From a leather trading house established in 1950 to entering the export market under Virola International and finally launch of a brand Alberto Torresi by Gen Next Ishaan Sachdeva in 2010, this family run business has come a long way. Sachdeva shares the Alberto Torresi story.
Tell us about your brand. What was the inspiration that led to its founding?
Virola Leathers is our family business which was established in 1950. It started as a leather trading house in Agra, gradually paving its way into footwear manufacturing for the domestic market; it entered the export market under the name Virola International in 1989. I founded Alberto Torresi in 2010. The idea came about when I joined the family business and wanted to explore more of the footwear industry other than exports.
What is the story behind the name Alberto Torresi?
The brand was set to function both domestically and internationally. When I set out, the main target of our brand was the Italian market. The family, while having a conversation over what could potentially be the brand's name, came up with Alberto Torresi, which was the name of one of our older designers. The main explanation behind the name is that we required something that would suit the Italian market.
What are the brand building steps that you undertake?
We started from scratch -- increasing the business and reach of the brand, adding new styles, getting the company up and running -- a journey in itself. We at Alberto Torresi are still trying to impart maximum customer satisfaction. The company has since its incorporation reached many milestones and the credit goes to our customers. The ongoing crisis of Covid-19 has caused immense damage to the footwear industry, particularly that of formal shoes, which are the main highlight of our brand. Now we plan to get into more product categories, slightly more into casual line, for example, our Flyknit collection. With people mostly working from home, we intend to style comfortable and stylish open footwear to attract more and more customers.
What are the categories that the brand is into? Who are your target audience?
Alberto Torresi is into casual and formal footwear for both men and women in the 18-45 age group.
What is the USP of your products?
Alberto Torresi's footwears are uniquely crafted to support the whole body. Ergonomically designed to ensure that they fit perfectly, giving optimum comfort whether you are stationary or in motion, the footwear comes with shock cushioning and sturdy gripping soles to reduce strain on the legs, back and feet. The footwear keeps the heels in perfect balance and gives your toes excellent natural freedom of movement. The Alberto Toressi footwear is a combination of bold style and amazing comfort. Additionally, it has also introduced various technologies like ecology, stress less and memory etc.
What has been the impact of Covid on business?
There have been colossal moves and changes with our new reach/assortment because of this pandemic. The shift to digital has been witnessed throughout with virtual fashion shows and department shows comprising the new normal. Unlike most other consumer categories that either recovered or have seen demand surging after the pandemic-induced lockdown, some discretionary categories such as clothing and footwear industry are still struggling to mop up higher sales.
Thankfully there wasn't a large number of staff cutdown at our end, but we did have to let go of few employees due to some changes in the factory, and also recruit new people. But the number of people working with us has remained the same, only the requirements have changed.
Stock-holding pattern has also changed slightly because the products which are in demand now were little different than that before Covid times. It is now more towards the open/lounge footwear side instead of formal footwear.
What has your growth story been in the last three years (excluding 2020)?
The growth story at Alberto Torresi for the last three years has been all about stabilising and nurturing the business and constantly growing in spite of the obstacles ahead.
This article was first published in the February 2021 edition of the print magazine.
Fibre2Fashion has a diverse global readership, and delivers unique, authoritative and relevant content. Drawing on the expertise and credibility that we have built over the years and contextualising them with our in-depth research studies, we produce authentic news, articles, reports, interviews and interactive explainers through the F2F Magazine and compendiums, among others, which help readers stay abreast with the industry trends.