Brands O.I., a company established to produce and distribute Borsalino eyewear, confirmed its plans and strategies at the recent Silmo show in Paris, just nine months after its arrival on the market (Eyewear Intelligence Vol. 11:2). France is the first foreign target market for the new eyewear line named after the famous Italian brand of hats, with direct sales via two in-house agents, to cover a very select clientele of top opticians throughout the country. For the moment the company is targeting individual opticians, but may also choose a buying group or optical chain to retail certain models in France. Once the French market is working well, other export markets will be explored, such as Israel, where the company already has a preliminary agreement with a distributor.

If the summer break is excluded, Borsalino has been on the market for around six months, beginning with this year's Mido show. The company expects to close the year with sales of around €2.5 million, a long shot off the €5 million initially budgeted for, though this was admittedly for the full 12-month period. The forecast for 2011 is for sales of around €4.5-5 million and production of 50,000 pairs of eyewear, double the 25,000 pairs that represents the company's breakeven point.

Borsalino eyewear is currently sold in some 400 sales outlets, which should rise to 600 as a result of Silmo. The models produced by Brands are also offered in a number of Borsalino's concept stores worldwide, and the plan is now to hit the world's most prestigious mega-stores such as Harrods in London.

Brands O.I. continues to focus on the Italian market remains the main target for the moment, the aim being to reach a new total of 1,000 clients. These opticians order an average of 30-35 pairs at a time, which the company is hoping to increase to 60 in the near future. There are 10 wholesale distributors handling the line in Italy, including eight that are exclusive to the brand, and a total of 10 agents serving all regions of the country. The distributors are required to deliver within 30 days. A warehouse in the Veneto region centralizes the logistics for all items, produced by two or three Italian manufacturers.

Brands keeps a close eye on its Italian contract manufacturers, and makes all decisions regarding purchases, including materials. It assists manufacturers in purchasing machinery for special models, which they can then use for other customers after working for Borsalino.