AVM 1959 focuses on house brands

Founded in 1959, AVM 1959 is one of the most established leaders in the eyewear industry. With 19 collections distributed throughout 85 countries, it has carried out a process of reorganization over the last five years, converting the house brands into its core business. WMIDO met Jacopo Romano, the company’s CEO.

Let’s begin with AVM’s performance: how are the last economic results?
We are recording an excellent performance. For us, 2017 was the synthesis of the reorganization process that began in 2012. In fact, having completed the process of bankruptcy discharge in that year (AVM 1959 is the only eyewear company without any form of bank debt) and the concurrent recapitalization, the company dedicated the three-year period of 2013-2015 to the consolidation of its main markets and the rationalization of its licensing and house brand portfolio.
The focus is particularly on house Brands, in which we have made significant investments and which are satisfying our expectations, i.e. an accelerated revenue growth. For 2017, the EBITDA confirms a two-fold increase on the previous year (10%) and profitability estimates are growing for 2018. It is the bottom line of the financial statement that interests us the most.
The strategic decision is to focus on the power of house brands, creating value and freeing us from the issues of licence expiry dates, achieving an increased autonomy in the mid/long term.
Our turnover was 20 million EUR in 2017, with a cash generation of 2 million EUR.

How did the market react to your business strategy and the ensuing results?
We operate in approximately 85 countries worldwide via distributors and retailers, both in Europe and further afield in the Far East, China, India and Korea. We are growing in terms of both sell-in and sell-out thanks to our reputation for quality, design and after-sales service. A quality product combined with the appeal of luxury brands, which is particularly attractive for emerging markets, is proving the effectiveness of our chosen strategy.
We focus on the uniqueness of our creative projects, with a constant effort for innovation, attention to detail and choice of quality materials. We are a “small boutique” in an industry of giants.

Which are your reference markets?
Firstly Italy, then Spain, the UK and France, followed by all the other markets, with performances that vary from year to year.

What market segment do your house brands account for?
They represent 85% of our turnover. The business model that favours house brands – from which we took inspiration, looking at other businesses in the same sector – has proved a winning formula.
The change of business methodology has produced a diversified and segmented portfolio. Today, with our brands, we are able to cover all target markets, from the most traditional to the trendiest ones, from teenagers to kids. This has resulted in the birth of Hally & Son, Hally & Son Pin Up, Mila ZB, RH +, Opposit, Opposit Teen and Trudi.

Let’s talk about licences: are new brands on the way?
At the moment we have no new licences to announce. At MIDO we launched the first collection of Tonino Lamborghini, the Italian brand of the “raging bull”. These accessories tell the story of the family’s heritage, the elegance and passion for sports cars and its unquestionable Made-in-Italy roots.
Alongside the house brands, we will continue to promote some select licences that stand out for their strong character, values and distinctive features.
We have long-term partnerships with Missoni / M Missoni, Vivienne Westwood and Anglomania, Replay and Mariano Di Vaio.
Another particularly prestigious collaboration is with Will.i.am – the musician, businessman and philanthropist, multifaceted entertainer and creative innovator – which has resulted in a collection of luxury and experimental designer glasses.

How did 2018 MIDO go?
The event was decidedly positive, with results way above expectations. We met all our international clients and made new contacts, with requests from countries where we have launched promotional initiatives.
MIDO remains the most important international fair in our industry and we will ensure our presence for the years to come.