Velasca: connecting craftsmanship and e-commerce
Velasca is an Italian company that has been progressively establishing itself as a reference point for those who look for high-quality handcrafted footwear and clothes.
Its history started in 2013 from the idea of two Italian entrepreneurs, Enrico Casati and Jacopo Sebastio.
They developed their project focusing on “Made in Italy” and “creating a modern company and brand that could combine the Italian artisan tradition and an innovative direct sale model”.
“We wanted to differentiate our company from competitors by becoming the architects of a full craftsmanship rebirth“, the two founders explained. “In the past, this activity was one of the centres of the Italian industry. Recently, it has been considerably penalised by the spreading of industrial production“.
The first step Casati and Sebastio took to build their business was to travel across Italy, looking for the perfect shoemaking district. They found it in Montegranaro, a town in Marche, famous for shoe production.
From then on, they have kept working with those local realities. Furthermore, Velasca constantly exchanges views with those artisans to develop their models. And those professionals provide their expertise on various matters, from the sketches for new models to the selection of materials.
The evolution of Velasca
In the beginning, Velasca was a little e-commerce reality. Their first order only comprehended 125 pairs of moccasins.
However, they soon managed to open their first store in Milan. Nowadays, they count 18 shops, “Le Botteghe”. Fifteen stores are in Italy (Milano, Bologna, Roma, Firenze, Brescia, Napoli, and Palermo), while other three are in New York City, Paris, and London.
In addition, Velasca put a great effort into consolidating its position in the international market. Nowadays, its business consists of international deliveries for 40%. Their primary markets are France, the USA, the UK, Germany, and Denmark.
Together with this international expansion, there have been other substantial changes.
In 2021, the company released its first women’s footwear collection, “Velasca Woman”, which was always produced by the same artisans from Marche. Over the same year, they opened their first Velasca Woman store, and by the end of 2022, they had two further shops in Rome and Torino.
Furthermore, in October 2022, they launched their first menswear collection.
Since its early stage, Velasca has been attracting the interest of several investors. In 2014, the company joined the startup accelerator “Boox”. Between 2018 and 2019, they secured two substantial investment rounds of 2,5 and 4,5 million euros. The first one had P101 as lead investor, while the second had Milano Investment Partner (MIP).
Clients always come first
Velasca has always prioritised direct contact with clients and avoided all the intermediaries of the classical supply chain. This makes it easier to provide competitive prices and high-quality products. It also allows the company to get fast and constant feedback. Finally, this work modality results in a more efficient customer experience.
Attention to the client also means that, since the beginning, the company has been focusing on logistics. Furthermore, they have always provided free returns for orders made from the EU and North America.
Since its foundation, Velasca has been looking for and employing the latest technologies for its digital communication (online presence, CRM system, social media, and interactions with customers) and its e-commerce system.
For what concerns the latter, they have always aimed to reach a full automation of their process. Furthermore, the company employs business analytics tools like “Domo”.
Velasca sometimes develops new technologies, as well. For instance, they built a high-precision software that tracks packages during the entire delivery process. This tool directly provides Velasca with updates. Then, the company notifies the client. Velasca was one of the first companies to use a similar system.
Velasca aims to reach a revenue of 70 million dollars by 2025. Moreover, they want to increase the number of physical stores to 30 by the same year. They are planning to open the majority of them outside Italy.
In addition, Velasca is monitoring what is happening with augmented reality. They are particularly interested in the developing technologies that will allow to see a pair of shoes on your feet while shopping in a virtual store. Potentially, that image will come along also with advice for the size. These tools will be fully functional over the next few years.
Finally, during the pandemic, the balance between offline and online sales had a huge shift in favour of the latter. In 2022, Velasca managed to re-establish that equilibrium. However, they are working so that the ratio becomes 60 to 40 for online sales.