From Tuscany: Everything You Need To Know About Italian Family Owned Brand Pisani Maura
March 17, 2017
A conversation with Vittorio Cucci Ryan, current CEO and President of Pisani Maura, who has been working the past five years to continue the legacy of his great-great-grandfather Mario Pisani. Luxuria Lifestyle Florida spoke with Vittorio on the history of the luxury brand that dates back to the 1800s, which includes a selection of handmade shoes, handbags and accessories.
LLF: How did the company Pisani Maura get started?
VCR: The company has a long history. We are going three generations back. First and foremost, my family had not seen a woman in 210 years. That was until my cousin gave birth to the first daughter. He broke the legacy of my family only having male sons. My great-great-grandfather Mario Pisani was Italian so of course he had a passion for women. But how did he win a lovely lady? He attended a workshop in Tuscany with a Carpenter on the Hills of Florence. He developed a love for beautiful artifacts that were shoes and handbags. And then he started producing his own shoes and got into handbags. The good thing is he would start to work with celebrities and politicians. And he became quite famous.
LLF: How did the business grow?
VCR: People would go to him (Mario Pisani) and pray to have a handbag. He had his own style that you could not find in retail shops. He fell in love with a very beautiful lady when she came to repair her shoes it took him to the next level. He repaired the shoes and he just threw them away. When she came back to pick up the shoes, he said “I don’t have the shoes anymore. Because you are so beautiful, I think the shoes you brought me back don’t do any justice for you. You are way too elegant. Way too sophisticated.” He then took a week off to realize a pair shoes that would fit and enhance her elegance. Then he gave her these beautiful pair of shoes that were python I believe. They were extremely elegant and extremely beautiful.
LLF: What makes Pisani Maura a luxury brand?
VCR: It’s always been a company that has taken a low profile because he (Mario Pisani) never wanted to reach the fame or numbers of Gucci, Armani or Valentino. He knew them personally; they would all get together on a catwalk- if they wanted them to show off his bags or collection. He would always say no, sorry I don’t want it that way. I want to keep it small but eccentric and exclusive. Along with my father’s story with him was something rare. He always struck to give people the experience of Luxury rather than a piece of Luxury. The inaccessibility of what he was doing- the fact that it was prestigious and inaccessible was a point to him. That was his idea. He didn’t really want to make money. He never cared for that. Once he produced ten bags and sold them. He was super happy.
LLF: You were an actor and producer prior to this? How did you get involved in the family business?
VCR: That came down to the last generation before me when I said to my grandfather and father, “Look, I really think that I might be trying to take it to the next level. I think it would be lovely to show with other people what we have done so far. And that comes a little bit with the way I am.” I took a full commitment and full responsibility with my family. I don’t like definitions; I am anything that I am in this moment. I find myself closer to an entrepreneur because although I studied for ages acting. I am still acting and producing. I love to accept challenges and the challenge was big. When I took the company what I decided to do was split the company. I wanted to very high capacity, I need to have three- one for travel bags, handbags and the other dealing with shoes and accessories. Which sort of connected with the idea of the company. I think that I got inspired by a tree in Africa.
LLF: Can you explain further about this tree in Africa?
VCR: You need to know that my cousin Massimiliano goes to Africa for bono work in the populations there getting all the sustainable energy from the land. And there’s a beautiful tree I fell in love with. The tree of sausages. It sounds funny. But this tree is the first that gives birth to flowers- the flower blossoms and opens up and you can’t find any other flower in the whole of Africa. And that’s an ingenious move because what the tree is doing is something for all the animals, insects and bees that will eventually go there to feed. They will all take the seeds and spread them everywhere. At the same time, when all the animals are starving they are the last ones to lose these gigantic seeds. Big animals go when there’s nothing else available. From the business point of view- that gave me the idea that is help other people because you will help yourself. This small tree taught me how to survive against all odds like in Africa, which are gruesome yet helping animals. Making sure keeping in legacy. I went to talk to my grandparents to see where we could have taken the rain of the company and make it more accessible.
LLF: As the current CEO and President, where do see you the direction of the company?
VCR: We are tracking it now days in case of luxury companies, its kind of a riddle- how to grow the business more accessible without losing the exclusivity. So all these things together, my grandfather and the history. The key is behind what my great-great-grandfather really started. Is it true? I don’t know that’s what my grandfather said to me. The Italian way- the whole family speaking together and again when you go to the fashion industry, it’s all about location, location and location. You have the Italian tradition. The top of the manufacturing industries are in Tuscany. I belong here- that’s where I was born. I traveled the world only to understand what was good of my land and then he had this idea of having other people helping themselves. Making things more accessible and that’s basically how I decided to take the company in my hands and decided to take it to the next level. And really make it available to more people and we started five and half years ago. I wanted to keep that exclusivity, rarity but at the same time I wanted to make it more available.
LLF: How do you want Pisani Maura to grow but stay exclusive?
VCR: My motto is to help other people, because that way you are going to help yourself. That moment really defined the way I wanted to grow the company organically and concentrating on the aesthetic of the brand that was consistent. That had to be a philosophy for which is above price. The rule for marketing low price more sales and high price less sales is upsized for luxury. The higher the price the more exclusive. I am going to be the only one to have it. I want it. From that moment, what I tried to do is develop an extremely exclusive line- the bottom line of which is not “Wow, it costs so much.” The bottom line which should be “Wow, am I going to be the lucky one to have it.”
Written By: Jeannette Ceja, Luxuria Lifestyle Florida