Cucinelli Cashmere – When Luxury Has a Soul

October 20, 2015 | Sara Schivazappa
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Brunello Cucinelli is an Italian fashion house well known for its production of cashmere knitwear. Cucinelli is today one of the main international brands in the luxury sector.

What is most interesting is how this house operated to reach success.

The company was founded in 1978, and already in 1985 revenues are reinvested in the acquisition of the 14th century castle of Solomeo, a little medieval borough near Perugia. After two years of restoration, the castle becomes the company’s headquarter. From 1985 to 2001 Cucinelli has gradually funded the restoration and re-qualification of the medieval hamlet of Solomeo, restoring streets, squares, gardens, public areas, historic buildings and structures. Between 2002 and 2008 the firm funded the creation of the so-called “Forum of the Arts”, including a theater, an amphitheater, a garden, the house of the Academy and a humanistic library. Between 2011 and 2014 was the turn of the restoration of the Etruscan arch of Perugia.

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Beyond all the material reconstructions done in Umbria, what is considerable is the work environment that Cucinelli created. Within its company he made his initial dream come true: “I wanted to give the human beings that worked with me a place to work that was beautiful and would allow them to free their creativity. I wanted to create a ‘special’ work environment, less hard and more human. I believe in a humanist enterprise: business should comply in the noblest manner with all the rules of ethics that man has devised over the centuries. 

I dream about a form of modern capitalism with strong ancient roots, where profit is made without harm or offence to anyone, and part of it is set aside for initiatives that really make a difference in people’s lives. I believe in the quality and beauty of craftsmanship; I don’t think you can have quality without humanity. 

No one here has a badge, but almost everyone has the keys of the firm; people have to leave latest at 6 pm because everyone deserves free time, to do sport, to be with the family, and to nourish the soul. But within the work hours we are all very meticulous and efficient and absenteeism is non existent.”

Cucinelli’s employees earn 30% more compared to others in similar sectors. Every year he redistributes part of the profits with them, “as a thank to all those who help us grow with their work” (memorable was the redistribution with the workers of the 5 mil. euros earned entering the stock exchange in 2012). For all of the above Brunello Cucinelli was given a Laurea Honoris Causa in Philosophy and Ethics of Human Relations. And it is maybe for of all the above that the brand has a sales volume of 360 mil euros, which keep rising. And it is surely for all of the above that Cucinelli has no union representative, even today with almost 800 employees.

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Sara Schivazappa

After humanistic degrees in foreign languages and literatures as well as anthropology, Sara attained a Masters in Communication Analysis and Management. She first joined the United Nations, working in the press offices in Kosovo, Ghana and New York, and then entered the world of marketing and research at Unilever, followed by a move to Innate Motion in 2008.

Sara is a bright and empathetic researcher, appreciated for her ability to understand people in depth and create interesting perspectives. She conducts international research all around the world, applying her human understanding and writing about it using her communication background. These cultural studies are in fact sparks to write articles on societal and cultural issues for the Innate Motion website and online editorial agents.

Sara is an environmentalist and also works for the Italian National Authority for Animal Protection (ENPA) by enabling communication activities aimed at raising awareness around respect for animals.