Entrepreneurial philosopher, became the Number one of cashmere, imposing a company vision that put first the landscape and human relationships. And he's the expression of the tipical Italian luxury
Taking his lead from Cesare Beccaria, Jeremy Bentham claimed that the objective of every social organization should be “the greatest happiness of the greatest number” of people and that any action is judged ”to be right” by its ability to impact on “the happiness of the community”, especially in an industrial society. Widely known as the king of cashmere and the entrepreneurial philosopher, Brunello Cucinelli has espoused Bentham’s principles while also taking inspiration from Renaissance humanism, Senecan Stoicism and Benedictine strictness.
On top of this, he has embraced the theories of the 20th century economist Theodore Levitt, who believed that the purpose of a company is to keep and satisfy its customers. Cucinelli’s highly individual entrepreneurial philosophy has quickly turned what was originally a small manufacturer into the number one cashmere brand. The roots of its success lie in its history and heritage of great craftsmanship, as well as its contemporary designs: a blend of innovation and artisan expertise is behind its invaluable strategy. The meticulous care taken over the production process is underlined by the superior raw materials that are used. Together with its know-how and creativity, the company from Solomeo’s sartorial prowess and 100% Italy-based artisan manufacturing processes make it one of the most exclusive exponents of the Italian lifestyle worldwide.
The company currently has approximately 1,500 in-house employees and 3,500 external contractors. In the first nine months of 2015, it had a turnover of €317 mn, 83% of which came from other countries, especially North America. “In September 2015, our revenues were up by 14%. In the next two years, we expect to see healthy, double-digit growth, as we continue to uphold our business model. Furthermore, we intend to reinforce our presence throughout the East of the world,” stated Brunello Cucinelli, the Chairman and CEO of the company of the same name.
Cucinelli’s enlightened realm began to take shape near Perugia in 1978, thanks to a bank loan and the idea of colouring cashmere, which was previously only available in natural colours. The first collection contained just five women’s pullovers, which were long and close-fitting around the waist. It proved very popular and sales soared. In 1985 he bought the derelict, almost entirely abandoned castle in the village of Solomeo and made it into his new company headquarters. Since then, the buzz of sewing machines has resounded through its halls. The village is home to the company offices, store and canteen/restaurant as well.
It is a rare example of completely successful integration between business objectives and staff wellbeing because it also contains a library, a theatre, an amphitheatre and a “Philosophers’ Garden” with sloping terraces looking out over the hilly Umbrian landscape that encourage people to reflect. In addition there is a house/workshop called the “Neo-Humanist Academy”, which is based on the mediaeval model of brotherhood between arts and crafts. It offers people the chance to learn handicraft techniques and take English, architecture and philosophy courses.
“I grew up in the village of Solomeo. My life and my work are here. We strive to respect people and the planet in our work and try to think of ourselves as its current guardians. We would like to leave it in a better state than we found it: that is our mission,” asserted Cucinelli. Among the company’s future plans is a big internet-based scheme to overhaul its technological platform and manage the brand’s presence in the digital world. It started in 2014 with the creation of a dedicated structure and it will continue with improvements to the management systems for the online store and the warehouse in Solomeo. The goal is to make using the traditional boutique and online channels a unique experience that encapsulates the Brunello Cucinelli lifestyle, the essence of the village of Solomeo, the brand’s exclusive positioning and the customized service for each of its end customers. Substantial human and financial resources will be invested in the project, which will reflect the strategic decision to have an exclusive presence in the digital world and the company’s concept of being online artisans and humanists.