Gucci And Its Founder
Fashion industry always seems shallow and sinister, but that is because the media always focus on what’s going on outside the industry. And we also need to understand that it’s a very competitive business, that’s why models and designers compete so hard against each other.
You would be surprised how many fashion businesses that have a worldwide presence today actually started from the bottom, and made their way to the top with hard work.
Gucci is one of them, and today I would love to tell you a bit more about this brand and its founder.
Are You The “Next” Gucci?
But Gucci’s story started 40 years later; when Guccio was a young man he had to work as a lift boy at the Savoy Hotel in London.
He had to carry bags all day, and as a leather knower, of course, he got interested in the different types of bags people would carry to the hotel. He was particularly fascinated with the elegant upper-class guests, they carried H.J. Cave & Sons’ luggage.
Extra interesting fact: This was a leather luxury goods company and they invented the luxury leather handbag, which is the one that inspired Guccio years later to establish his brand.
Guccio didn’t found Gucci until his 40s. After coming back home from his job at the hotel, he began selling leather bags to horsemen. He had nothing more than his talent and his father’s reputation.
With those things together, Guccio crafted high-quality leather bags for horsemen in the 1920s. He built his own reputation really fast and gathered a small group of the best craftsmen in town, and by 1938 expanded his brand to Rome.
It took Guccio almost 30 more years to take his business out of Europe, but in the end, he took it worldwide.
Let’s sink into the details of Guccio’s life to grab some juicy and interesting facts about his family and brand.
Gucci: Incredibly Intriguing Facts, I promise.
- Something that broke the pattern and made him recognizable was that the first leather bags he sold were, in fact, inspired by the London fashion industry. It was a British trend running on the streets of Tuscany.
- While Guccio was working at the Savoy Hotel he met many celebrities of the time, including Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra and Winston Churchill.
- He was so determined to take his business to the top that even during the dictatorship of Mussolini in 1940, when the supply of leather reduced dramatically, he didn’t stop. Instead, he used his creativity and the resources he was surrounded by and crafter the famous Gucci Bamboo Bag.
- This emergency move became so popular that he took the bamboo pattern for future designs of many different products.
- Since Jackie Kennedy was often spotted carrying Gucci bags, they decided to name the shoulder bag model (her favorite) after her, and now it’s called “Jacki O Bags”.
- Guccio died in 1953, but until his lasts days, he handled the brand himself.
- The famous GG logo was created seven years after his death, in his honor. It became the trademark insignia of the company until our days, and it represents a status of glamour, luxury, and desirability.
- Guccio had six children, Rodolfo took the company’s lead after he passed away but in 1980 many internal disputes occurred, and forced Rodolfo’s son, Maurizio to take the company president title.
- Aldo, Rodolfo’s brother, had to serve some prison term for tax evasion, and Maurizio wasn’t really the best president a company could have and sold part of the company to Investcorp in 1988.
- And one more turbulent event hit the family: Maurizio got killed in 1995, his wife had hired a hitman. Apparently, she resented Maurizio so hard for selling the company that she wanted to take care of “the issue” herself, but her eyesight wasn’t so good so she hired someone else to do the job.
- Trying to run away from the family scandal and the economic disaster, Gucci hired Tom Ford. Within 5 years, sales increased by 90% and the company was worth about $4 billion.
- In 1998, Gucci came up with an incredible design for a pair of jeans that they called “Genius Jeans”. They were so popular that even reached the Guinness World Records Book as the most expensive jeans ever sold: $3,134 that year, can you guess how much they are worth today?
- Surprisingly, Gucci didn’t have a runaway until 60 years after its founding. And the first one they ever made happened in Florence. So you know they do not forget about their roots.
- In fact, they are so proud of where they come from that they opened a Gucci Museum back in Florence. They display their 90 years of history and have become one of the top touristic attractions in Florence.
- Gucci is not only about clothing and accessories, you see, but this is also a brand that represents luxury and elegance, concepts that are not limited to anything. So they have made several automobile collaborations. Can you imagine riding a car with leather Gucci seats? Yes, it sounds, feels and smells fancy.
- To the date, Gucci has around 278 directly operated stores all around the world. And in 2013, the brand was valued in more than $12 billion.
You have to see deep down someone’s history to understand their present.
The fashion industry seems shallow and tough, but that’s because they know they have to be the best at something. They have to be seen and be remembered for their best work.
And just like Guccio, it is never too late to start working on your passion. It is never a bad idea to get inspiration from others and work it to make it truly yours.
But what I think it’s the most important teaching, never forget where you come from. Despite all the innovation, the controversies and the stormy weather, be loyal to your roots.
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