September 19, 2019
CEO of Gigi Studios
Q: The company name is changing from Gigi Barcelona to Gigi Studios. Tell us how this decision has come about and what is your aim with this new identity?
A: I feel that Gigi Studios’ approach is both global and design orientated, which says much more about the brand than our former name. That’s something I have had clear in my mind that had to be done over the past few years and we just have chosen the best moment to do it. We are a Barcelona based company and we are (and will always will be) proud of our origins, but at this moment our company is getting bigger and becoming a reference around the world and Gigi Studios defines us much better.
It is also very important for me to disengage from other brands that have Barcelona in their name.
It was not easy to convince everybody, but my feeling is it had to be done and the feedback so far has been great.
Q: Your company has reported good growth in 2018 with this continuing this year. What is the key to this success in your view for Gigi, which is a relatively young company?
A: Yes, we have closed 2018 doubling our net income and we have the same forecasts for 2019. We are growing at an incredibly fast rate and this is due to the important work that is being carried out by the professional, committed team that I lead, with great pride and passion. I believe that the key to this success is having clear goals and strategies, working with great passion and effort and being obsessed with looking after the smallest details. In more specific terms, I would say that our collections, our brand image and our very ambitious expansion policy have been essential to be able to consolidate this growth.
Q: What is your personal business background - did it always involve eyewear or was there something else previously? What are your company’s values and ambitions for 2020 in view of this growth?
A: My grandfather created an eyewear factory in Barcelona, back in the 1960s; my father carried on with his legacy, from a very young age he was involved in the family business, making it grow. I inherited my passion for a well-made product from him.
I accompanied him to the international trade fairs and on business trips when I was still very young; he has always made an effort to pass on all his knowledge to me and for this I will always be very grateful to him. Since I was a child I have been surrounded by this world: the frames, the company... and it is something that I have been soaking up and for which I think I have an innate gift.
I studied fashion design in London and I began to work in my father’s company when I was 21. To begin with, this was just to lend a hand and earn some money to set up my own projects – at that time I wanted to create my own clothing brand.
But I quickly became hooked to the eyewear sector. My father placed his trust in me from the very start and little by little I took on more responsibility, and in the end I radically transformed the company. Today, I lead a team of over 60 people and a brand name that I believe is the emerging brand with the greatest projection on the market.
My goal for 2020 is to continue doing things well: creating collections that I feel proud of; laying some good foundation to consolidate our predicted growth and above all, continuing to build a brand universe around what has now become GIGI Studios.
\\ A/W collection
Q: Outline the new collections showing at SILMO. Can we identify any special nuances that indicate the new direction at Gigi Studios?
A: At SILMO 2019 we are presenting 51 new designs. Our three collections are renewed: Optical, Sun and Lab. In this launch, we have given a push to acetate frames; we have worked them with angles and sculpted volumes that move us to develop frames with a special character. As for colours, we have worked with translucent and crystal shades. Our brand has always been stronger in metal, but I believe that these new styles will make our collection more balanced. Regarding metal, we keep developing and presenting great new designs in stainless steel both in our Optical and Sun collections. For Gigi Studios Lab, we are launching a series of new beta titanium models and models mixing beta titanium and Japanese High Density Acetate. Frames that are minimalistic, technical and lightweight.
Q: In terms of trends, do you see any particularly direction or is there a wide-ranging freedom to express shapes, colours and designs according to unique view points?
A: I think that the trend is very wide-reaching at present. If I had to emphasise any trend in particular: for eyeglasses, very round shapes that are quite light in acetate and in metal continue, hexagonal shapes are on the rise, along with square aviator shapes, which are becoming increasingly minimalistic. Metal is still playing a starring role this season, although acetate is returning to take up its place. With regard to colours, transparent shades are very popular.
Q: What is your current distribution in Europe and worldwide and do you have strong ambitions to expand in particular markets in 2020?
A: Our main market is Europe, where we have our own sales teams in countries such as Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Germany, Austria, Belgium, along with the United Kingdom. On other important markets such as Russia, Canada, Greece or Israel, we have agreements with the top distribution companies. And at the beginning of this year we opened a subsidiary company in the US. There, we have great plans with a very talented team, which during this year has been working to introduce the brand in the country’s main opticians’. Without any doubt, the USA is going to be the most important area for us next year.
Our goal is to keep recruiting talent to expand the brand to many other countries and to develop sales networks that allow us to reach best opticians’ worldwide.
\\ New optical collection A/W: for Silmo release
Q: Are there other important changes or developments coming at Gigi Studios that respond directly to the competitive landscape of the optical market? What are your aspirations over the next 2-5 years?
A: For 2020, we plan to open a new showroom in Barcelona. A central space to show our collections and serve our clients in an area that defines us and that transmits our brand universe. Regarding the strategic plan for the next two-five years, the keystones are working hard on our collections; working to structure them and segment them correctly and probably making a slightly larger collection. Always looking after all the details, the design, the finishes and offering the best quality to our clients. Also, building up the brand and being able to transmit the history behind Gigi Studios; continuing to build a unique identity and image with our campaigns and the brand’s entire visual universe. Working on a strong, global communication plan.
Commercially speaking, continuing to create solid sales networks that allow us to keep expanding all over the world, always selecting the best points of sale. With regard to the organisation, adapting the structure to be able to consolidate our predicted growth, creating teams and work processes that make sense at each new stage of the company.
Q: Are you looking at sustainability?
A: Yes. An important change that we have been working on for some time now, but that has become a reality with Gigi Studios, is becoming a sustainably responsible company. We are making a serious effort to avoid the use of plastics or to reduce their use as much as possible. If they are necessary, we are working to find alternatives that are biodegradable. It is something that is important to me and in the very near future, I hope to be able to feel proud of how we manage this aspect.