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Peace, strength and leather, man

False steps

Hippiedom may succeed in the luxury business, but the pace is piano piano

Web lessons from luxury brands in cyber.

his descendants live there still. “The family Corsini and their friends are clients and have been for a long time. They bring down bags 20 years old and say, ‘Look, it’s broken here’.” Il Bisonte’s timeless items (the 1972 D001 briefcase is still in the collection) are made in ‘vachetta’ leather, a natural, vegetable-tanned cowhide, and to order only. While the company has grown hugely, Di Filippo likes to proceed calmly and slowly (“piano, piano,” he says). “I am happy just to service the clientele I have long held.”

Sound bites STEVEN MOORE

North American Indian. “I’ve always been fascinated by the feeling of peace and strength that bisons convey. For centuries these animals have been a source of life and future for the people who roamed the Northern America territories. Now the bison – il bisonte in Italian – is a symbol that I proudly use on my product.” Di Filippo went on to design belts and simple leather shoulder bags before setting up shop in 1970 in the basement of the Palazzo Corsini in the centre of Florence. The Palazzo was built by the 18th-century Pope Lorenzo Corsini and


Wanny Di Filippo is not exactly in the mould of those suave masters of the Italian luxury goods industry. And in Australia for the opening of Hunt Leather’s refurbished Sydney store, he is disarmingly frank about the hippie origins that were the foundation of his artisanal leather goods label, Il Bisonte. “I began by making those leather thong wristbands that became popular in the late 1960s and I would hang out on the beaches of Sardinia selling them,” he says. “Leather was a very hippie thing.” So was an interest in the culture of the

Correction In the Jewel magazine insert in last month’s issue, Ben Bunda of Bunda jewellers was misquoted as saying that “three-carat-plus white diamonds rose by an average of 30 per cent in the year to December 2006.” Mr Bunda in fact told the magazine that the rise had occurred over the three-year period to December 2006.



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Danish duo Kim Donvig and Patricia Ljungberg’s Artcoustic range of high-end performance, wall-mounted speakers feature interchangeable screens, allowing decorators to choose from an array of fabrics and decorative prints to suit individual interiors. www.

As the new business year gets under way, any review of your systems might include a look over the efficacy and usability of your website. Research by Clear Choice Usability (CCU) late last year into customer experience of luxury websites, on which millions had been spent, found plenty of evidence of lost opportunity. Dean Wood, one of the principals of the study, says, “Most sites included in the research did not guide customers between products or towards a sale.” CWK is left wondering then just what exactly they thought they were for. CCU, a consultancy that designs, develops and evaluates websites was prompted to the research, Wood says, by those big budgets and because “those sites are often focal points for emerging trends. I wanted to understand their strengths and weaknesses and to see wwhat aspects might be transferable to other sectors.” Wood, who has worked mainly on large-scale financial and government sites, cites research from the US-based Luxury Institute which found that almost all wealthy consumers (99 per cent) used the internet to research before they bought. The survey covered a random mix of 12 sites and 30-plus current or potential luxury customers in Australia, China, Denmark, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland, the US and UK. Just what worked internationally was of interest to the researchers. Porsche, for instance, had one of the overall best-performing sites in the study but nonetheless presented its international gateway page solely in English. “Several customers failed to find products at some leading sites such as BMW and Mini because they could not find their local language,” Wood says. Main findings of the survey included a failure to find products that were actually on the site; a failure to locate local outlets; and potential customers who struggled with search and other functionality such as navigation and labelling, to get to specific products. “Several visitors to the Bang & Olufsen site felt it was beautiful but would have left without finding products, such as earphones,” Wood says. “Some users looking for luxury 4WDs often could not find what they wanted at the Mercedes site but could do so at others, leading them to switch their buying preference to another brand.”



12:11:23 PM

123-Australia Financial Review Magazine  

Hippiedom may succeed in the luxury business, but the pace is piano piano Web lessons from luxury brands in cyber. Correction C W K three-ye...

123-Australia Financial Review Magazine  

Hippiedom may succeed in the luxury business, but the pace is piano piano Web lessons from luxury brands in cyber. Correction C W K three-ye...