Understanding what’s relevant in culture today helped define Golden Goose as a modern-day luxury label, shared Silvio Campara, chief executive officer of Golden Goose, during the WWD x SKP Fashion & Beauty Global Summit in Chengdu.
“If you don’t have 100 years of heritage, the only thing you must keep permanent and preserve are values. The heritage and the culture have to evolve within that,” Campara said of the Venetian sneaker brand founded more than 20 years ago.
“Today it’s about giving voices to a lot of people, which we commonly call communities, but within a framework of values,” Campara said of the Golden Goose luxury proposition, which focuses on the commitment to innovation, the valuation of craft, care for people and engagement with communities.
Campara said COVID-19 completely redefined how consumers make product choices, going from “transactional to sentimental.”
“In the past, the product was a way to define your status. Today, the product is becoming a memory of a moment,” explained Campara in a conversation with WWD editorial director James Fallon. “Your target is not the wallet anymore. It is the heart of the people.”
“You see it, especially in China, which is at the forefront of this evolution,” added Campara, who noted the complex consumer journey that shoppers must go through before reaching a pair of Golden Goose’s distressed Super-Star sneakers.
With a product that sees beauty in distress and wrinkles, Campara wants to remind consumers that shoppers can own the moment “that is connected to your life experience, not with your status.”
“This is our way of becoming timeless. We are connected to moments that are unforgettable for people,” Campara added.
“When you go to the luxury shop floor and you get to Golden Goose, you see no star designer. So at Golden Goose, you are the protagonist, so everything goes into co-action and co-creation,” Campara said.
Early this year, Golden Goose expanded its footwear repair, remake, resell and recycling program Forward Stores, launched a year prior and applicable to products from any brand, to its e-commerce platform.
“In our case, it’s about an evolution, not a revolution, and if a luxury brand has to evolve, you can do two things: one is by changing the pricing, but in our case, it’s by changing the angle,” Campara said.
“Desirability has been driving this industry for decades, but I think kindness will be the next driver, and the idea that Golden Goose is making you feel cared about is fantastic.
“Our idea is that Golden Goose can be the next Levi’s 501, the next Ray-Ban, it can be the product that you never throw out, you never resell, because there is too much of you to be given away,” the CEO said.
“My idea is simple: I can speak to the 1 million customers that bought our shoes in the past. I can also grab new customers with an angle that’s completely different than brands like Gucci and Prada, which is not fighting on the trends and fashionability front, but serving them on an emotional level,” continued Campara, who revealed that the luxury shoemaker already reached 600 million euros in sales this year. More than 12 million pairs of Golden Goose sneakers have been sold in the past 10 years.
Currently, 196 Golden Goose stores, or 80 percent of its retail network, have repairing capability. The company is also opening two new factories, one in Venice and one in the U.S., to expand its shoe repair program, which is applicable to products from any brand.
Campara also revealed that the company will launch an academy next April in its birthplace of Venice.
“This will be a place where art will happen. Artists from any kind of art form, from visual art to sculpture and architecture, will have the chance to learn and be given a voice,” Campara said of his vision.
With a healthy growth trajectory, the Permira-owned Golden Goose is viewed by many as a possible IPO candidate. Campara, who joined the company as commercial director in 2013 and has now become a main shareholder, is open to the idea of taking the company public.
“We have always been owned by an investment fund, so technically, the relationship between dreaming and executing has always been quite strong and well executed,” Campara said. “By going public, it will be simply to make this dream part available to a bigger audience.”