It’s the new made in Spain phenomenon. Comparable to the likes of Mango and Inditex’ Zara. With 60% annual growth over the past seven years and a turnover in 2009 of over 250 million Euros, Desigual -famous for its patchwork designs- expands throughout Spain and all over the world under the motto of optimism. It now has 140 shops and 4500 multi-brand sales points. By the end of 2008, Desigual had opened 52 new shops, one opening every week of the year, registering a total investment of 35 million Euros. At the end of 2009, the firm will have invested about 30 million Euros in 30 new shops, one in the shopping centre, Les 4 Temps, in Paris and another in Preciados in Madrid with an area of 2500 m2, said the CEO of Desigual, Manel Adell to FashionUnited.

What is the reason for Desigual’s rapid growth?
There is more than one reason. I think we have pinpointed a very different product at a reasonable price. It isn’t one of the cheapest but our products are not an expensive or premium brand. Our product strategy lies in our quality/price ratio and what we transmit, which is a colourful world full of patchwork and graphic design. We are positive and happy and have a sense of humour, which is all part of our product philosophy.
The other reason for our success, which is just as important, is how we have created our teams. We recruited talent and trained people in accordance with our corporate culture. The average age of our employees in this central office in Barcelona is 27, and in the company itself is 24. Our team is also international and includes 30 or more nationalities in the central office alone. The organisational chaos that this development implies could only be overcome with people capable of adapting to change.

From amongst fashion companies in the sector, Desigual has been the one to develop the fastest.
Yes, in our sector and in others. This development over so many years is not very normal.

Which new markets have you entered this year?
Germany, with a shop in Berlin. Although we already had 500 clients in multi-brand shops there.

How many employees does the company have?
About 200 people work here at the central office. In all, we are 1700. When I became director-general seven years ago, we were 40.

Are Desigual’s products the same on all markets or do you take the different cultures into account?
The collection is exactly the same everywhere.

And do you see a difference in the success of different items according to the market?
We attempt to design our brand based on common tastes. We work with universal values and think that an item with graphic design or a slogan is positive and should be liked both in Russia and Seville. It’s not that we don’t adapt to the different markets. Our skirts in Saudi Arabia, for example, are slightly longer. We are culture-sensitive so that we don’t make silly mistakes.

In which market have you seen the most rapid development?
In 2009, we have been doing more business outside Spain. Over 50 percent of our business in international and the largest market is France. But markets registering large percentage increases now are Holland and Germany.

What are your plans for the USA where you have opened this year?
We are working on new shops and all channels at once – about 250 multi-brand sales points. We have opened a shop at Macy’s, so we now have shops in 32 centres on the East coast too.

What was the outcome of the problem with the Custo Barcelona brand that announced that it would file a claim for plagiarism?
No specific claim or seizure was made and we are still unaware of what they are talking about.

Photo 1: Desigual FW 09
Photo 2: Manel Adell, CEO Desigual

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