The story of the Calzature Marini brand actually starts with my grand grand father, Cav. Giuseppe Marini, who opened the store at the beginning of the 20th century. Together with the store Giuseppe also founded one of the first shoemaking professionals schools.
The boutique was then joined by the two sons of the founder, Felice and Benedetto (father and uncle of Carlo Marini). During the 60s, at the age of 14, my father joined his father and uncle in the business. He worked over 20 years with them, learning all the art behind the shoemaking process that has been passed from father to son for 4 generation. Nowadays I am running the store together with my father.
What are the biggest challenges in hand-made shoemaking?
The biggest challenge in the shoemaking process, if you want (like us) to maintain the same quality level as 100 years ago is to find the skilled labour force. This art, as passed through generations in my family, has gone lost for many long traditioned artisans and not many of the younger generations are learning from their fathers. Therefore, unfortunately, a piece of this art is going lost with the generations. However we are seeing a trend, that as a company we are doing everything we can to foster, in the last 3/5 years of more and more young talents approaching this job. As it is an handmade product, most of the magic happens thanks to skilled and trained hands, which are the biggest value in a company like ours.
All of the materials used in our shoes is the top quality leathers in the industry. We only work with the top quality, 100% made in Italy, leathers. When you create a luxury product we believe that all the attention to the quality of raw materials is essential to guarantee top quality to the final customer.
How man coworkers do you have in the present?
Me and my father are actually doing most of the job on our own, with the support of several flexible coworkers that help us in specific tasks (marketing, business development, etc) and in moments of production peaks, especially during the high selling seasons.
What are your favorite models and why?
As we always tell our customers, our product is not a “push” good where the firm decides design and produces shoes that clients have to choose. On the contrary Calzature Marini is a bespoke firm, where the product is totally driven by clients’ tastes and wishes. We only have a few samples in our boutique that we use to illustrate customers with potential choices he can make. Therefore my favourite model is the model that my client likes!
Having said that we are worldwide famous for classic shoes and my tastes obviously fall the company offering, I would say I love black calf Italian Mocassini as they represent, in my opinion, the basis of the Italian couture style.
What famous clients passed your door step over the years?
Being in the heart of one of the most beautiful cities in the world we have had the privilege of serving a lot of famous clients, as well as a lot of normal people simply passionate about top quality shoes.
In the “Dolce vita” years we had a lot of movies stars that used to come by Rome, Anna Magnani, Marcello Mastroianni, Federico Fellini, Robert De Niro, Gregory Peck, Roman Coppola.
We also have served, and proudly continue to do so, some of the most famous Italian families in business and fashion: the Agnelli (Giovanni Agnelli was a customer and his nephews still are), the Bulgari, the Loro Piana. As well as international succesfull business men such as Robert Forbes.
We have also served kings and queens: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of England, His Majesty King Hassan the II of Morocco, the president of UAE Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahayan.
From your point of view which Marini models have a more Italian look?
I would say the Mocassini and the Francesina, which represent the quintessential Italian elegance.
What other Italian shoemakers do you admire?
When Giuseppe Marini founded Calzature Marini his neighbor was Gatto which has been, during our history, one of the best shoemakers in Rome and we have always kept good friends.
We appreciate all the shoemakers that still keep the tradition as we do and, by doing so, keep the Made in Italy shoemaking brand as a top quality product.
How would you define Marini experience in a few worlds?
Marini is the real definition of luxury in the tradiotional sense. Nowadays luxury is sometimes defined by standard products which are industrially made by machines, in a few minutes of work. All these luxury products look the same if you buy them in Rome or New York, and thousands of people have the same as you do.
In our concept luxury means having a product that really fits your needs and tastes, that takes into account your wishes and that is a unique product made by one person with his hands, using hours of work. That is something that will last a lifetime and that will give your look the real uniqueness you are looking for.
This is why, also in our expansion, we are not looking to open Marini stores worldwide but we’d rather organize trunk shows where we invite interested clients and meet them face to face. We want to understand clients needs and need to intermediaries in this process.