BoF Podcast | Francesca Bellettini on managing creativity, clients and the bottom line

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Last week, Francesca Bellettini was named Executive Vice President of Brand Development at Kering, making her the most powerful female executive in the luxury fashion segment. As part of her new role, she will not only retain her position as CEO of Saint Laurent, but will also oversee Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga, and Alexander McQueen. It was at Saint Laurent, where the former investment banker cemented her reputation for sharp marketing strategies married seamlessly with the work of Creative Director Anthony Vaccarello.

“When you clarify the positioning of the brand, everything comes together,” Bellettini said, on revitalizing the Saint Laurent brand. “People recognize the originality in the way we do it.”

Imran Amed, BoF Founder and Editor-in-Chief, sat down with Bellettini at BoF VOICES 2018 to discuss how they balance their priorities to foster creativity, grow clients and run a profitable business.

the main ideas:

  • Saint Laurent is credited with growing into a multi-billion-euro powerhouse, and Bellettini believes the key is to connect with clients in their home markets. “I am a firm believer in building business first with local customers. Conquer the consumer at home, then when they travel, they follow,”
  • Another key is authenticity. “It’s best to present yourself as you really are…be authentic. If they choose you, they’ll stay with you,” Bellettini said of the importance of building meaningful relationships with clients.
  • At Saint Laurent, Bellettini had a clear vision of growing both the upper and lower profits, “but in reality, it’s the profit that makes your business sustainable,” she explains.
  • Balancing growth with continued visibility as a brand is Bellettini’s top priority. “How do we stay relevant? How do we keep growing without compromising brand positioning? How do we keep launching a successful product?” she asked.

Additional sources:

  • Who should be the new CEO of Gucci?Following this week’s announcement that longtime Gucci boss Marco Bizzarri was leaving the company in September, Imran Amed has shared his top picks for one of the top jobs in the global luxury industry.
  • As the CEO of Gucci steps down, the president of Saint Laurent steps upMarco Bizzarri led the Italian luxury giant through a historic expansion before the company struggled to recover from the pandemic. Parent company Kering announced the move as part of a broader executive shake-up, after which Saint Laurent CEO Francesca Bellettini will oversee all of the group’s brands.
  • How Saint Laurent Became a $3 Billion Powerhouse: CEO Francesca Bellettini explains how she worked with designer Anthony Vaccarello to double sales in 5 years, and leans on an intense intake of Parisian glamor, off-season merchandising, and rapid expansion in leather goods.

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