Inspirational Owners: May 2008
Gessato is a brand of men’s grooming products founded by Cristina Lanza and Davide Carbone. Though developed in the United States, Gessato is a brand with a distinct Italian sensibility. Davide speaks to Lovemarks.com about what men want, the importance of loyalty, and how Gessato practices love and respect.
Lovemarks: What do you think men are looking for in grooming products?
Davide Carbone: We think men are looking for performance and style. We’d say that they are looking for the same features they demand in the car they love and buy. Great engine, safety and an attractive and luxurious body. Grooming products are another way for men to satisfy their needs by expressing their personality, and above all, their uniqueness and individuality.
LM: Why do you think consumers love your products?
DC: Gessato maintains a promise. Sticking with the car metaphor, our engine, the products itself, is powerful, effective and safe. At the same time, our products look handsome and make men look handsome. Also, the unique combination of natural ingredients in high technology formulations guarantees measurable results, thus representing an actual investment in terms of health.
LM: Lovemarks is premised on the Love/Respect Axis and attaining both High Love and High Respect. How do you relate this idea to the way your business works from day to day?
DC: At Gessato everything is about love and respect. Primarily, love and respect for our customers. Mass production and mass distribution don’t belong to our philosophy. This means that the quality of our research, raw materials and production processes are strictly under our control. At Gessato, every batch is run after our personal and researcher’s authorization. Respect also comes from the fact that we know our customers and we work specifically to satisfy their needs. We know that they are getting savvier about ingredients and formulations, and we strive to make them happy and never disappoint them. We also respect feedback when given.
LM: An idea associated with Lovemarks is the idea of Loyalty Beyond Reason – in thinking about your business how, in broad terms, do you define Loyalty?
DC: Loyalty comes from two different directions - from us toward our business and our customers; and from our customers, as a sign of appreciation for the effort we make to ensure high quality at quite affordable price. Customers won’t be loyal to you, if you are not 100% committed to be loyal to them.
LM: Lovemarks recognizes that the senses are portals to our emotions. Can you identify how one of the five senses – or a combination or interplay of more than one – connects most strongly with your product or service?
DC: We’d say that Gessato mostly connects to the “conservation instinct”. I’d think about Gessato as one of the many “long life elixirs” that help men stay healthier by stimulating their senses. Sight, scent and touch are all involved in the Gessato experience. Besides seeing beautiful packaging, men see the results. And they can touch the products and smell them (as long as they have a good “nose”, since the only scent they’ll smell is a clean scent of fragrance-free formulations).
LM: When the essentials of Lovemarks were being formed, Mystery was always at the top of the list. Do you have any examples of how Gessato uses Mystery?
DC: Gessato, as many other goods related to well being, relates to the mystery of life. People want to live longer and better. Therefore, they want to be surrounded by things that can help them reach their goal. To live a better life, no matter the mystery of the meaning of it.
LM: Can you recall any encounters you’ve had where a customer gave you a new insight to the rationale of both your business and your marketing?
DC: I was walking on Madison Avenue, in New York City, and I ran across a woman carrying one of our shopping bags. She was talking with a friend of hers about our products. She said she had bought our line for her husband, because he had asked her to. She wasn’t carrying our products in our bags though, but her personal stuff. She was saying that she loved that bag so much that she decided to use it for herself. That confirmed that Gessato, besides being a line of skin care products for men, is a concept that appeals to men and women who share the same taste and sensibility to a certain style.
LM: Name 5 of your Lovemarks