Life sometimes comes full circle and this is one of those moments. Let me begin, I had just graduated from fashion-college, and I had my dream job working for Manetti-Farrow, the sole distributor of the Gucci Accessory Collection.
Maria Manetti, President and CEO, was the driving force and pioneer in developing the Gucci name in American department stores. She never overlooked details, even the small things that most people disregarded, were important to how the organization and Gucci name were perceived. I’ll never forget a Christmas party that she and Stephen Farrow hosted. The office was transformed into an unrecognizable space with Roman columns, custom lighting, and epicurean delights. It was an unforgettable event and a gift to the team.
Maria keenly understood the importance of controlling the brand, and helped pioneer designer shops within departments stores. Every account was required to carry the entire Gucci Accessory Collection in prime floor locations with custom fixturing. This level of control helped to maintain the integrity of the collection and exclusivity of the brand. Later in my career, I launched Ralph and Lauren, Ralph Lauren designer shops at Macy*s West with a similar degree of detail.
Maria also taught me a higher-level of perseverance. Simply doing the expected was not enough. Each and every effort should be made to exceed expectations and performance. This meant coming in early, staying late, and knowing an account better than the account knew their own business.
These principles have fundamentally shaped my business philosophy, and I credit Maria Manetti Shrem in large part for that acumen. We have reconnected in an unexpected way. My organization is now working as a subcontractor to the Manetti Shrem Museum of Art, and it’s a privilege to be a part of the team.