The recently opened M Collective store in Milan (read the story here) approaches a transversal, multiage and international clientele by offering different products such as sporty-chic apparel, accessories and techno-gadgets. “Our clients are not looking for brands,” explain the three owners Cristian Milla, Antonino Rindone and Anna Casiraghi. “They rather buy according to outfits and striking ideas, while keeping an eye on adequate price-quality ratio. Not less important, they like to listen to our suggestions in creating outfits and mixing products according to our ideas and taste.” Interview by Maria Cristina Pavarini

What are the current bestsellers and why?
Within the one month our store has been open, we can already notice a clear trend: out of the total of people entering (100-200 people every day) about 45% leave making a purchase of an average of €100 each. And - also important - most of them return. They mostly buy – rather than according to brand, to the atmosphere they perceive in our store. For instance, they like to buy a t-shirt and a techno-gadget. Or, often tourists, who visit our city for the Expo, like to buy some items that they can take back with them. They all like the idea to take a piece of our store with them because they like the experience it provides them. Among most successful brands there are Space Collection, a most extravagant apparel line sold at a favorable prize-quality ratio. Also successful is Royal M, a Made in Italy men's collection that started creating a co-branded collection with us, the first one of a series we want to also start offering with other companies. Also successful are D.A.T.E. (also doing an exclusive capsule for us) and Moa.

M Collective store, Milan
M Collective store, Milan

Do people buy according to their favorite brand, style, or impulse?
As I said before, they don't buy according to brands, but according to the product mix we offer them. We are working at different initiatives aimed at involving them and getting to know how to mix what we sell. For instance, we involved eight stylists and bloggers and each of them will create a complete total look of products from our store that will be presented in each of our shop windows according to a budget, for instance no more than €500 per outfits, according to three themes and the consumer type we are targeting – either more essential (Minus), more fashion minded (Much) or more extravagant (More), as our store’s three main targets and product groups. 

M Collective store, Milan
M Collective store, Milan
Where do you order from? How do you inform yourself about trends?
We visit all trade shows, showrooms and any other occasion that can provide us information on most interesting products available on the market. We carry ahead a maniac-like extreme research in order to get the broadest vision of the market. Afterwards we fix appointments with single companies in order to create exclusive micro-collections for us. Young designers from all over the world are contacting us to present their collections. By July 2015, for instance, we will present our first selection of new brands through our store.

How do you communicate with your customers?
We communicate with our customers via newsletter but also through social networks and via viral media thanks to bloggers speaking about us. Some companies, already selling in our store, are also organising exclusive events through our store that are aimed at a specific group of clients who will be able to spend time and shop here.

How do the collections you offer for next season look like? And what are most important trends, in general?
Future collections will be always more influenced by a mix of new fits and cuts, new geometries and silhouettes. The new trend will focus on innovative oversize silhouettes for both men and women. Main hues will be earth colors, greys and black. We will see a strong influence borrowed by Northern European moods rather than Italian ones, which are generally more fitted.

Did you add any new labels to your assortment?
As mentioned before, we will add a series of new exclusive capsule collections – which we also hope to increase in the future – from both established brands and new upcoming designers.

M Collective store, Milan
M Collective store, Milan
How does your store differ from other stores?

We offer different merchandising mixes, each grouped in a part of the store and aimed at our three main consumer types - Minus, Much and More. Each category can find products of different price ranges according to the intrinsic quality of that specific item. We offer about 120 brands including, for instance, Casio, Timex, Nixon, Eyepetizer, Herschel and Karl Lagerfeld for accessories; 5Preview, Moa, Bosideng, Paolo Pecora, Xacus and Roundel London Underground for men's fashion; Karl Lagerfeld, Diadora, April 77 Jeans, See By Chloé, 313, Love nd Chic Appeal, Leitmotiv for woman's fashion.

What do you like about your customers?
We like when they enter our store, start smiling and curiously look around. Then start paying compliments because our store is nor sad or focused on celebrating itself.

M Collective store, Milan
M Collective store, Milan
How important is the interior, the atmosphere and the whole package? How do you approach your customers?
It is very important. For this, every day we mix all the products we carry in order to show a new store. This way, if a customer didn't see an item one day, they might notice another piece when re-entering another time. Packaging is also very important. For this, we involved nine different designers who gave their interpretation of our three categories - Minus, Much and More – each of them designing one of our shopping bags. And our customers appreciate this idea because it ignites their fever to collect all exemplars. 

M Collective
Viale Regina Giovanna 1
20129 Milan
Tel. 0039 334 223 4778