OTB is Building a Major Luxury Children’s Clothing Operation – WWD

Marostica, Italy — You may remember Renzo Rosso’s Diesel line from the ’80s, which was a children’s collection of diesels conceived by the brand’s founder for his descendants.

“Moms loved the minimalist Diesel outfit, because at the time the offer was either mass looks or ceremonial and occasion wear,” recalls Rosso.

Dieselito was then named Diesel Kid, and Brave Kid, a children’s clothing specialist managed by Rosso’s OTB Group, was born out of an initial desire to expand further into the segment. Diesel, Marni, MM6 Maison He has grown to produce several brands for the fashion group, such as Margiela.

Based in Marostica, about an hour’s drive from Venice, Brave Kid also makes Dsquared2, N.21, and MYAR children’s collections, a line created by Rosso’s son Andrea in fully upcycled products. doing.

Brave Kid CEO Germano Ferraro, former commercial director of Diesel, recalled Rosso in an interview at the company’s headquarters.

“Germano wanted to have his own entrepreneurial experience, so he became my partner and acquired a 10% stake. The idea was to develop a children’s line for those labels, and we set up Brave Kid,” Rosso said. At the time, Staff International was producing and selling collections for Karl Lagerfeld, Emmanuel Ungaro and Maison His Margiela.

Brave Kid is growing steadily, with revenue expected to grow by 25% in 2022, reaching more than €70 million year-on-year. According to Rosso, 2021 sales increased by 23% compared to his 2020.

Rosso emphasized that Brave Kid interprets the creative vision of each brand’s designers and said he wanted to add to the Jil Sander children’s collection that OTB purchased last year. “We are working on it and have done some tests with cashmere [looks]we want to keep the high range and we believe it will happen eventually,” Rosso said.

After undertaking the N.21 collection designed by Alessandro Dell’Acqua, he did not rule out the arrival of other licenses as well, if they fit the company’s “homogeneous positioning without duplication”. He also emphasized the increased contractual power Brave Kid has as a unique organization in Italy.

According to a report published in June by the Centro Studi di Confindustria Moda for the association SMI Sistema Moda Italia, children’s clothing revenues increased by 15.5% to 3.05 billion euros in 2021. Exports accounted for his 42.8% of total turnover.

Rosso said there is a growing demand for the development of children’s clothing brands, especially in the luxury range, citing an increase in floors dedicated to children’s clothing in department stores and a growing trend for mini-me. , I enjoy showing my kids to wear certain brands whose values ​​and aesthetics are appreciated,” he thought.

Brave Kid produces two million pieces of clothing a year, with the boys category accounting for 60% of sales, but Rosso said Maison Margiela’s designs are genderless, with a growing unisex trend. said.

Brave Kid has implemented a new automated system in its warehouse to make shipping and distribution of collections more efficient. This pilot project will be replicated in other of his OTB warehouses.

With over 48,600 square feet and nearly 900,000 inventory items, the walkthrough of the warehouse is impressive, using 22 robots and space optimizations to reduce volume and extend vertically to the ceiling over 13 levels.

This advantage includes rapid training to use the system. Even non-technical employees can master all functions in less than an hour. Robots don’t need lighting or heating, so their place absorbs the same energy as household appliances. Rosso said employees are given a safer environment because he works 24 hours a day. All integrated into an advanced software system that can measure performance in real time, he has doubled operator productivity.

The warehouse, which packed about 190,000 pieces in November, has 23 employees, 75% of whom are women. “This is a really advanced, futuristic system,” enthuses Rosso. Brave Kid has a total of 120 employees, 80% of whom are women.

From the fall 2023 season, the company will present the collection in its new showroom in Milan’s Via Savona. It covers 10,800 square feet and was formerly a showroom for Staff International, but is now entirely dedicated to Brave Kid, with each brand having its own exhibit space.

Last year, we launched a dedicated online site.

Currently, Italy, Japan, UK and South Korea are the main markets, but the US is also growing steadily. According to Rosso, Diesel accounts for his 30% of Brave Kid sales.

Diesel section of the Brave Kid showroom in Milan.

Rosso predicted that the high-end fashion industry could weather 2023 well, but 2023 will be marked by rising costs, inflation, falling wealth and rising unemployment, with some businesses closing. There is likely to be.

Rosso expects continued double-digit growth in 2023 for Brave Kid, Staff International, Diesel, Jil Sander, Maison Margiela, Marni, Viktor & Rolf brands, as well as OTB, in which OTB holds a minority stake in Amiri doing. Based on orders for the year.

As reported, OTB sales including royalties in 2021 were €1.53 billion (excluding non-recurring income of €130 million), an increase of 16.2% compared to 2020.

“We are serious, on-time delivery, reliable and have seen positive effects as we strengthened client relationships during COVID-19,” explains Rosso. increase.

He said 2023 “may be a good year to bring home more acquisitions, but those brands and companies need to be in sync with the OTB philosophy.” Can you do it? is a question I always ask myself.”

He confirmed the reported goal of listing OTB probably in 2024, but it would depend on the market. If the multiples are interesting because you don’t need the , you can work with your own resources.I have set an IPO target for the manager, but I won’t say how much it will make.It will be achieved by the end of 2024 or It could be early 2025,” Rosso said.

Asked about working with new Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who succeeded Mario Draghi in October, Rosso shared positive comments. , I stand by it, I act responsibly, and I rethink my ideas when I understand that they may not work. Rosso said, praising Draghi for “the prestige and care he brought to the country.”

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