In times of crisis for the design industry with a constant down hill trend since 2008, fortunately there are companies that go against this trend and instead of decreasing are increasing their business. Fontanot, an Italian company that sells Italian design staircases is one of these. Recently the company has initiated a very ambitious plan of expansion, and the first step takes place in the United Kingdom, where they have launched a new portal: http://uk.fontanotshop.com/. We have interviewed Laura Fontanot, head of marketing for Fontanot. With her mix of passion for design and digital marketing, she managed to create a winning concept and marketing mix that have taken her company to completely new heights.
What is your background and how do you bring this into the business?
Since my earliest years, I have always been very interested in art and design and this lead to my studies in Belle Arti Academy di Bologna, which is one of the most recognized art schools in Italy. Since I was born and raised in a family run company I had the chance bring my passions and experience into the business, thus creating design products based on high quality materials.
What are the most significant achievements in your professional life?
One of the first things I did after finishing university was to use my skills and passion to implement the way we presented our products to the market. We changed the packaging, the photos and the shooting sets. This gave a complete new look to our products and the market responded very well to this initiative. Lately I have switched my focus to online marketing and together with a rebranding of the company I have successfully launched the Fontanotshop branch of the company that is 100% dedicated to e-commerce. By being present on the Internet we manage to reach out to a complete new audience that we never would have been able to communicate with if it wasn’t for the web.
What are Fontanot’s basic values and how does this help your company during these times of crisis?
Constant research and development and the use of new materials give our clients good value for the price they pay for our products. In these times, it is not easy to be price competitive as there are several staircase producers who sell their products at a far too low price; they manage to do this by using lower quality in the material they work with. We do not go down that route and we do not take part in price competitions. We firmly believe that our unique design and high quality justifies our placement on the market. Our clients recognize this and show their appreciation by endorsements and returning for more acquisitions.
What is your relationship with the Web?
I love the digital world and all the opportunities it gives us. It allows me to keep myself updated with the latest trends and opportunities on the market. I think that the Internet allows each and every one of us to grow both culturally and professionally. Sometimes there can be a certain scepticism against new technologies, but I think we should embrace them and learn how to use them at best as it gives us so many opportunities.
Finally, what are your interests and hobbies outside Fontanot?
As mentioned earlier, I love art and as often as I get the chance I visit exhibitions and art galleries. Another interest I have is sports. I practice dance and skiing and thanks to these sports I have grown as a person. I also love tennis and I am actually getting quite good.
Laura Fontanot is the head of Marketing for Fontanotshop. A family run company founded in 1947 that has recently rebranded in order to approach the Internet.