INTERVIEW WITH STEFANO CANALI
After working for several years in the financial sector in the United States, Stefano Canali joined the company in the early days of 1998, in the Treasury office. As CEO, today, his long-term mission is to strengthen Canali’s role in a complex and changing world, combining the experience of three generations with the all-a-around innovation required by the market.
“Good manners and kindness are two words that occupy a special
place in Canali’s history. They have always reflected an essential trait of our
family, an unostentatious way of showing interest and passion for what we do
and the story we tell.”
After working for several years in the
financial sector in the United States, Stefano Canali joined the company in the
early days of 1998, in the Treasury office. As CEO, today, his long-term
mission is to strengthen Canali’s role in a complex and changing world,
combining the experience of three generations with the all-a-around innovation
required by the market.
What does it mean to lead the family business?
First of all, to ensure that the founding values, the
behavior of our employees and the company’s actions are consistent with the
principles of our family. Being a family gives a sense of continuity and
security to the people who work with us, but we always run the risk of limiting
them with our presence. I try to be careful not to treat Canali as a physical
extension, leaving employees the chance to operate according to broader views
or different methods.
What is your first memory related to the company?
When we were little, our father also worked on Saturdays
and Sundays. We used to visit him in the Triuggio office, which was empty
during the weekends. We always met him in his office, where he was bent over
his desk,busy among papers and calculations, and after saying goodbye to him,
the soda ceremony could begin. There was this prodigious machine, a simple
dispenser, which in our imaginations as children was a toyland. A small bottle
was the prize for our visit.
When you took over the company did you receive any particular
My father is the living embodiment of the entire history
of Canali, he has experience and a precise vision of the world and the market,
which he has never failed to communicate to me or the other family members. We
have moments of confrontation, but these are useful, and he continues to amaze
me with his analysis ability. Maybe the best advice he gave me was to never
feel as if I’ve made it. I think it is a fundamental lesson, especially for
those who are entrepreneurs. Today, Canali is a reality with solid roots in
Italy and a strong presence in the United States and Asia. The management of
the organization is distributed mainly between Sovico and Milan, while the
production heart is based in Lombardia, Marche and Abruzzo.
What kind of company is Canali today?
It is a rapidly evolving company, which is bringing its
DNA, its values and its way of doing business into a new context. For
example, today, consumers have different tastes depending on the market:
through clothing, an American consumer expresses himself differently than a
Chinese customer. The challenge is to interpret expectations correctly and not
to offer a standardized product.
Do boutiques have a particular role in your strategy?
Our boutiques are an extension of our company and a place
where customers can breathe our values. It is important that consumers can
discover our world in every detail, not only by observing our products, but
above all by listening to the Canali ambassadors. Our salespeople are the first
point of contact. Their mission is to spread the philosophy and history of the
brand to our customers. This is why the theme of training is a central aspect,
which we take care of through Canali Lab, an internal school for the people who
work in our boutiques all over the world. Here our staff can really understand
how our collections are born and with what objective: to combine sartorial
traditions and innovation to propose a mix between iconic products and new
proposals, inspired by great materials research and the ability to experiment.
One of Canali’s strengths is its ability to combine sartorial
quality with innovation.
We have managed to automate a typically sartorial
process, which used to be guaranteed only by an expert tailor through a series
of complex steps. It’s our secret, our trademark, and this evolution has allowed
us to reduce packaging times without neglecting the tailoring component. We are
a unique company among those that produce men’s sartorial outerwear because we
have chosen not to compromise. We have always thought that focusing on quality
and increasing it over time was an element of success, which is why our
production and our know-how have been totally kept in Italy, focusing on the
skills of our country’s workers.
When did you wear a Canali suit for the first time?
At a party at the end of high school. Going as a customer, to a shop that I had visited many times as a child, with my father, to find a jacket, trousers, and a belt to create my first Canali look, gave me immense satisfaction. It was a sort of transition to adulthood.
63 Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem Ward, Hanoi