BERGAMO, Italy and AVONDALE, AZ (BRAIN)—Santini Maglifico Sportivo has opened a distribution office in the United States. The new subsidiary gives Santini a direct presence in the U.S., and is the company’s fourth subsidiary.
Santini is an Italian manufacturer of high-end cycling apparel that produces all of its clothing out of its factory in Bergamo, an area known for tailoring and clothing manufacturing.
The company, founded in 1965, has other subsidiaries in France, Germany and Benelux. Its clothing is distributed directly in Italy and through a network of distributors in most other major global territories.
“We’ve always known that Santini could do much better in the U.S.,” said Monica Santini, the company’s managing director and daughter of founder Pietro Santini, in a press release. “We’ve tried different distribution approaches there in the past but we’ve learned that sometimes the best way to create the momentum that is needed to grow a market is to invest in a direct office.”
Most recently, the brand had been distributed by Trialtir in Houston, Texas. Santini parted ways with Trialtir over the summer and hadn’t had a market presence since then.
Steve Medcroft, a former executive at Future Publishing, a media group whose titles include Procycling magazine, Cyclingnews.com and BikeRadar.com, is heading up the U.S. office, which opened Jan. 2.
“Being asked to drive Santini’s business in the U.S. is an exciting opportunity,” Medcroft said. “It’s an incredible brand that is underrepresented here.”
Santini has sponsored World Tour teams and served as clothing supplier to the UCI and the Giro D’Italia—all efforts to build the brand’s profile.
Medcroft said his first task is to build a network of retailers, with a focus on quality rather than quantity. He hopes to sign up 50 dealers this year. “We have initially focused on creating a sound business proposition for retailers. We also plan to spend as much time and energy as we can sharing the Santini story and products with consumers to drive demand to those retailers.”
The U.S. office is warehousing top-selling, core items from Santini’s collections in Arizona to speed supply to retailers. It will also coordinate all U.S.-based custom clothing orders. Part of its approach is to allow retailers to trade in unsold Santini inventory against future orders. The company is also working with Shopatron to fulfill online consumer orders placed on its website through retailers.
Photo: Pietro Santini at his Bergamo, Italy headquarters; courtesy Santini SMS