I read with more sorrow than surprise the interview to Mario Bemer. It is always interesting how perception and point of view can really change a picture…. I’ve already wished him all the luck and success and I even conceded him the possibility to use his last name for his project (it was otherwise trademarked) but, for the sake of correct information and for the respect I demand for Stefano’s name and story, I must add some comments.
First, and most important, there was never a secret genius behind Stefano’s success. it was always just Stefano. Mario has done a number of different jobs before arriving at Stefano’s workshop in 1999, when Stefano Bemer was already a famed and successful brand. Stefano has always been the sole source of his designs and ideas and fame. Not even his super talented team of Japanese craftsmen, which is brilliantly guiding our atelier nowadays, had much influence on him professionally. I don’t want to get into the tormented personal relationship the two brothers had. Just take a mental note of the fact that Mario was never asked by Stefano to become a business partner in his company or ventures, nor he stepped forward to take over the business when Stefano passed.
Laura Gori, Sabine Pretsch and Cristina Mirri Bemer
I found unprofessional mentioning other companies that might have been interested in acquiring the brand besides myself but, since he did, it gives me the chance to make everyone understand the depth and nature of the relationship I established with Cristina (Stefano’s companion and actual associate designer of my company) and the group of craftsmen that Stefano trained. If they all picked my offer and strategy (which includes training, finest bespoke shoemaking, unparalleled quality MTO and RTW…) they must have found it very resembling of Stefano’s philosophy and vision…
I only met Mario well after I found an agreement with Stefano’s family about the future of the brand. I acquired it with the goal of using the outstanding quality of the Bespoke he made as a benchmark for a new, bespoke quality RTW, and there is where we are now! I certainly don’t mind being evaluated or compared. Whoever (!) was in charge of the RTW before surely wasn’t at the level we are today…Last, but not least, I’m fourth generation of leather craftsmen in Florence. My and my family’s “Technical knowledge” wasn’t certainly acquired by buying a brand, but rather gained on the field with 85 years of fine leather making. And when I “wore a cobblers’ apron” for the first time, I made it in the most humble way and yet with the highest sense of responsibility. Besides, I’m a quick learner…
My grandfather always told me: “talk is cheap! You will be remembered for your actions and not for your words!” and I love to think I learned some of his legacies. If Mario’s shoes are worth what he says they are, he’ll gain his own fame and he won’t need to brag about having been a key-man at Stefano Bemer. If he had been, I would have retained him (as I did with all the rest of the team) instead of letting him go so light-heartily….
Hope you don’t mind my straightforwardness, but I’m a very professional businessman (I wasn’t “placed” where I’m sitting: I made this happen!) and correct person and I don’t accept anything else in return.
CEO & Co-Founder