Thelios' Zoppas Discusses New Brands and the Expansion of Factory Production in Longarone, Italy
MILAN—Thelios, the eyewear joint venture between LVMH and Marcolin Group, intends to significantly expand its production by adding a second factory in Longarone, Italy to bring its production capabilities from 1.5 million frames a year to 4.5 million frames by the middle of 2020, according to Giovanni Zoppas, Thelios' CEO, who told VMAIL of the expansion plans in an interview here last weekend. The addition was also discussed this week to European media by Jean-Baptiste Voisin, chief strategy officer of the LVMH group, who stated, "The construction of a second factory, as an extension of the first, began two weeks ago. It is forecast to become operational in the fourth quarter of 2020, trebling the size of the production area.”
Thelios' first factory in Longarone was officially opened last spring, as VMAIL reported, following the official announcement of the joint venture in January 2017. Its production is focusing on the LVMH houses or maisons which are collaborating with special teams at Thelios to create certain LVMH brand eyewear and sunwear collections.To date, those have included Celine, Loewe, Fred and Kenzo. This month the group also started to preview sunwear for Berluti, inspired by the Italian footwear brand.
Zoppas told VMAIL, "The vision of what we are doing at Thelios is quite simple. We want to be a new voice to the market. To do that we have to be a little disruptive of what's traditionally been done before, but our goal is to be consistent in new ways as we work with the brands. We look at three main pillars. The first of these, product, is based on design where we have established a way of working with the different 'maisons' which is a true partnership with them. We work with each of them to create a true consistency with the DNA of each house, a consistency between the core business and the eyewear. This is becoming the case not just with the sunwear but, increasingly, with ophthalmic styles as well."
He continued, "Distribution is the second leg, and there we are more selective and qualitative. It's a promise that we make to our retail network and partners. Third, to support that, we have a network of brand ambassadors around the world, who are not only selling and working with accounts but who focus, too, on visual merchandising, which is very important to us. The proper presentation in space, display and showcase is of utmost importance to support each brand."