Roberto Di Giorgio, founder and managing director of Campo Marzio International, was briefly and busily in Vancouver recently, preparing for the opening of a second location for the brand. The first is in Metrotown, and now, Pacific Centre becomes North America’s flagship store. It seems like a very long way from the company’s single-store origin, located in Rome, near the Italian Parliament.
Di Giorgio, who is in fact the son of the original founder, Alberto Di Giorgio, thinks of it all as a continuous evolution, great growth with quality uncompromised: “About 10 years ago, we began getting requests, people asking, ‘Why aren’t you in London, why aren’t you in North America?’ So we developed a plan, and began working with business partners all over the world. But we did it methodically, slowly,” Di Giorgio says. It is not a simple matter of franchising retails outlets. “I always visit the city, get to know the culture first, before we agree to do anything. I need to know it will be a good fit for us, for our partner, and for the culture of that city, before we actually do anything.”
In this case, it was businesswoman Denise Hayes who, in her fairly regular visits to Rome, fell in love with Campo Marzio, and would bring pieces home with her as gifts. The response was so strong she actually decided to approach Di Giorgio, and about two years later, they are now celebrating their flagship store. “For me, going into a Campo Marzio store is first and foremost an experience, not simply a shopping expedition,” says Hayes, who is the president of Campo Marzio Canada. Di Giorgio agrees; “We want to tell a history, of calligraphy, of writing vessels. The background of the brand is so important.”
One interesting aspect of the Campo Marzio experience is that each and every store is unique, custom made according to the country it is in. “We adapt our central idea to each city, so they can make it their own,” Di Giorgio says. He smiles, and adds, “One thing is always the same though. I think you need to be rich inside to buy Campo Marzio.”