How one company grew sales from $2.2 mil to $80 mil in 3 years
Alex and Ani was founded as a jewelry-making company in 2004, based in Newport, RI. Giovanni Feroce became CEO in 2010, and in the past three years, has helped sales increase from $2.2 million to $80M, with on-line sales going from $200,000 to $30M. A&A now has 50 retail stores and 874 employees. Giovanni calls this growing at “battlefield speed”.
So how did they do it? Here are a few highlights from a presentation Giovanni gave at a recent NEMOA marketing conference:
- A&A makes all of their product, even the jewelry cases, in Rhode Island. Gionvanni feels that manufacturing talent is here in the US, but it’s dormant. Their rule for hiring is “20 miles or 20 minutes” from the plant.
- They focus on event-driven marketing, and have formed alliances with the NFL, NBA, Disney, colleges, the armed forces, and more. They have contributed over $6,000,000 through their “charmed by charity” events which are hosted at their retail stores.
- “Knowledge is power.” A&A depends on social media, including blogs and blog comments, FB, and Twitter, for brand monitoring, customer care, and to spread the word about their events and their company. They use Radian6 to see all discussions of their brand on the web. Most retailers have omnichannel wrong. They are reactive instead of proactive. Increase customer value at each touch point regardless of channel. Social media is storytelling. Every sale we make is a story for us as well as for the customer.
- They invest in technology. You need best-in-class technology. Our commitment is to technology, with a Digital Strategy Team based in Rhode Island, made up of young executives with little experience. Giovanni reads Fast Company and Inc. Magazine to stay on top of tech trends, tools, and best practices. “I know what I don’t know. If you don’t know something, outsource if you want to learn more.
- They use technology to listen, then they modify their behavior based on what they are hearing.
I love that A&A is manufacturing beautiful product right here in the US without sacrificing quality or profit. And I love their focus on using social channels to learn about their customers and to change how they do business. They sell a cool product, and run a smart business.
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