Summer Trip: Elon University MBA and Law in the Czech Republic and Italy: June 14, 2012

On Monday, we made our first company tour at Yamamay, 28 miles outside of Milan. We were given an introduction of the company by Mr. Roberto Manzi, training director. We were then given a presentation by the director of European and international operations and director of marketing. The company predominantly sells women’s lingerie and swimwear, similar to a small-scale Victoria’s Secret.

An initial challenge we identified is with the name Yamamay. It is a Japanese word referring to a type of silkworm that eventually transforms into a butterfly. The company’s founder chose it for it’s metaphorical value, however, the name must be explained and the company’s added value for being Italian is not easily recognized. This causes problems since Yamamay is focusing on branding it’s image as Italian, sexy, glamorous, and colorful.

The company operates mostly through franchising, and it’s strategic plan is to increase it’s presence abroad. Products are priced affordably so the company relies on volume to earn profits. Products are manufactured in China but designed in Italy. Marketing is done in-house to save money.

Yamamay stores are mainly in Mediterranean areas because of similarities in taste and body proportions. Yamamay has no current plans to modify styles based on region but will instead produce larger or smaller sizes to adjust for differences.

After the presentations, we were shown several rooms where designers were developing patterns and choosing materials for swimwear and lingerie. We noted that all the designers were female. There were several interns working who had won a contest in Brazil.

Later that day, a group of us visited a Yamamay store to check it out. The sizes were much smaller than American clothing.

After our visit at Yamamay, Das asked us to explore for the afternoon and do something interesting. A few of us went to Castello Sforzesco, an enormous castle in the city of Milan. It was surrounded by a park with many people walking about.  Within the castle border it was interesting to see a multitude of wild cats roaming around.  They were climbing the walls and grazing about the grass. There were also several lizards scurrying around.  It was like a little zoo at the castle.

Another group of people climbed to the top of the Duomo. They said it was a lengthy climb of around 30 flights of stairs to the roof of the cathedral, but the views were worth it.

That night we had a group that went to see “Luisa Miller” at the La Scala Opera House. We had seats on the side of stage. Unfortunately we could not see the stage from our seats but just listening and using the translation screen we had at our seats gave us a sense of the story.  The acoustics in La Scala were amazing.

Tuesday after we visited DiaSorin we drove through the twists and turns of Italy’s countryside to Cave Di Moleto. It was a small village where two families live consisting of 16 people. They gave us a tour of the village and the “hotel” for the weekend visitors. We had a tasting of the wines produced in the village.  These were most excellent. The village guide told us the difficulties of exporting their wine to the US.  This is mostly due to regulation and the winery’s small size.  The sights from the village were fantastic with 180 degree views of the villages below in the valleys.  Next we were off to Torino.

Cheers,
Lauren DeVane and Wendy Gold

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