Gucci is an Italian luxury brand of fashion and leather goods. The brand is of Italian descent and unarguably one of the biggest fashion labels in the world today. The brand is aged, have come a long way and has its sprawling influence on every continent under the sun. It’s known for quality and excellence. This reflected in all of its product which as you know screams of luxury and class. Gucci has a global presence in about 550+ locations and 278 operated stores, that was in 2009 and you know one thing with growth, that number would have tripled by now. The brand also operates via franchisees and upscale departmental stores globally. The Gucci brand is valued at $7.2 Billion as at 2017 and is the 38th most valuable brand in the world.
Lets Take a Look at the hIstory of this Iconic brand and how it all began
The history is quite a rich and lengthy one with the typical humble beginnings, but we are making it terse here.
Early Life of Guccio Gucci
So the brand Gucci is the name of the owner who was born in the year 1881 in Florence,Tuscany, Italy. His father was an Italian leather goods maker who came from the North. Initially, Gucci cared little about his father’s line of trade and so would travel to other European nations like London and Paris so look for jobs. He would wait on customers, do the dishes and concierge. These and other menial jobs characterized the early beginnings of this son of an Italian leather goods merchant.
The Turning Point
While in London working as a lift attendant at the prestigious Savoy hotel, he noted with keen observation the luxurious lifestyle of the people patronizing the hotel. He observed in particular, the luxurious nature of the luggage’s he would attend to and that piqued his interest. The lavishness of the wealthy class and the famous people of London reflected in their hotel patronage and that ignited something on the inside of Guccio Gucci.
Retruning Back to Italy
After the luxury sights and sound in London, Gucci returned back to Florence, Italy where he demonstrated his new found love immensely. He was about 40 at the time and suddenly found interest in his father’s line of business. So he toed his father’s path and did even greater things. He then went on to create a reformation in the leather goods industry in his home base much to the surprise of his father – we are guessing.
The Making of the Brand – Gucci
So in 1921, Guccio Gucci opened the first Gucci shop in Florence and that marked the beginging of one of the world’s most prodigious and most celebrated luxury goods brand. This shop began with the sale of fine leather goods but later expanded into manufacturing. He had on his payroll, artisans and fine workers who were well skilled in Florentine leather crafts and are rapt to finishings. With time, machine stole the jobs of these skilled craftsmen and began doing the stitches.
As things panned out well for Gucci's business, his three sons got involved. Aldo Gucci (1905–1990), Vasco Gucci (1907–1975), and Rodolfo Gucci (1912–1983), all became partners of the business that led to the opening of outlets in Milan and Rome. These two cities were prominent for fashion and luxury goods and so the choice for expansion into them couldn't have been more super. Suffice to add that, Florence the birth place and headquarters had additional shops too as the business expanded. The stores would put up impeccably crafted leather accessories, shoes, handbags and the brands signature loafers. Soon, word got around that Gucci is the new best thing in craftsmanship and those words were true.
In 1953, Aldo and Rodolfo scaled things upwards for the business when they opened the first oversea outlet of the Gucci business in New York. Offices were opened in New York and the business flourished like the palm. Movie stars and other celebrities who would travel to Italy became infected with Gucci fever that was going viral at the time. This then earned the brand an international status since the movie stars would pose in accessories, footwear, clothing and lifestyle magazines all bearing the Gucci monogram.
The Family Crisis
The business thrived after the death of Gucci in the 50's. It thrived further into the 60's and 70's until disaster struck in the 80's. The family got plunged into internal disputes. Rodolfo's son Maurizio Gucci took over the business after his father's death in 1983 and sent his uncle Aldo packing. Aldo would later do sometime in prison for tax evasion. The business would slip off the hands of the Gucci family after Maurizio demonstrated how reckless he could be with management. He ended up bringing a third party into the family business. In 1988, InvestCorp, a Bahrain-based company took over ownership of the business when Maurizio sold it to them. Finally, in 1993 Maurizio finished what was left of the family stock in the business and got assassinated in Milan in 1995.
The Brand After the Gucci Family
New names were introduced into the business after it was off the care of the Gucci family. Domenico de sole was promoted from attorney to President of Gucci America in 1994 and was made Chief excecutive in 1995. Earlier on in 1989, the company had introduced Dawn Mello, an editor and ready-to-wear designer as part of the team to resurrect the company's dying reputation. Mello who was more than aware of how bad things have gone as regards the brand name and reputation, employed Tom Ford in 1990 to design a ready-to-wear line. That strategy had worked and Mello went ahead to do other great things for the Gucci brand. She was later promoted to creative director in 1994 and before going back to her previous position as President of American retailer Bergdorf Goodman, she began the process that would see the headquarters of Gucci return back to its birthplace in Florence instead of Milan. Ford went great guns with the Gucci label and today, it's all pretty history and glorious Gucci all over the place.