English isn’t Raffaele Giovine’s first language. But he’s managed to turn his Italian accent into one of his greatest assets when he found Italist, the website that aggregates some of the most exclusive Italian fashion items straight from Italian boutiques. Now you can shop the streets of Italy without ever having to leave the house.
It started with a pair of shoes.
A few years ago Raffaele Giovine was working in the fashion district of Tokyo when, in the window of a boutique, he saw a pair of shoes — the kind that just call out to you. Giovine decided to buy the pair of shoes once he was back in the United States, only to realize that the special pair was a limited edition designed exclusively for Japanese market.
But he wanted them bad. Giovine went on the hunt for that single pair of shoes and landed on Rakuten, an aggregator for Japanese goods that sold on a global scale. That’s when it hit him — work with local merchants to sell unique products on an international scale? Genius. Now let’s take it to Italy.
Thus Italist was born, from a single pair of shoes. And yes, Giovine got those shoes.
Today, Italist is the largest market for shopping high-end Italian fashion online. What’s new, what’s in, what’s up: you can find it on Italist.
“That’s the strong positioning of Italist,” Giovine says. “You go because you find things that are hard to find somewhere else.”
Italist has over 100 partner merchants in Italy — all of whom Raffaele has met personally. The Italist team has built strong relationships with their boutique partners, offering to take their small businesess online and global with no hassle.
“We take care of everything. They do nothing, just decide what they want to sell,” Giovine says.
Italist then takes care of the picture, the product description, the customer care, the billing, and the shipping. This is how Italist gets their extensive category of luxury fashion and how a small boutique on the streets of Milan reaches an audience larger than ever before. It’s a win-win.
Through their catalogue, their relationships and their customers, Giovine says Italist tries to build “a luxury spirit” everyday. He doesn’t want customers to just dress Italian, he wants them to experience Italian.
According to Giovine, Made in Italy is a brand unto itself. And it’s a brand that carries the weight of a culture entrenched with extravagance and class. Italist is all about welcoming you into that culture — to get a glimpse of the exclusive, then wear the exclusive.
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