Italia Independent was established in 2007 with the aim of making a name in the luxury market. Its first success was a very exclusive limited edition of carbon sunglasses, retailing at €1,000 a pair in a few high-end fashion stores. The following year distribution was extended to optical outlets with acetate sunglasses selling at €300 a pair. This year the company made its first venture into prescription eyewear. It currently has a total of 31 models, sun and prescription combined, all made in Cadore and distributed to around 200 selected opticians, one-third of which are outside Italy. The target for 2009 is to reach 250 outlets on the domestic market.
The company's commercial strategy is structured around three price points: the I-Light line retails for less than €200, followed by an intermediate line retailing at €200 to €350 and a top-end line above €350 featuring patented technologies and special materials such as carbon, titanium and aluminum. An ad campaign has been launched in an attempt to turn the firm's house brand into a fashion item, and additional accessories such as bags and hats are being added to reinforce this strategy, with the creation of a separate apparel division. Italia Independent currently has no plans to venture into the licensing business.
In terms of materials, Italia Independent uses Fiat technology, as its chairman and majority shareholder, Lapo Elkann, is a member of the Agnelli family and a former shareholder of the Fiat group. But the company is totally independent from the Italian automobile giant: Elkann runs Italia Independent with two other partners, Andrea Tessitore, financial manager, and Giovanni Acconcigioco, general manager, previously with Fiat. The company does not wish to disclose any financial data, but it seems to be still very small.