The distinctive features of the pure Made in Italy remained unchanged through time. Quality, passion for details and rigorous handmade workmanship are the core elements of distinction from its competitors in the exclusive club of the most famous and recognizable luxury brands of the world. Tradition and innovation. These are the parallel pillars Santoni built its success on, thanks to the perfect combination of traditional production techniques, as the ability of making entirely made-to-measure shoes, and the evolution in research and design. Peculiarities that a sophisticated customer, who always chooses the best for himself and is updated on the evolution of style, is attracted to. Modern attitude married to ancient know-how. A legacy guarded by the craftsman masters, some of which work in the company since 1975. They witnessed the turn of Santoni from a local workshop into a reference brand and kept alive the original passion for extreme quality and beauty. Luxury and selection are the key values that led to the partnership with brands sharing the same philosophy of Santoni and devotion to excellence. The two exclusive lines created with Mercedes AMG and IWC Schaffausen enhance the well-known mastery of Santoni applying it to sports cars and precision watches. Besides collaborating with top brands, Santoni boasts Man, Woman Junior and Accessories collections. Fine sneakers for informal occasions and the most refined construction of Limited Edition men’s shoes stand out. Santoni collections are available in selected boutiques worldwide and in flagship stores.
Since its creation in 1975 Santoni pursued its vision refining the cultural heritage of craftsmanship and Italian excellence. Born with the creation of the haut de gamme shoes laboratory by Andrea Santoni, the brand’s legacy has been handed to his son Giuseppe.
Tell us about your background and how your past experiences prepared you for this endeavor.
My father Andrea Santoni founded the company in 1975, a very small workshop at the very beginning, but with the ambition of creating one-of-a-kind shoes. I breathed the art of shoemaking since ever. I grew up in my father’s workshop, stealing with my eyes the secrets of shoemaking, watching my father working together with the artisans in the search of beauty and perfection. I learnt and practiced a lot when I was young, that’s why I deeply know the process of manufacturing a shoe, which still today is very helpful for my job as CEO of the company.
I became CEO in 1990, in a very young age. Despite this, I had the absolute support and trust of my father, which let me expand our business. I had one goal and challenge: enter new markets in order to distribute our fine products. My first target was the USA. To fulfill my purpose I travelled a lot in search of the best partners to cooperate with. Then I wanted to cover the other important markets, such as Russia, Japan, Europe and Middle-East
The history of our company is quite short, 40 years are nothing compared with some other luxury brands, but I can say that the development was really relevant. I’m really proud of this development and of the results we got in such a short time.
The toughest challenge for us is to keep on maintaining our traditional craftsmanship and our culture of handmade today, when everything is about money-saving and economic choices.
How important Russian market for Santoni?
It’s one of our most important markets. Russian customers are among our top spenders worldwide, they can understand the quality and the preciousness of our product.
How important Chinese market for Santoni?
It’s definitely one of our priorities at the moment. We have entered the market only recently and we can be considered quite new there, so we are starting to invest to let the business grow.
Do you have made to measure services at Santoni and what kind of requests did you get from Russian / Chinese customers?
Yes of course! The essence of Santoni bespoke service is the measurement of the client's foot: we offer a completely and truly made to measure product. A master artisan travels all over the world to meet each client and take the measurements of his feet. Then the client can choose everything he wants: the shape, the model, the leather, the colour, the heel… The bespoke shoes have to pass through all the artisanalmanufacturing steps, they are entirely made by hand and they come out as true masterpieces of the finest quality. The process can last up to 3 months from the moment when the artisan takes the measurements to the delivery of the finished shoes, even because our artisan meets again the client for a fitting before finalizing the shoes. We have a dedicated customer service who follows the entire process and updates the client about the progress of his bespoke order.
The most unusual request we received is from a Singaporean customer: an ankle boot in alligator with shark leather on the top!
Why people like beautiful shoes?
People with a certain education and culture understand the important of a very well made shoe with a great desegn. Our customer is a sophisticated person, open-minded, globe-trotter, used to have his/her own style rather than to just follow trends. A man or a woman with a discerning eye for true quality, searching for unique objects, loving products with everlasting elegance. It’s a true connoisseur, able to recognize the luxury without being homologated to fashion.
Tell us about the trends of FW 17/18 in Santoni collection.
In our man and woman collections you will see a very strong expression of our craftsmanship and a particular and distinguishing interpretation of the classic styles. The use of the buckles is a leit motiv of both collection, as well as the colors painted by hand.
What sets in Santoni apart from other luxury brands?
I believe we are unique in combining tradition and innovation, ancient craftsmanship and modern thinking, quality and design. We love to reinterpret the classis, making it contemporary.
Your target market is high-net-worth individuals, but how do you go about targeting your market and communicating with your clients?
My ambitious target is to establish Santoni in the very selected circle of top luxury brands, making it a reference brand in the global scenario. All our strategies (design, marketing, distribution and retail) are aimed to this extremely challenging target. We have now excellent and recognized men’s and women’s collections, we are improving our bags and accessories line, we are opening flagship stores in the most strategic location, we are paying the highest attention at selection, quality, sophistication in every choice we make. It’s a long term process that requires time.
I will always stay loyal my father’s philosophy and be a “maker of beauty”, producing only items of the highest quality.
What do you wish people knew about luxury shoe making?
That excellent shoes can be produced only by hand and by maintaining ancient and traditional techniques, like the stitching or the cutting by hand, and most of all our famous velatura, that is the coloring of the leather by hand. Our strength is in maintaining our identity unchanged. Santoni is one of a kind brand, our distinctive characteristics are a timeless elegance, free from the dictate of the trends, and the highest quality possible, both in materials and craftsmanship , which is really rare to find. Fine quality, traditional craftsmanship and care for the details are essential.