The Giusti sisters, the owners of made-in-Italy label AGL, had some important revelations during the pandemic.
“We changed our approach to life a little bit. We learned to appreciate everything we have,” said Vera Giusti, co-owner and designer, during a recent interview in Milan.
Part of a refreshed strategy involves a new focus on AGL’s home Italian market, where the brand sees opportunity as the country continues to recover from the pandemic. AGL has brought on several new team members in its commercial department to support the growth.
During Milan Fashion Week, the brand inaugurated its expanded showroom, designed by well-known Belgian architect Glenn Sestig, on Via Della Spiga.
While Italy is a new focus, the company has been building its presence in the U.S. market for many years. AGL said that it will close the second half of the year doubling the sales of 2020 (and on par with 2019) — fueled by strong results department stores such as Nordstrom and independents like Stanley Korshak, Mitchell Stores and Boyd’s. AGL’s year-over-year e-commerce sales in the market have more than doubled.
AGL has also continued to bolster its relationship with Goop, and collaborated with influencers such as Olivia Palermo to generate buzz . (The sisters worked with Palermo to present the fall ’21 collection through a wide-ranging virtual conversation in February.)
The brand is also gaining momentum on the other side the world in Asia — where strict travel restrictions are still in place and consumers are shopping at home. After opening an AGL shop-in-shop at SKP Beijing last year, the brand will debut a new e-commerce store in China in March 2022.
“Every Asian market has its own peculiarities, and we think that the only approach there is to be very focused and country-specific, still preserving the AGL message and DNA,” said co-owner and designer Sara Giusti.
While growth in key markets is at the top of the agenda, AGL is also making sustainability a core focus of its long-term plan.
During the pandemic, the company completed the intensive European Union ISO 14001 certification. ISO 14001 sets out the criteria for an environmental management system and maps out a framework that a company or organization can follow.
“We wanted to do something important, not just talk about it,” Vera said, noting that AGL’s focus on eco-responsibility extends back to 2006, when the company began to use clean energy under the direction of their father. The certification, she said, was a huge investment, and involved “every step” of the production process. (AGL also recently debuted its first vegan shoe.)
Overall, AGL produces 1,500 shoes per day at its Italian factory, with production ongoing throughout the entire year. Their father, Attilio Giusti, still visits every day.
“The factory is his life. It’s impossible for him not to be there every day,” Vera said. And now the next generation, the sisters’ children, are frequent visitors too.