NajOleari Stationary by Pigna

The Italian brand Naj Oleari’s strong point is its playful image; an image that has remained untarnished since it was founded in the 80s, thanks mainly to multi category licensing. And now Naj Oleari is back in the news with some snappy new ideas.

We talk to Federica Ugliengo, head of  Naj Oleari licensing, about their new strategy.

Naj Oleari: past and present?

The brand was born in the 1980s and instantly made its mark on the fashion thanks to the eye-catching design of its all over print logo, which gave it high levels of recognisability and relevance. In 2006 we re-launched the brand, opting exclusively for licensing and managing everything in-house.

Initially we analysed the brand’s history to pick out exactly what the public associated with Naj Oleari and what made them love it. The upshot was our current strategy of using interlocking product categories to create an easily-recognisable fresh young total look with a strongly-characterised market appeal.

Our target are girls in the 19/25 bracket and 20-45 year-old women. The Naj Oleari woman is romantic and has an instinctive, playful feel for fashion. She likes to create her own style, mixing designer products with basics and she personalises her home environment with extra touches and design elements that mirror her tastes and personality.

How does Naj Oleari relate to fashion?

The Naj Oleari designer department generally takes its tone from the main fashion trade fairs and elaborate graphics on a seasonal basis that echo the romantic spirit of the eighties, but have a very contemporary feel.

But we don’t just rely on Italy for input, we also keep a close eye on the rest of Europe and in particular France, Holland and Belgium, all countries close to the Naj Oleari style. The Maison & Object trade fair was particularly inspirational for apparel and accessories, while the showcase we keep the closest eye on is the Bread & Butter.

And your ideal partner?

We measure ideal partners by three characteristics: the capacity to create the collections, in-house or outsourced manufacturing capacity and the competence and distribution capacity to commercialise the products efficiently through appropriate channels. Over the last few years we’ve worked with high-profile Italian partners like Fix Design for apparel, Di Liddo and Perego for home ware, Seven and now Pigna for stationery.


Naj Oleari today and Naj Oleari tomorrow: priorities?

We strongly believe in research and innovation, especially nowadays, so we’re looking for novel products and partners that might well not be from the traditional fashion world. One example is our agreement with P-One, part of our commitment to eco-sustainable design: the products are chairs, desks, tables and bookcases all made out of recycled cardboard and all 100% made in Italy.

Interior design is another field we’re very keen on, whether we’re talking about textiles, furniture or accessories. We have some important partnerships in the pipeline and aim to make “Naj Oleari” an increasingly high profile interior design brand.

We’re working on a different project in accessories, where we’re going for vintage and an updated version of the school bag generations of girls longed for in the 80s. Collections of fashion jewelry, hair accessories and footwear will follow in its wake. We are convinced school is a strategic sector for our brand because it’s the key to the young and their world.

As far as fashion is concerned we’re waiting for the right moment to come out with a look that is in line with the brand’s philosophy. There’s no hurry. And while we wait, we’re hoping to find the right partner to break into the baby and child market with apparel, accessories and textiles.


Italy vs abroad: which markets are you aiming for?

For now the brand is best known in Italy, although there’s some awareness of it, dating back to the 80s,  in French-speaking countries. And we don’t think we’re far wrong when we say that the style of the brand appeals strongly to Europe in general, especially northern Europe, and Japan and China. So we definitely have the potential to go international.