Alessandro Marinella, Naples

Your life in a few lines, exactly where it starts

I was born in Naples on April 25, 1995. As all of us in the family say, I was born in Piazza Vittoria. Our whole life has always started and continued here, where there is the shop and, close by, the house. In Neapolitan dialect we’re used to say casa e’ puteca (home and shop).

I had a normal, peaceful life. I pursued my basic studies – from elementary school to the scientific high school – and then I enrolled at University Federico II, choosing business economics. After graduation, I moved to London where I lived for seven months to complete my studies and improve the English language. London fascinated me, it gave me so much. It runs at a completely different speed, certainly compared to Naples but also compared to the main European cities. It’s there where you can see how a career can be also much faster. Growing up there is faster but you have more responsibility.

After the London period I returned to Italy, to Naples, to work alongside my father in the company. It is already two years, to date.

Hurdles and honors: to gather in a perhaps worn sentence what other young entrepreneurs have told us once preparing to occupy their place in a business consolidated by their ancestors and yet everything to innovate and declinate in the most intense present.

How do you feel when you cross the splendid portal of the Riviera di Chiaia today which will have been the memory and image of thousands of moments from your childhood?

What are your roles and how do you live them?

It is a huge challenge and a beautiful responsibility. Obviously taken in a positive key. Like all beautiful things, they must be treated with full dedication. Marinella is an important name, a consolidated reality, reaching 106 years this June and behind me there are three generations. I am therefore managing a company where many people have already lived.

Times have changed not only for digitization but also for globalization, the real challenge that is also a bit the current difficulty is to try to relate internally with people older than me who have a different vision but also with an audience composed of both people of a certain age and young people who have just finished university and are entering the professional world so they come here and rely on our selection to dress properly.

I was in a meeting in New York, some time ago, with the publisher of the Wall Street Journal who said that among his readers there are both millennials and those who fought the Second World War: ‘I must find topics that suit both.’

The important thing today is to convert a business so that it can also be reached by ‘social’ generations. Using easier, quicker, more contemporary means. We, by choice, do not currently have e-commerce because the relationship with the customer is fundamental. We have phone-commerce instead: you can call us to buy remotely and to receive advice. It is nice to tell you that the yield percentage with this technique is 0% and we also have calls after the purchase to give us feedback. It is a beautiful satisfaction, human contact is increasingly being lost: here, however, it is our strength.

What are your roles and how do you live them now, after two years in the company?

I immediately realized, two years ago, that, being a family business and increasingly growing, it takes a different type of organization: we are still a shop but on the other hand we are becoming more and more a brand, let’s say a retail family organization.

My role is to develop the brand, to give patterns and procedures in all fields: from the human resources, to the warehouse management… Not only procedures but also projects to be carried out: from the product selection to its future (with the various collaborations that we are setting up: the most recent with a Sicilian company, Orange Fiber, holder of a patent that obtains organic textile fibers from oranges) with great attention to sustainability and the environment.

After all, Marinella now deals with ‘dressing’ people, there are no longer just ties

We aim for the total look. Now we completely cover all male accessories except the tailored suit because we have not yet found the tailor who can join the company but that is also a goal.

We have already launched our shirts, a project still to be perfected. In a more distant future, we also aim at the total female look. We already have some leather and silk accessories.

Recently, at Milan Fashion Week where we made a presentation, we said that the female world is not foreign to the Marinella family. And that we have never had a designer, an internal stylist, but maybe for the women’s world we will have it….

I consider Naples your city forever, even if perhaps you will be the one of the family that runs the most. What do you feel you are giving and what do you feel you are receiving in return from this beautiful place (…also my native town)?

I’m out from Naples for work so many days and I have visited many cities. It is true that I grew up here and that I have my family and all my friends here, but Naples is a city that can give absolutely everything. Relaxation, job satisfaction (and we are perhaps the example: as my grandfather said, great things can be done starting from Naples but above all staying in Naples). Above all, the London experience has shown me how important Naples is to me and how breathtaking it is. I am perhaps experiencing a situation of symbiosis with my city. So much so that the city gives us awards and a very strong friendship. And, thinking of speaking also on behalf of my family, I am grateful to the city. In all and for all.

The book with you now (on which table does it rest or in which bag is it stowed?) And the song that persists in your selection

The book I have with me now, under the computer on my desk, is a Christmas present: it is not really a book, it is called the Calendar for Everyone. It is a book of the Neapolitan tradition that reports anecdotes for every single day, if you read it before starting your day they say they bring luck.

I am a lover of thrillers. For years my favorite book has been Christie’s 10 little Indians, it was given to me by my Latin teacher. I still keep it with much affection.

Actually I don’t have a persistent song…. With Spotify and with the playlists everything is very depersonalized: you rely on the most random selections. Homologating to the tastes of the general moment.

A talent that you have, the one you miss (or wish)

I try to be pragmatic and democratic but also meritocratic, trying to give everything to those who have long been; I don’t get carried away by things or feelings.

Perhaps a defect is that I lack patience, perhaps it is a defect common to millennials; we want everything immediately without waiting. I am in a company with many generations still inside it, it is difficult to try to adapt to different times. Sometimes I get anxious to accomplish the various missions but I am slowly trying to adapt.

Where do you see yourself in ten years

Absolutely where I am but around the world as I am doing today. Without ever losing my origins.

What did you learn from life so far?

In these years, especially in these two years, I have learned a lot (in all sectors). I still don’t have the presumption to give advice already on what I have learned. I find that at 24, even what I learned is not necessarily a definitive lesson … maybe many of the things will be questioned in the near future.

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