As one of the most ubiquitous sights throughout Italy, sneaker brand Superga recently expanded its presence through a first store at Hong Kong shopping destination, Harbour City. To accompany the launch of the retail space, the brand looked to truly make its mark through a massively sized shoe, worthy of a place within the Guinness World Records as the world’s largest shoe. The shoe measured in at approximately 20 feet by 8 feet by 11 feet and is based off of Superga’s 2750 Classic model. The visual elements of the shoe were implemented by SCAD Hong Kong who made sure to provide a strong sense of Hong Kong identity throughout. To gain a better perspective about Superga’s first ever Hong Kong store and the world’s largest shoe, we spoke with Lorenzo Boglione who represents the brand as a business developer under Superga’s parent company, BasicNet Group.
Can you introduce yourself and the company?
Hi, my name is Lorenzo Boglione and I’m a business developer with BasicNet Group that manages several diff. brands such as Kappa, Superga and K-Way. We focus on sustainable international growth. As a business developer I’ve been working on the commercial expansion of the company, meaning we try to work globally with licensees and distributors.
In regards to the three brands, how do you make sure they stand alone individually?
If you come to our offices in Italy, you will notice that they are all separate entities. One office does Superga, another does Kappa, and another does K-Way. We don’t just copy and paste and apply the concept to each company.
In terms of licensing, what are your strategies?
We license globally but under a condition that they aren’t allowed to take the brand, go to the factory and manufacture shoes. Instead of buying shoes from us, they buy from the factory. It’s not a pure license in that they can’t design their own shoes or manufacture them.
Going forward, what is the plan of action in developing future licensees?
We believe that we put fixed roots in the game. It’s up to the licensee to have knowledge of the market. We invest in the best people to take care of the regions, so it is up to them to know what is best in their area and carry on the brand from there. For shoes, the license is the best way to go forward with the business.
In terms of the footwear brand itself, China has history of basic, affordable footwear. How does Superga come into play against established, well-known Chinese brands?
We have an Italian image, style and history. We mix those all together and the market already see and understand the Italian image, feel the comfort, and notice affordable price.
What are the more difficult things you foresee in the Asian region?
Obviously the environment is not the same as it was 10 years ago. Customers are more careful on how they spend money. Customers are more educated and knowledgeable of the market and brand. It is not so easy now. Before, it was just like “hey look, we’re an Italian company!” Now, the Chinese are now more educated on products, brands and quality.
What was the concept of the marketing campaign and an attempt to create the world’s largest shoe? How did you think it was received?
China will be the biggest economy in the near future. Having something bigger is better. Why not try and build the biggest shoe and make some noise in the region? People seemed to enjoy the idea and we are very proud to have broken the record and to show people Superga exists. We must tell the people that Superga exists and educate them on what the brand represents.
How do you balance your past and innovation?
We absolutely don’t want to stick to the past. We are a very modern company but we also stick to the past when we think it’s important. As far as manufacturing, we go back and use 100% natural rubber. We really stick to the past in terms of this. In terms of comfort, the outsole is a bit thicker for comfort. We try to innovate and may change the perception of the brand and make it better.
How do you educate the masses, for example the Chinese on your brand and fashion?
When we say we are an Italian shoe company, the perception is that it’s quality. In Italy, Superga is a shoe that is worn when you are born; while you are in school, and even when you are of old age. It is really the shoe of the Italian people. There’s a lot of Italian brands (high-end, designer), but Superga is the shoe of the people.