Renowned for their Menswear they recently rediversified the store's product range. “We tend to select less obvious, popular brands, since they almost always offer homogenized products and styles, and in so doing, compromise our budget.” they commented. “We prefer less renowned companies, since they tend to be better at offering superior quality services at better prices.” L'Officina also like to make their clients feel at home in the way they decorate the store, welcome their cleinetele and often organize themed events and aperitifs in store. Interview by Maria Cristina Pavarini
Mafalda Totoli Womenswear Buyer
Mafalda Totoli Womenswear Buyer

What are the current bestsellers and why?
Our best sellers are today especially those brands that help us earning higher margins in addtion to turnover. Among them we can name, for men, Adidas, Jack & Jones, Corto Maltese, Converse, Grifoni, Cycle, Manuel Ritz, Diadora, Stone Island, Aeronautica Militare, D.A.T.E., Franklin & Marshall, People and Fiorentini+Baker. For women there are Reebok, Adidas, Aspesi, Jeffrey Campell, UGG, Selected, L'Autre Chose, Boglioli, Tagliatore, Cycle, Fiorentini Baker, Soho de Luxe, Gold Case, Converse, Stella Forest, Le Sentiere, Nioi, See by Chloè, Givenchy, Pierre Balmain, Mr Wolf, Liu Jo, Le Pandorine, Fendi (accessories), Lombardini, Grifoni, Tessa, People, Mexicana, Pink Memoir,es Moon Boot and Missoni.
In the the two stores we work for, a menswear and a womanswear boutique, we noticed that women haven't changed their attitude in buying recently and continue to spend and buy upmarket barnds as well as sportswear ones. Men, instead, have showed a huge slowing down recently because a father generally prefers that his wife and kids buy new clothes while he can wait and save money. For this in the men's store we cut brands like Moncler, Fay, Cucinelli and Santoni and focused on more affordable and top quality ones including Jack & Jones, Fred Perry, Cycle, US Polo, Stone Island, Manuel Ritz, Aeronautica Militare and Grifoni.

Do people buy according to their favorite brand, style, or impulse?
Our customers are often fashion-conscious people who regularly visit the web, but when they buy they also need some gratification by 'touching' and feeling the product while they visit the store. Most of them are not fashion-addicted, they follow taste rather than looking for a specific image or style. The support and advice a store can provide makes the difference, especially if provided by qualified store personnel such as ours.
L'Officina, in Molfetta
L'Officina, in Molfetta

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?
We find out most information on trends, in addition to usual media such as magazines, TV and web, from exchanging opinions amoung ourselves since we share a sense for aesthetics and like to constantly communicate with our customers. Consumers often become friends with us and there's no better communication than word-of-mouth.
On the contrary, social networks can be a double-edged sword, especially considering our clientele, which is not as big as one could count in a big city.

What criteria guide you in choosing your stores' assortment?
We tend to select less obvious, popular brands, since they almost always offer homogenized products and styles, and in so doing, compromise our budget.
We prefer less renowned companies, since they tend to be better at offering superior quality services at better prices, for instance, exchanging unsold merchandise at the end of the season, and offering products with higher price-quality ratio. These are the formulas that are necessary for adjusting ourselves to the constant changes brought by the present economic climate.
L'Officina, in Molfetta
L'Officina, in Molfetta

What are the most important trends, in general?
Next seasons will be characterised by a more contemporary and cleaner image, and more moderate prices.

L'Officina, in Molfetta
L'Officina, in Molfetta
How does your store differ from other stores?
For a long time we have thought that apparel alone is not enough. For this our store has transformed itself in order to become a sort of container that not only offers apparel to be worn but also a wide selection of accessories, as well as by organising exhibitions of private collections of vintage bags, jewels and clothes that help our consumers enjoy, have fun, take everything less seriously and especially make them feel at home and feel that they are being taken care of. We always show our happiness when we see them inside our stores, have a short chat or a little joke with them, or give them a small gift they didn't expect but they are happy to get (most often some wine carrying our own label.)

What do you like about your customers?:
Best would be asking our clients what they like about us. In any case what we like best is that usually they trust what we suggest to them. In any case they never neglect considering quality first, then comfort and last price.

How important is the interior, the atmosphere and the whole package?
We try to take care of the image of our stores, because it is the place where we spend most of our time during the day. We take care of stores as if they were our own home and where interiors, atmosphere and fragrances can be perceived even before the product. Our stores sometime become the meeting point for our clientele for single theme days (often based on music and aperitifs) that take place in a special “garden space” located on the back of one of our stores.

Store's Contact:
Corso Umberto I, 35,
I-70056 Molfetta
+33 9 80 3974131