"Remember that MINUSH doesn’t sell, but gives emotions for free!”
WHEN AND HOW DID YOU START THIS BUSINESS?
I started up with my wife and a small, 50-sq. m. shop, selling just women’s clothes, on 1st September 2014. We decided, in fact, to take the slower path, one small step at a time, instead of launching ourselves into the unknown with both of us leaving our permanent jobs. She went first and after the first year, in which the results were good, we decided to expand our business by offering men’s clothes as well. So on 1st February 2016 we opened MINUSH, men & women. Not content with this, a few months after opening, we found out that a very historic store in Piazza Sedese was closing down. So just 9 months later we moved the business and went to the wonderful surroundings of the Piazza, with a space of 350 sq. m. on two floors. We were also lucky enough to discover that the building is one of the oldest in Montebelluna, dating to 1870; behind the false ceilings we found wooden beams, and under the wall-to-wall carpeting there was a splendid cherry wood floor – it’s a real gem!
HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE THE TASTE OF YOUR STORE?
We like to define our store as the “old-fashioned boutique”. In the midst of the continual construction – unfortunate, I would add – of new, slick and ramshackle shopping centres with a fake and outdated flavour and cold neon lights, and while the loveliest streets of the old town centres continue to be invaded by single-brand stores – all the same, whether you’re in New York or Milan or Venice, we decided to go against the trend and to open a boutique like those of yesteryear. And like those shops of yesteryear MINUSH is above all staffed by people you can refer to, who are always the same ones – meaning me and my wife. We are the ones who select the brands and the clothes, who see to arranging the goods and the shop-window displays and we are the ones who advise and look after our customers. We have two members of staff, Valentina and Eva, who work with us. It’s an old-fashioned boutique with its kind, friendly ways, but it’s clearly modern in that it can handle new technologies, social media and the forthcoming start-up of e-commerce. We’re very active on Facebook and Instagram and we have lots of followers: we’re an enormous itinerant shop-window that can be reached with a click. Talking about the flavour or taste of our store, we might define it as romantic, classy, chic, and with a touch of eccentricity. We do a lot of research – continuously – to track down new, alternative brands, which will always be synonymous with quality and uniqueness.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE BRANDS AND WHICH CATEGORIES OF GOODS DO YOU SELL THE MOST?
In the case of women’s clothes: Forte_Forte, ERIKA CAVALLINI, TELA and POMANDERE are the brands my wife Elisa loves and favours more than others, because she started with them and they’ve grown together. Trousers are definitely one of the top categories in these brands, for large sizes, with pleats or wide stretch waistband. Then there are dresses, shirts, tops and coats, even in spring, such as the linen ones by POMANDERE. Regarding men’s clothes: JOHN SHEEP, CIRCOLO 1901 and T-JACKET for jackets, both jackets and waistcoats and knitted jackets, XACUS for shirts, SANTANIELLO, CRUNA and LA SARTORIA DI TRUE NYC for trousers, both slim and loose-fit with two pleats.
In casual short jackets, we have PEOPLE OF SHIBUYA, OUTHERE as a new name with really beautiful materials, and two new brands for autumn/winter: RRD and MUSEUM. And one treat – FORTELA, for an authentic, vintage flavour. Finally, there’s the grand and welcome return to the scene of MAURO GRIFONI, with a beautiful first collection for autumn/winter, both men’s and women’s.
WHAT DO YOU BUY FROM XACUS?
Ever since our first day, our main quality has been to stand out, and therefore our choices are always oriented towards the most beautiful and exclusive fabrics, rather than on the basic side. So 90% of our selection is for washed shirts, with a lot of indigo and chambray – by now a basic element for us, a new shirt to wear with jacket and tie. And as far as the basic garments are concerned, XACUS gives us this great opportunity to stock up: the ”ONLINE SERVICE” means we can restock continually on goods sold, so after the first season when we laid down the basic stock, we’ve been able to work just with restocking.
HOW IMPORTANT DO YOU THINK IS THE LEVEL OF SERVICE OF A BRAND YOU WORK WITH?
What, today?! Today, when competition is stiff, and the fast fashion industry ever more prepared with e-commerce websites that are more and more attention-grabbing, offering more and more competitive prices (sometimes these are the official websites of the same brands we deal with), the service we get from a company is fundamental. As I already mentioned in my previous answer, Xacus gives us enormous help with the ONLINE SERVICE. And also with the MADE-TO-MEASURE SERVICE we’re able to give the customer a unique garment of the highest quality, which again means that, in some cases, we can be preferred to e-commerce.
HOW IMPORTANT ARE YOUR STAFF AND HOW DO YOU TRY TO INVOLVE THEM?
I’d say they were fundamental, because they have to transmit, as we do, the passion and the taste that we want to offer our customers. They sometimes have to stand in for us, because maybe we’re out of the shop for a trade-fair, and so they’re our deputies to all intents and purposes. As such, they need to be continually informed and trained, updated about trends, about new proposals, and involved as much as possible in purchases and in replacements.
WHAT WOULD BE YOUR FAVOURITE QUOTATION OR MOTTO?
Sometimes, when a customer makes a big purchase, even though they came in with quite a different intention, or when they really like a garment but are a bit held back by the price, I say to them: “Remember that MINUSH doesn’t sell, but gives emotions for free!”… Then they start laughing, and some of them might tell me where to get off, but they proceed to purchase and go away happy.