25th January 2018
After the graduation in Finance, Riccardo got a Management & Marketing Master degree at the Bocconi Business School in Milan; even before that, he had the first working experience in Chicago, US, where he co-founded the blog that would have become one of the most influential in the fashion blogosphere, TheBlondeSalad. The co-foundation with Chiara Ferragni of TBS Crew, the publisher company of TheBlondeSalad.com has marked his entrance in the business world. The success of TBS didn’t stop Riccardo’s determination and entrepreneurship, hence in the past two years he founded other three companies innovating the digital communication and lifestyle fields in Italy and worldwide. After being nominated Mens Best Social Engager at SocialyteGala 2013 Awards in New York City, and taking part to Harvard study case on TheBlondeSalad.com in 2015 and 2016 Riccardo is now working on the launch of new startups and on new, exciting projects.
Tell us something about you: what is your academic background and why did you decide to work in the fashion industry?
I firstly graduated in Finance at Bocconi University Undergraduate School and during those three years program I progressively understood that I was more interested in the marketing side of the business world. I then decided to get a Bocconi University MSC in Marketing Management. All classes were taught in English; it has been a super interesting experience in a stimulating and international environment where I got the chance to read various case studies, most of which on the fashion business.
It’s here that I realized I was attracted by the dynamics of the fashion and luxury industry and that it was the field I wanted to work in.
You are Co-Founder at The Blonde Salad. How was this project born?
In autumn 2009 I went to Chicago for an internship and, once there, I was surprised to discover that social media, and blogs in particular, was already playing a significant part in the US businesses. So one morning, during our daily Skype call we decided together to create Chiara’s personal blog. Chiara, who already was super passionate about photography and fashion, had profiles and pages on multiple social platforms: creating a unique blog, her personal space where to strengthen the bond with her audience was just the consequent natural evolution of that.
I bought theblondesalad.com domain and on October 12, 2009 she entered her first post. And this is how everything started!
In just few years, from outfit blog The Blonde Salad has become an iconic brand. Tell us something more about The Blonde Salad successful story and its developments over time.
TheBlondeSalad.com was born as a blog in 2009 but has rapidly transformed into a 360 degrees social platform in 2012. We are now a lifestyle and fashion magazine, a source of inspiration for our readers and in September 2016, to keep up with the times and the technological innovations, we launched the e-commerce section. Everything we do, we want to do it differently from everyone else. The Blonde Salad E-commerce only sells bespoke and exclusive products, available only on our website.
When did you realize The Blonde Salad could become a profitable business and how you pursued your aim?
Just a few months after theblondesalad.com was born, the business started to be profitable – also considering the low initial investment. We immediately realized that The Blonde Salad was a great opportunity and decided to entirely commit ourselves to the project. Chiara received invitations to MFW shows attracting Luxury brands attention. And from that moment on more and more international brands, such as Burberry, Dior Cosmetics and Louis Vuitton, started to be interested in collaborating with us creating stories together.
Our aim has always been to create value around Chiara and theblondesalad.com to build long lasting relationships with the top Fashion brands. And this is what allow theblondesalad.com to stand.
What is the best memory of your work at The Blonde Salad?
For sure the best memory I have is the first phone call with a Harvard Business School Professor who told me that they were very interested in TBS reality and that they wanted to write a case study on it.
I really was super excited about that and proud. I have been a business student and during my career I studied a lot of Harvard Business School case histories and realizing that my company would become the subject of one of that was thrilling.
The Blonde Salad was born online and is strictly linked to the digital word. What do you think of the relationship between fashion industry and technology today?
It is for sure a very deep relationship. The fashion system has an innate and strong communicative power and it has been the first industry that completely understood and embraced the digitalization and integrated the latest innovations with its communication practices. Fashion is then strictly linked to the digital world and it continuously increases the use of the digital communication tools.
But the link between fashion and technology is actually deeper. During the years, technological innovations made processes and operation improvements possible and nowadays with the wearable technology, innovations are also entering into the products design and construction.
After several years experiencing the fashion world, you became Foorban Co-Founder. Why did you decide to launch a new business in the food sector and what exactly does Foorban consist of?
Foorban is not just a food delivery service; it’s a real digital restaurant. We’re firmly convinced that the plus of Foorban business isn’t in the service we’re offering but into the product itself. We’re definitely focused on the quality of the product. We wanted to establish a premium positioning product and creating value around Foorban brand. This decision is for sure the result of my fashion business background: applying all the skills and positioning strategies I’ve learnt during the years by working into the fashion and luxury industry has been very helpful and interesting.
I decided to launch this new business because I do believe that a great entrepreneur should always seeks for new incitements, oftentimes in unknown industry, that force him to learn new things everyday.
Do you think The Blonde Salad and Foorban have any aspects in common or are they completely different businesses?
They are completely different businesses, the only thing they have in common is the brand vision: both The Blonde Salad and Foorban brands are recognizable and unique in their field. The first one in the media brand world and the second one in the food delivery services world.
Both The Blonde Salad and Foorban are innovative businesses. What is the most exciting part of launching a new business and what is the hardest one?
I like to think of myself as an innovative startupper, both The Blonde Salad and Foorban are innovative businesses. I love adventures and I find the unknown very stimulating.
Foorban has been the first digital restaurant and The Blonde Salad the first blog in the world to turn into a lifestyle magazine, the first magazine to have an integrated e-commerce platform and the first on line shop deeply linked to a celebrity.
When you launch a new business you never know which is the correct path to follow, you just have to learn by doing and this is of course very exciting and challenging but complicated at the same time. You cannot know which the reaction of the market will be and what the other players are doing and if they’re developing similar businesses.
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