Leather retailer Tod’s opens in Australia: Three things you didn’t know about the brand

Luxury leather goods retailer Tod’s has opened its first stand-alone Australian store in Sydney, as it also considers opening a second store in Melbourne.

Its first Aussie store is located in the luxury precinct of Westfield Sydney. While it is the first flagship store in Australia for the brand, it has previously been stocked by department stores.

Retail Doctor Group chief executive Brian Walker told SmartCompany Tod’s will be a good fit for Australia’s luxury/premium retail market.

“Tod’s will be popular with the high income earners and the Asiatic market,” he says.

“Interestingly 20% of Sydney and Melbourne property purchases in the past 12 months have been by Asiatic people.”

According to InsideRetailthe interior of the boutique features a combination of ivory, black and grey tones and exclusive furniture items including leather sofas and steel and marble tables.

Walker says he can imagine the brand with 15 stores in Australia, but not 100.

“Brands like this are suitable for consumers with high disposable income and are good fits for retail hubs like the new Emporium in Melbourne,” he says.

He says there is strong demand for premium leather wear and the high growth in the category will continue to be driven by Asian buyers.

Walker says the brand places an importance on quality, authenticity and workmanship.

The brand was founded by the Della Valle family in the 1920s in Italy.

In the 1980s the company introduced innovative marketing strategies which drove the growth of the brand. It now has flagship stores across the world in countries such as Hong Kong, Europe, the United States, China and Japan.

Here are three things you didn’t know about the brand:

1. Humble beginnings

Filippo Della Vale launched a small cobbling business in le Marche, Italy, where he made shoes from high quality materials – an ideal which has become intrinsic to the brand ever since.

But it wasn’t until his son Dorino and grandson Diego became involved with the small business in the 1940s that the brand was internationalised, supplying stores like Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue with the fine leather goods.

Diego Della Vale realised on a trip to America when he was just 16 the potential of the business.

In an interview with The Rake, Diego says he saw a pair of poor quality moccasins in a shop window in New York – the first trigger for what was to become the brand’s famous Stratocaster shoes.

2. Origins of the name

In the same interview Diego revealed he knew early on the importance of having a simple business name.

“If you look at very big companies, the name is always user-friendly: ‘Apple’, ‘Hermès’, ‘Chanel’ — charming names! I also wanted a name that is pronounced like it reads,” he said.

3. A life of luxury

The business may have come from humble beginnings, but Tod’s immense success has landed Diego on the Forbes billionaires list.

Diego and his brother Andrea share a 56% stake in the Tod’s, which in 2012 tuned over $US1.3 billion.

The brain behind the business, Diego’s wealth is estimated at $1.9 billion.

Diego is said to own five custom-made Ferraris, a private jet, a helicopter and a yacht once owned by John F. Kennedy.

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