Gianmaria Brini and Cristiana Andreoli, husband and wife, as well as owners (until yesterday!) respectively of the Brini and AC Showroom are two old friends of Wait Fashion. With them we organized several events during Pitti Immagine called Brini VS Wait within the large space of the Brini showroom in Piazza D’Azeglio in the center of Florence where we mixed presentations of brand collections, within a context where events, food tastings and parties alternated with DJ-sets of musicians lik Morgan, Boosta from Subsonica and Ghemon.
From this season, Gianmaria and Cristiana have decided to merge their two ‘historic’ showrooms to give life to a new creature: a unique showroom called BIG.AND SHOWROOM.
Friendship and esteem, but above all the importance of the project that was born, prompted us to interview them to find out more.
Hello Cristiana! Hi Giamaria. As always, it is a pleasure to have a chat with you. But this is the first opportunity to tell our readers about your new project.
But first let’s tell the story from the beginning … and then the story of your showrooms!
Cristiana: The showroom was founded in 1979 by my father Ugo Andreoli who then associates Paolo Chiama, starting the company Andreoli and Chiama, which had the representation of international brands such as Moschino, Jean Paul Gaultier, Red Valentino, See by Chloé, Yoji Yamamoto, Class Cavalli, M Missoni and many others of the highest level.
About a year ago the company changed from Andreoli e Chiama to AC showroom managed entirely in my name where I tried to personalize research and communication, following the evolution of the market, choosing brands that offer a story to tell as well as a ‘high quality of the garments produced and an avant-garde stylistic research.
Gianmaria: The Brini Showroom is a story of passion for fashion that began in 1976 by Giovanni and Auri Brini, my parents.
The owned showroom is located in the center of Florence in one of the most beautiful squares of the city with a space of about 1000 square meters and a large parking lot inside.
The showroom has successfully dealt with lines of the caliber of Max Mara, Montana, Ungaro, Valentino, Fendi, Kenzo and many others.
I joined the staff of the family business in 1995, a year characterized by exponential corporate growth: additional space, the acquisition of another floor of the Florence showroom and the formation of a young and skilled team.
What reasons led you to choose to merge your two important and already established realities?
Cristiana and Gianmaria: We are proud to say that our relationship has lasted for over twenty years and we have mutual respect from a working point of view.
This idea had been in our minds for a long time and during the first lock-down we decided to take this step by speeding up the times.
Today the merging of your two showrooms only creates the merger of your brand lists, contacts and management within a single location or does it generate something new and different?
Cristiana and Gianmaria: Surely it is in our attitudes the research and evolution that distinguishes us and has always rewarded us.
With this step we certainly do not aim to simply merge our brand lists and optimize costs and management, but we aim to raise the bar even more.
In fact, we were able to move our projects giving life to ideas that had been in the pipeline for some time as an innovative support to companies and customers; we have strengthened the distribution network using new professionals and we have shortened the distance with a new project.
Furthermore, in the structure, there is a third pillar that has been collaborating with us for several years: Francesco Bindi.
We met Francesco many years ago when he was a buyer for a prestigious client in Tuscany. Later, Francesco began a path of representation and in 2016 we met again and we closed a collaboration agreement in which he, with his Francesco Bindi Showroom, follows his personal brands and also our brands.
A question that comes spontaneously … Where does the new name: BIG.AND SHOWROOM come from ?
Gianmaria: The new BIG.AND SHOWROOM logo is the acronym of Brini Gianmaria and Andreoli which is the surname of Cristiana, my wife.
Husband and wife, who work closely together in such a competitive and stressful environment: the question arises. Do you think it could be a strong point or are you afraid that you will have to be careful in managing the personal and professional spheres?
Cristiana and Gianmaria: Fortunately we can say that, in our case, it is absolutely a strong point: as we mentioned before we have been united for many years in a personal relationship so our merger has undoubtedly allowed us to enhance the characteristics we already had matured with our personal stories.
Today, uniting the two staffs of collaborators from both the commercial and administrative departments allows us to enhance our services and make it easier for customers to find brands in a single space.
Very first season together and a season that, unfortunately, intersects with the most difficult period of recent decades due to the pandemic.
Can you make me an assessment of these first months?
Cristiana: The feedback is rewarding our choice. We know that it is a crucial moment and we are running in the mechanisms, but the market is still alive and extremely motivated: in fact this season, thanks to the Tuscan clientele alone, we have had over 250 passes.
Give us an overview of the brands you represent.
Cristiana and Gianmaria: We work with brands for men, women, children and also accessories … to name a few: Moschino, Tatras, Clarks Originals, Edwin, Gloverall, Daniele Alessandrini, Wiki And, Absolute Cashmere, Souvenir, Weili Zeng, Des Petits Hauts, Nine: Inthe: Morning, DNL, Cotazur, FRNCH, I Love my Pants, Camerucci etc.
Which brands are the most historic and which new ones do you think could be revelations?
Cristiana and Gianmaria: Surely the most historical are Moschino, Clarks Originals, Edwin, Gloverall, Daniele Alessandrini who are joined by brands such as Wiki And, Weili Zeng, Nine: Inthe: Morning, I Love my Pants, Souvenir etc.
The latter, in our opinion, are all brands that can have a good future given their proactive, streamlined, clear and legible characteristics, but above all due to the fact that they have a specific personality and characteristics that clearly differentiate them from each other. .
What characteristics must a brand have to enter your brand list?
Cristiana: The first reaction to a product is undoubtedly emotional and linked to the imagination, the ability to tell a story and cutting-edge stylistic research that is able to communicate a concept. The immediacy of the stimuli perceived by the customer is undoubtedly very important.
Subsequently, the evaluation is moved to the company with a focus on its characteristics summarized in seriousness in deliveries, wearability … These are fundamental points for the development of a project, especially if it is young.
I also know that you are working on a digital showroom. Is it already operational? Can you tell me something more? How does it work?
Cristiana and Gianmaria: Yes, the virtual Showroom is already active. A few steps from our headquarters we collaborate with a photographic studio that deals exclusively full time in digitizing brands.
We can say that it is the solution to create cutting-edge connections and sales strategies capable of speeding up the contact between companies and customers and that in this way they become very direct and are able to overcome distances.
An important obstacle, generated by the pandemic, such as the need to overcome physical distances has become the opportunity to take the opportunity to extend our customers even outside the region and abroad through a current tool, with the advantage of reducing costs by all.
Today your showroom is undoubtedly an absolute reference point in Tuscany. How are your relationships with customers from other regions and also international ones? Do you have extra-regional aspirations or do you want to keep the focus on your region?
Cristiana and Gianmaria: We have always worked also in Emilia Romagna and we have contacts with the best boutiques also in MUAM.
In fact, as explained above, it is thanks to our E-Showroom and our Mailing List system that we have had the opportunity, in a way that is also surprising for feedback, to get in touch with other realities. Really an excellent strategy to broaden our radars both in research and in contacts.
I know that your service has been recognized for years also for the after-sales attention and customer support. Can you explain how you make a difference on this point?
Gianmaria: Accuracy and reliability in administration management, strength in the commercial sector, customer care in pre and post-sales and immediate responses to companies … These are some fundamental aspects and focus-points on which our structure focuses to achieve the set goals.
For years we have always had a strong presence on all social and web channels, which remain available to customers for the discovery of new brands and new trends.
The historic and large space in the center of Florence in Piazza d’Azeglio. We at Wait Fashion know it well because we have been organizing parties, events and off-salon events during Pitti Immagine for several years.
Will the location undergo evolutions and transformations? And do you think that, as in the past, it could also be the venue for events related to fashion in the coming seasons?
Cristiana and Gianmaria: Sure! We intend to create new events as the space is perfect. We are waiting for the right time!
As in the past, ideal situations will lend themselves to the various events, both fashionable and not, that have always been in Florence.
Both those related to Pitti (Pitti Uomo, Pitti Bimbo, Pitti Fragranze) but also the vintage fair located in the prestigious “Stazione Leopolda” and the craft fair.
As you said, the success of the ‘fuorisalone’events organized together with you of Wait was really great, making our spaces available with small contributions from emerging brands, to mix in addition to the simple exhibition of garments, even artist performances, show-cooking with top-level characters in the sector, street art evolutions and DJ sets of the caliber of Morgan, Boosta of Subsonica and the now established Ghemon.
Even art, design and a thousand ideas whirl in our heads and our spaces are only waiting for new opportunities to be lived, also giving the opportunity to our Brands to be able to manage real corners / showcases already visible from the windows of our external facades that will characterize the structure, effectively renewing the appeal of the environment.
Try to give 3 tips to a new store that wants to open today in Italy
Cristiana and Gianmaria:
– BRANDS SELECTION: try to stand out from the competition and to give a precise identity message
– PASSION AND DETERMINATION: always stay on track, follow your customers, giving in turn a serious and punctual service
– SOCIAL / E-COMMERCE: don’t neglect online sales and web and social channels. These are now fundamental channels that today can be managed in various ways and not only on the classic established platforms such as Farfetch and SHOPenauer, but also the most homemade, but in any case not lacking in effectiveness. During the closures of this last period we have witnessed, and we must congratulate, many customers who have shown themselves to be attentive and creative in giving life to many types of sales with different and innovative supports. Starting from end customer support through video calls, social media publications up to home deliveries.
We are a resourceful people, and when we are put under pressure, we know how to explode ideas and our creativity!
Info & contacts:
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