The morning of April 2, 2021 brought devastating news for luxury brand Valentino: a fire had ravaged one of their shoe plants. Thankfully, no lives were lost. However, the structure and contents of the building were not so lucky.
With 90% destruction, Valentino Shoes Labs was nearly a complete loss, including over 38,000 pairs of shoes.
160 workers woke up that day not knowing if they would be able to go to work. Needless to say, Valentino was in a bind. What would they do? How would they produce their beloved product? Where would they produce their product?
Prada, another high-end luxury brand whom many would see as a rival, stepped in to help. Their CEO reached out to extend an invitation to use one of their factories that was, at the time, vacant.
Jacopo Venturini, the CEO of Valentino, quickly gained control and began to steer the company forward. He graciously accepted the offer and began using Prada’s vacant factory. An unfortunate circumstance that could have taken a year or more to recoup from took just a few weeks thanks to Prada’s location and available systems in close proximity.
In a statement of gratitude, Venturini remarked, “I would also like to thank from the bottom of my heart Patrizio Bertelli, Prada CEO, who immediately contacted us to express his solidarity and by making available one of his factories located a few kilometers away from our production site.”
What motivated Prada to do such a thing?
Imagine your rival staring at you. You’re pinned to the ground and this is potentially the end for you. But, instead of letting you be defeated, they help you get back up.
The reality is that rivalry doesn’t always hold the standard definition of one against the other as we see in the movies. Industry competitors can actually often be very beneficial for companies. In fact, without rivalry, much of the value of many companies would be diminished.
Prada and Valentino certainly contend for space in the minds of the buyer. However, without each other, what makes their brands so prestigious?
The luxury brand industry as a whole is fighting for its existence. Prada knew that if they let a giant fall, the balance could falter and they could be next. How refreshing is it to know that your “rivals” can see and look out for the industry as a whole, not just themselves?
How can you help an industry competitor? Do you look for ways? Have you considered what it could mean for your brand if theirs no longer existed?
To hear more about the art of engineering, sign up for our newsletter.