How many Gucci items do you own? Before answering, remember that Gucci stores also sell Yves Saint Laurent, Sergio Rossi, Alexander McQueen, Oscar de la Renta, and other brands. From its humble beginnings as a single-product firm, Gucci has grown and evolved into a dominant player in the fashion industry. The path was not always easy. Gucci started in Italy, took a detour through Bahrain, and has ended up in The Netherlands.
The House of Gucci was founded by Guccio Gucci in Florence, Italy, in 1921. Gucci was the son of a leather craftsman. While visiting Paris and London, he was impressed by the sophistication of the cultures he encountered. He returned to Italy to open his store, which sold small luggage and saddlery. Soon Gucci was a widely popular store, selling exclusive leather goods.
As the Gucci company grew, the product line continued to expand, as did the number of locations. Rome and Milan were two of the new sites. Guccio Gucci died in 1953, leaving his company to his brothers and family members. The Gucci heirs opened new stores in London, Paris, New York, and Palm Beach.
When the Gucci family sold the remainder of its interests in the company in the 1980s, the firm that purchased it was located in Bahrain. Unfortunately, the company had expanded so quickly that it had lost control over quality and distribution.
The newest owners are the Gucci Group NV, located in Amsterdam. The corporation fixed many problems by issuing shares of stock to finance growth. Currently the Gucci line includes watches, leather goods, perfumes, jewelry, and other items. Gucci Group NV now owns and operates 348 stores around the world.
In the United States, Gucci is marketed as a seductive, high-fashion brand. Visitors to the Gucci Web site can view the many products and stores that are all part of Gucci’s image. High fashion is a major feature of the Gucci line. All of Gucci’s products are advertised to enhance the same position.
Recently, Gucci appointed three new creative directors. One directs the women’s ready-to-wear collection, the second leads the men’s ready-to-wear collection, and the third manages the company’s fashion accessories.
Gucci provides an excellent example of how the leaders of one company were able to take a single line of products and eventually build a powerful international presence featuring dozens of products and brand names. Maintaining a cutting-edge position and image drives the marketing team at Gucci to innovate and grow with each new fashion trend.
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