He has been called the king of “fast fashion” and he has an Italian clothing empire that generates 400 billion Euros in turnover a year.
Vittorio Tadei, 77, heads a group called T&M Holding, better known as Teddy, which has a chain of clothing stores that stretches from Italy across the Mediterranean and beyond. But you won”t hear his name at the haute couture shows in Milan or on Via Montenapoleone, the exclusive shopping street in the heart of the fashion capital.
Tadei's focus is low-cost and he has chain of stores called Terranova as well as an extensive wholesale network for distributing clothing around the world. Based in the seaside town of Rimini on Italy”s Adriatic Coast, Tadei has spent 50 years building a company that is now challenging low-cost rivals like Sweden's H&M and Spain's successful Zara chain.
Tadei has always dreamed of building a global company but he has a unique personal philosophy to creating jobs and sharing his wealth.
“I built Teddy because it was my life’s ambition to work and that has made me happy, “ Tadei said recently. “And who in life does not want to be happy?” The company is committed to global expansion and job creation but part of its annual net profits is used to help the less fortunate, through social work both in Italy and abroad.
Selling sportswear at affordable prices Terranova has 570 stores in 33 countries and recently opened new stores in Egypt and Libya. T&M’s brands, Rinascimento and Kitana, also have 10,000 clients in more than 90 countries.
The company recently opened two large new stores under the Rinascimento name in Milan and Bologna, as well as a Calliope store with menswear and women”s clothing in La Spezia.
Tadei said he has been driven by a strong social commitment that influences his approach to business today.
“A boss who thinks only about his profits and who makes choices of a speculative nature, closes without worrying about people,” Tadei said. “A managing director who instead realizes who his partners are and who does not treat people like numbers does not close. But he looks to grow the company in the interests of everyone, including the generations of the future."
Tadei himself is investing in the next generation in his own family. His wife Giuseppina Maggioli and his three daughters, Emma Maria Luisa and Cristiana are shareholders in the business and are expected to play a greater role in the future.
“My family will never leave Teddy,” Tadei said. “We have organized the future in a very clear way and all of us want this company to grow for at least 500 years. We have organized everything at a shareholder level - we will always remain a family company because Teddy is not like others.
“Its driving force is not financial or commercial strategies but the passion for those who come to work every day with the desire to build something that will be part of history."
In 2011 the Teddy holding company recorded 7.8 per cent growth posting a net profit of 367 million Euros. At a time when many companies are feeling the impact of the economic crisis, job numbers rose by 15.8 per cent to a total of 726 people.
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