I really wasn’t expecting it, but my weekend viewing of Valentino: The Last Emperor brought me many business musings. To be honest, I went into the theatre with a very limited understanding of Valentino: the fashion house, the man, or his product. I came out with a deep respect for his craft and for his business partner’s patience.
Like many creative types, Valentino is a beautiful dreamer. He designs gorgeous gowns in fabulous fabrics. Chic, famous women wear his creations. It almost made me cry to watch his seamstresses painstakingly cut and hand-sew one of the most breathtaking gowns I’ve ever seen (and this from someone overly comfortable in jeans). The truth, however, is that Valentino designs in a bit of a vacuum. He creates without a thought to selling, material costs, or running the company surrounding the merchandise.
Cue his partner, Giancarlo Giammetti. Giancarlo and Valentino met in 1960, just when Valentino was teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. The likes of Elizabeth Taylor wore his gowns but his lack of business sense was steering his company towards doom. Giancarlo became the business person behind the brand, controlling costs, managing the workforce, and allowing Valentino do be the best at what he does — creating.
Valentino, the brand, became wildly successful in a very competitive industry. It had the perfect balance of business sense backing an impeccable product. Even after being purchased in the 1990’s, Valentino’s day-to-day management resided with Valentino at the creative helm with Giancarlo driving the business side.
Today, of course, Valentino is retired but this business model still reigns supreme in the most financially successful creative companies. The marketing, sales, accounting, and distribution must be as important as the product or success will never reach its potential. This is true of all entrepreneurial ventures. We have our area of expertise but businesses require attention in several areas.
How can the Valentino story help your business? Do you need to outsource your bookkeeping? Does your marketing need some extra time or support? Quick — list 3 things you can do to be your own “Giancarlo” and block out some time this week to get started.
How are being your own Giancarlo? Let us know by leaving a comment…