A force of nature with a sunny disposition: Laura Burdese, CEO of the traditional brand Acqua di Parma impresses with her unerring business sense and instinct. L’Officiel Austria talked to her about the latest highlight of the brand: a Christmas edition with the Italian artist Gio Pastori.
Is it true, that you approached Gio Pastori via Instagram?
Yes, we followed his account and fell in love with his work. We wanted to work with an Italian artist and that's how we came across him. He was already on the Forbes list for the top 30 artists under 30 and has been on our radar for quite some time. When things got more concrete, my team said, "We'll just send him a message via Instagram and see what will happen”. That’s how it works with young artists these days.
...Especially since he doesn't (yet) have an agent!
That's right, we discussed everything directly with him - it was so easy and smooth due to the direct communication. Although we are an international brand, we are still small compared to other giant cosmetic companies, which is why personal cooperation was all the more important to us. Of course we are getting bigger and bigger, but nevertheless we always like to work together with other small companies or young artists. That also makes it much more authentic.
In a cooperation like this: How do you decide on the respective artist?
First of all, we follow their artistic development and observe it over a longer period of time - to determine whether they also fit in with our aesthetics and style. Then we get to know them personally - after all, we work with people and it is very important that we connect on a personal level. Can the person identify with the brand? Can they also interpret the values of the brand well? It has happened to us in the past that an artist might have been a good fit in terms of aesthetics, but they had different values.
Do you end up listening to your gut feeling, or is it a rational decision?
It's always about cooperation - these collaborations are also an exception and not the core business of the brand – so when it comes to such cooperations, which we really rarely do, then we want to be able to really connect with the person. That's why the personal connection has to be right. I'm convinced that the customers will feel that too!
Especially in comparison with the previous artists - how was working with Pastori?
Fantastic! He has already worked with several brands and is just about to rise even higher, yet he has no agent and has taken care of everything personally. You could feel that he cares a lot about cooperation!
Were there any guidelines from your side?
No, not at all! As a first step, we wanted him to have a complete creative freedom – and he started of with some very interesting and colorful designs, which were perhaps a bit too much for us. But then we quickly found a common ground and it really was just about fine-tuning.
Doesn't the packaging distract from the product?
No, I don't think so at all - our iconic packaging is also part of the brand identity and simply belongs to us. Our surveys show that people don't throw away the packaging either, but mostly store and reuse it – quite an honour too!
Is it an obligation for brands to fund artists because the state no longer does it sufficiently?
Not an obligation, but it is great that some brands take on this role and fund art. This is also very close to our hearts and has been part of our brand for many, many years. So for us it is by no means a fad - on the contrary.
The limited Christmas edition for Acqua di Parma, designed by Gio Pastori, is already available at selected retailers and in the brand's online shop.