A company passed down from father to son. Founded in 1998 by Eugenio Banchi, today, the D'Eugenio Srl buying office is managed by Stefano Banchi who, together with his siblings, sells Made in Italy apparel and footwear coming from a portfolio of Italian companies in the mid to high-end range to foreign distributors. Alongside this activity, for the last two years, Stefano Banchi has also proposed a total look line of clothing named Your Bicycle, which is produced in Apulia and distributed in Italy.
Signor Banchi, what direction has your work taken in this unusual year of pandemic?
“We witnessed a complete overturning of our work. With the closing of businesses, cities locked down, the conversion to smart working, the impossibility of travelling abroad, and fairs cancelled, we were forced to modify the ways we stay in contact with customers and the way we guarantee a service that is up to our high standards of quality. We relied on videoconferences and, strong from the trust placed in us by our clientele, we were able to continue working. In the case of footwear, which must be touched in order to verify the materials, the sole, and the details, the rapport we have constructed with our clientele over the years allowed us to explain the product to them, including an effective description of the features, so we could continue to sell”.
What are the key concepts on which you’ve focused to maintain a quality service in this context?
“From one end, digitalisation that speeds up and simplifies the workflow. Versatility: listening to the customer, not being standardised and having the courage to change. Brandering, that is to say having a brand strategy, is a winning card for both the customer and the store. Then there is the use of social networks, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn for the storytelling of products. Finally, dynamism: the motto of my Your Bicycle line of clothing is that in order to maintain your balance on a bike, you must keep moving …”
What kind of signals is the market sending with regards to product trends?
“Consumer habits have changed: there’s more staying at home, more smart working, and fewer occasions for showing off your shoes. As a consequence, classic footwear has been penalised, and I believe we will be unable to intercept any kind of recovery before next year. On the other hand, athletic footwear, comfort shoes, and slippers have had the most success. At the same time, we have witnessed greater interest by consumers in themes of sustainability. We intercepted these demands, finding new models, more oriented towards comfort, and new materials, with special attention to the environment. Our suppliers, with whom we have a rapport of reciprocal trust that has been constructed over the years, are converting to the sports-oriented trend, streetwear, and to the search for comfort. And they are making great efforts to reply to the customer demand for sustainability”.
Which markets do you work with and what are the trends characterising them?
“Our markets of reference are the Americas where our products have an advantage in terms of a Made in Italy image and quality. The United States are recovering quite well, thanks to their drive. At the same time, even if Latin America is still struggling with the pandemic, it seems like it’s finding a way out of this crisis”.
What support have digital fairs like Expo Riva Schuh given you in doing business?
“They have been of excellent support to the markets and operators who were unable to meet up in person, and for me, they represented a good tool for staying up to date on market trends”.
What is your vision of the sector’s future?
“I believe that Made in Italy will recover: as Italians, we have access to great resources, and I am sure that we will come out of this difficult situation with our heads held high. We can do it: the important thing is to get started and, in keeping with the metaphor of Your Bicycle, get back in the saddle!”