Graziano Mazza, visionary creative mind, entrepreneur and founder of Premiata, speaks about his footwear brand’s newest projects, records and future challenges.
What are Premiata’s newest projects?
For s/s 2019, we have launched Sharky, the first exclusive style of our new Sizey chunky sneaker collection, a style that immediately sold out.
This model is a tribute to Air System, a genius patent that can now be used by everyone–though we are the first ones in our segment doing this.
This shoe is also very particular and rich with details. On its bottom, there are symbols of the land where our company’s headquarter is based since 1885, in Montegranaro, in the Marche region, an area in the center of Italy that has always been characterized by high quality footwear manufacturing.
Its complex upper also reminds of our region’s hilly landscape. We re-created it by using different colors and materials assembled together with special cuts.
Its heel carries different graphics such as the nine stars of the World Championship won by motorcycle champion Valentino Rossi, the waves of the Adriatic Sea and four symbols of the most practiced sports here.
The Sharky logo, then, is iconic and represents a stylized shark eye–also tied to the sea.
When we first released this model our first aim was to sell 2,000 pairs, though it was so successful we increased its production to 5,000 pairs despite the higher request we got. We sold it to 100 high-level multibrand stores worldwide and it practically sold out.
For our second release, for f/w 2019-20, for our Drake model, inspired by an imaginary dragon, we decided to close our orders once we reached 10,000 pairs, even if, also in this case requests were higher.
What evolution do you see in the footwear and sneaker markets?
Sneakers are playing the lion’s part and taking away quotas from footwear. This is happening since the 1990s when many companies have started taking this new direction as ours did.
I think sneakers will continue to be successful for quite a long time in the future.
How will Premiata evolve?
Premiata offers a vast range of innovative products with different style characteristics. It includes men's and women's models such as high-end leather shoes, boots with extreme bottoms, shoes in vintage leather, retro-running sneakers with precious fabrics, technical trekking with Vibram soles though interpreted in a fashionable version, precious design workwear boots, function-meets style backpacks and this newborn Sizey chunky sneaker.
Premiata is a "liquid" brand and transforms itself continuously; it takes always new paths, in every direction and unpredictably. Proportions make a product always current and ensure that it never ages over time. This is how we are evolving.
How is the brand performing?
Premiata produced more than 500,000 pairs of sneakers in 2018. We launched our first sneakers in 2009 and reached this result in 10 years starting from zero while registering a constant growth.
Today we are selling our sneakers to over 1,200 multibrand stores and to our five monobrand stores. The most representative one is in Milan, in via Sant’Andrea 12, in the very heart of the city’s golden shopping triangle. We also own a store in Berlin and run three more together with local partners in Korea in Busan, in Tokyo in the Ginza area and in Russia, in St. Petersburg.
You produce most of your collections in Italy. How can you succeed in that?
It is hard being an entrepreneur in Italy today, but it is also very stimulating as I am strongly tied to my region and I want to continue living and working here.
I hope that something changes here, for instance, in bureaucracy and defense of our patents in order to make our job easier.
Do you also produce a part of your collections in Far East?
Italian craftsmanship and workers are an example of excellence, but this doesn’t mean that in the rest of the world there aren’t any valid manufacturers. I have actually found some very good ones for producing my sneakers. All phases of design, prototype production and material selection come from Italy and Europe, while the assembling phase happens abroad under our technicians’ control.
What are Premiata’s most successful markets?
Out of our total sales 40% are from Italy. We also get good results, in order of importance, from Russia, Korea, Spain, Japan and Germany.
We are not selling in the US and the UK but we are investing to grow there as elsewhere. We have also started selling to China and initially we met great success, though now, as many other companies, we are facing problems as there is no respect for intellectual property there.
Premiata also sells an apparel collection in its stores. Are you considering selling it in multibrand stores, too?
We are studying that, but before starting any new adventure we would like to first consolidate our core business and avoid losing of sight our own essence.