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Highlights | Interviews

DUECCONSULTING. BRAND LICENSING WITH AN INNOVATIVE APPROACH

1 Sep - 2021

Nadia Caron and Romana Caldarelli of DueCConsulting give an exclusive interview to LM

The new agency DueCConsulting, after the first year, is ready to tell the industry about its projects and its portfolio. From the original approach to the market to the choice of dealing only with Brand Extension projects for Fashion Brands and Art Licensing, there are many new things to share. Let’s discover them together in this exclusive interview that Nadia Caron and Romana M. Caldarelli, founders of the agency, gave to LM.

LM. Who is Nadia Caron?

NC. My professional path began at Disney, where I worked for many years and then I moved to Viacom where I had an important experience, and I played the role of Senior Director Licensing Italy, Greece and Turkey. At a certain point in my professional life, I wanted more balance between work and my private life. So, I concluded that I needed a break. From there, I thought about stepping down as an employee and starting an adventure as a consultant. That’s when I found myself with Romana, who I already knew from the days when we both worked at Disney, and after a long discussion, we started this new adventure together.

There are many concepts and ideas that we both share. The modus operandi is also similar, and we learn a lot from each other. The experience we are having is a very comprehensive one. Because of our backgrounds, we are complementary. We also complete each other on the character side. At work, we look for respect and transparency, which are fundamental elements to carry on personal and professional projects. About this too, I found myself on the same page as Romana, who has the same vision.

LM. Who is Romana M. Caldarelli?

RC. I started working at Clementoni. Then I joined Disney where I met Nadia and stayed about 5 years. After that, I worked as Marketing and Licensing Manager in companies as Ferrari, Unoaerre, Trussardi, Rinascente, thus expanding my knowledge with a vision also linked to marketing and sales.

It also happened to me that at a certain point in my life I decided to take care of what I liked best and so I had the courage to leave the employee route and start working as a freelancer.

I started to deal with consulting, activating exclusive agreements with some brands and also providing companies with a consultancy to expand their business, then enter into alternative channels and create synergistic products.

I am also dedicated to some didactic activities, collaborating with some Design and Fashion Institutes including the IED Institute in Milan.

Brand has always been my passion and the first meeting last year with Nadia enlightened me. Working together is more stimulating. We both start from a common base, which is licensing, but the approach chosen for our agency is a bit different from that of most agencies. We’ve tried to leave entertainment to one side a little bit, focusing instead mainly on Fashion and Art.

LM. How is DueCConsulting different from other licensing agencies in the Italian market, in terms of portfolio and strategy?

RC. We don’t want to identify ourselves as a licensing agency, but rather as a consultancy. We would like to underline that we work in a tailor-made way with our clients, who are either Brands and Artists or Consumers Goods Companies. The main themes we deal with are Brand Identity and Brand Extension. We work – as I mentioned earlier – with both Licensors and potential Licensees. We focus on the declination of brands that come from the world of fashion, but also of design and art, collaborating with mainly contemporary artists.

NC. In this world, we have found several insights both from a creative and a more commercial point of view. Companies, operating in the sectors mentioned above, cannot always understand that there is potential for their brands outside of the sector in which they operate and by doing operations that bring visibility to their brand on products that are not part of their brand DNA. That’s why we talk more about consulting: in addition to commercial agreements, we work with many on communication, while with others we work on product development, rather than commercial.

The brands we work with all have international visibility and connotations. So, we start from the analysis and the story of the brands and their potentials that can be exploited by working in synergy with us and respecting their brand DNA. This principle led us to create DueCConsulting, a reality that we strongly wanted because we are two professionals with a level of experience that we can make available to the companies we work with.

LM. How do you choose which brands to partner with?

NC. The brands we have decided to collaborate with are brands that first of all have an international scope, economic solidity and give guarantees to the partners we work with. We work with licensors, but also with licensees. We work ad hoc for each project: we analyze the brand, considering first of all its values, the target they want to reach and making a whole series of analyses, to decide which is the project we want to carry out and how.

One important thing is the relationship that we establish with the brand because it all starts from there. We share our ideas, but we also listen to our partner’s requests, because we may have some excellent ideas to pursue, but we must always consider what the needs are for the benefit of the brand, which may be different from each other in terms of values, positioning and the activities that can be done.

We always pay a lot of attention to the principle that they are open, flexible brands and that we can do activities with a certain type of value, which can be exploited both from a commercial and a communication point of view. With the brand, we build from time to time what are the dynamics and then we take into account all the social parts, so important in recent times. We consider what is the product, distribution, pricing, and we support the whole process, from the legal point of view rather than creative.

RC. DueCConsulting has two categories of customers: brands and companies that want to develop licensing projects. So, some of our customers are those companies that acquire through licensing contracts brands for product development.

Sometimes it happens that a company that has historically been a licensee starts, thanks to research activities that we develop, to create its brand and to develop brand extension projects. We believe that in Italy many companies have this opportunity, unfortunately not fully developed if not in a random way. This is one of the aspects of our work that we are passionate about. Working with the same enthusiasm with both the licensor and the licensee helps us to have a very wide vision, and we support both in any kind of project.

Companies also rely on us to carry out ad hoc research to identify the most suitable brands for the development of new collections. These are companies that operate in different product categories, such as clothing, accessories, furniture, design or food. So we try to activate these searches by always giving content as well. We like to propose to a company a brand that has its reason why, which is content that creates a synergy between the company, the product and what the brand can be.

LM. Let’s talk about the brands you collaborate with…

RC. I start with MOMODESIGN, which is more than fashion. It is a brand definitely closely linked to Design for its timeless style. In fact, the goal is to extend the brand also in the Fashion sector in order to convey that urban style, essential with technical and sporty notes that characterize it. It is also well known abroad, such as in the Middle East. It is a brand on which we are carrying out ambitious projects we could talk about soon.

Another brand we collaborate with is ENRICO COVERI, a brand that is certainly strong in terms of recognition and challenging because it is declined in multiple brand lines that cover the various market segments, but with certainly excellent results. The Direct contact with the property owner, Mrs. Coveri, sister of Enrico Coveri, certainly gave us very interesting inputs to carry out new and current projects.

A third brand we manage, which is also historic, is LOVE THERAPY by Elio Fiorucci, which was created in the early 2000s. It is pure creativity, in which color combines good feelings, nature, love, and everything that can also relate to the environment. Exceptional and infinite creativity, characterized by fresh, strong colors and many patterns with a very wide possibility of realization.

LES COPAINS is another historic Italian brand created by Mr. Bandiera and now managed by the new owner who acquired the brand, the Zambelli family, formerly the long-standing licensee for knitwear. Les Copains, thanks to the new management, made its debut with the Women’s collection in the FW20, while for the FW21 it presented a Men’s capsule consisting exclusively of knitwear. Les Copains is characterized by a very defined heritage: informal and elegant, with a French spirit combined with the excellence of Italian savoir faire, fortified in its identity with a very high positioning in the affordable luxury range.

NC. We have been working with the ARAV group for some time, which has in its portfolio important brands such as Silvian Heach. The group was born in 2002 with this brand, which is aimed at young women with a clear and ambitious philosophy, creating affordable and gritty clothes for everyday life. In 2009 Silvian Heach launched the line dedicated to children. In 2016, it acquired the John Richmond brand, which currently develops men’s, women’s and children’s clothing. John Richmond is internationally recognized; it is a disruptive brand, very open to new trends, and very glamorous. In 2019, the group also acquires Marco Bologna, a young line with a strong stylistic identity, attention to research and street style trends.

LM. Tell us about your artists’ portfolio

RC. Within our portfolio, we have collaborations with artists. I start with the Saturday Evening Night Post, which is an American archive that collects all the cover artwork done by top artists, ranging from the 1920s to the early 1960s. They are true works of art, which communicate so much. We work very well with them because there is a lot of flexibility in creating ad hoc renderings based on the requests of potential clients and image textures that can also be a means of communication for particular themes.

Young & Battaglia are two artists who live in London, an Englishman and an Italian woman who have invented a very particular style. These images are very classic, even baroque, but with a twist of humor. Y&B’s work often blends old and new, combining familiar ideas to create something original, just as a music DJ creates remixes of old tunes. Their goal is to inject a sense of wonder into everyday objects and spaces around us, telling stories and creating art and objects that are a bit out of the ordinary.

Another artist in our portfolio is an Italian photographer, Furio Brigo. Photographer artist by passion, he dedicates himself exclusively to Urbex – which stands for urban exploration and consists in exploring, often by infiltrating, abandoned places mostly unknown to the masses. Pearls of absolute architectural and artistic beauty, forgotten and left to themselves and neglect. Places that manage to excite and amaze and that are reborn thanks to photography. More than a hobby, more than a passion, doing urbex means deeply loving what surrounds us, the artistic heritage of a country like ours, Italy, which sometimes does not realize how much it possesses, how much it is worth, of its wonder. Furio’s photographs have a gothic, mysterious spirit but above all they are images that do not leave indifferent. We are also carrying out a very interesting project with him, linked to design.

Last but not least, we collaborate with a crew of Street Artists led by Kayone and the Urban Gallery STRADEDARTS. We work with them on the creation of different projects, ranging from also related to events, product customization, and to live performances in events that are always very captivating.

LM. Is there anything we can announce yet regarding the projects you are finalizing?

NC. So many projects have been in the works since we started, almost one year ago. We’ve been working on a lot these months. Building projects takes time and there are several ongoing ones, while others have been defined but still need to be formalized. So, at the moment we can’t announce anything official, but very soon you’ll hear from us with more detailed information about the projects we have finalized. Stay tuned!

LM. How about your future plans, what can you tell us?

NC. We will continue our research both from the point of view of licensees and trends, to expand our portfolio. In addition, we will consolidate all the projects that have been started in the meantime.

In the future, we will focus on two new areas. One is childcare, both heavy and light. Especially in the heavy one we have a very interesting project that we have already started to develop, and of which the results will be seen soon. The other focus is on loyalties: we know that this sector is very important both for the development of the project and from the point of view of the visibility of all the activities that can be done.

An important challenge is to involve those brands that are still reluctant to approach this type of sector. Precisely, our project is to develop high-level projects, in synergy with professionals in the sector.

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