Nicola Coropulis, Chief Executive Officer of Poltrona Frau, discusses the brand’s illustrious history, tapping into the region’s premium furniture market, and what is exciting in the pipeline.
You studied Political Science. How did you come to switch to the furniture industry?
I studied political science because I wanted to be an ambassador in the diplomatic sphere. When my studies ended, I had the opportunity to work for the Italian furniture firm Natuzzi, and I discovered that this is what I like doing, so I became an ambassador for well-known furniture brands instead.
Could you elaborate on Poltrona Frau’s history?
Poltrona Frau is one of Italy’s oldest brands. It has a 111-year heritage that is profoundly rooted in a tradition of exceptional craftsmanship, high-quality materials, meticulous attention to detail, and a strong devotion to a very clean sense of Italian beauty. We have updated our designs over the previous century while remaining true to the brand’s historical legacy.
How do you see the Middle East as a very competitive market for luxury furniture? Who are your key customers here?
The Middle East is an intriguing market with significant growth potential in the luxury sector, design, and furnishings. Not only because of its economic might, but also because the market values high-quality goods. When we consider the quantity of luxury vehicles and watches sold in the Middle East in comparison to the rest of the globe, there is no reason why this would not apply to luxury furniture.
Who are your key customers? Why did you choose Majid Al Futtaim Lifestyle as a partner?
One of the reasons we partnered with Majid Al Futtaim Lifestyle is because of their deep knowledge of the regional market and luxury customers. We know there is a broad range of potential customers for our products which range from local families to wealthy expats. Through leveraging our relationship with Majid Al Futtaim Lifestyle and their network, we can certainly target these customers better. We also share common values and have a mutual understanding on the journey we want to pursue. Through Majid Al Futtaim Lifestyle we found strong financial partners that also brings value, support and culture to our brand in the region.
With the rise of e-commerce, how have you modified your marketing efforts to entice customers to visit your current brick-and-mortar locations?
We decided as a company to introduce e-commerce in October 201, just before the pandemic and this gave us a competitive advantage. Our e-commerce offering shortens the distance between our clients and the brand, as well as drives business to our brick-and-mortar stores. It’s an investment that I believe will continue to grow and deliver strong results when it comes to sales.
Could you explain about your latest collection and the trends you’re focussing on?
With such a long history as a company, we have to ensure we protect our historical heritage and products. But we look to develop products that intersect new trends and broaden the boundaries of our offerings. We followed these three directions with the latest developments. On one hand, we revived some of our historical pieces like the Dezza Armchair. We rediscovered the Ouverture Sofa by Pierluigi Cerri that celebrated its 40th birthday last year. Finally, we developed new products that can interpret contemporary tastes. We also expanded our offering by introducing new categories like the outdoor collection a couple of years ago.
What do you think the biggest challenge is for luxury retail in the next five years?
I believe that keeping the customer engaged and offering customers experiences that provide value are the key elements for luxury retail in the next few years. I also believe that there are numerous products in the field of furniture, resulting in an excess compared to the demand. However, the ability to tell stories and create unique experiences that foster a sense of intimate luxury, which forms the foundation of our brand experience, belongs only to a few brands. We proudly believe that we are one of them.
How do you plan to keep the company innovative?
I am half Italian and half Greek so from my Greek ancestors, I took the understanding and belief that everything flows and changes constantly and to keep the brand always contemporary and vibrant, and able to give the right replies to customers – we have to keep innovating and make a few but significant changes every day. You don’t necessarily see them as they happen but when you look back you see the subtle changes.
What else can we expect to see from the brand in the coming years?
Our brand will experiment and collaborate with the world of fashion, and we hope to engage with fashion designers to create a new interpretation of our products. Simultaneously, we will diversify our offerings in order to provide a new entrance point for the brand. Indeed, we are developing new collections for pet furniture, gaming (such as checkers and backgammon), and even fitness.