You dress up in your favorite threads to express yourself. So why can’t you do the same for your kitchen appliances?
More than a year after Clemente Bugatti personally launched his company’s line of premium Italian-made tableware, home accessories and small kitchen appliances exclusively at Rustan’s, the Italian from the town of Lumezzane was recently back in Manila to introduce Casa Bugatti’s “Individual” line of crystal-encrusted Diva espresso machines.
Bugatti, managing director of the family-owned Casa Bugatti, also shared with journalists the warm reception given by Filipino consumers to the brand’s line of tableware.
Despite having diversified over the decades in home accessories—like wall clocks and small kitchen appliances such as espresso machines, toasters and blenders—tab leware still holds a special place of honor in the company, both for practical and sentimental reasons.
Apart from having a ready market, tableware was the first product line developed and sold by Bugatti’s great grandfather Bortolo Bugatti, the company’s founder, in 1923.
The Bugattis are related to members of the French family who made a name for themselves in the automotive business. This same French family later sold the Bugatti brand name to the Audi group.
But while Clemente Bugatti’s ancestors stayed in northern Italy, between the cities of Milan and Venice, that branch of the family moved to Milan and later to France sometime in the 17th century.
“Normally, it takes between two to three years before people completely warm up to a newly introduced brand,” said Bugatti, one of 17 family members actively involved in running the company. “In the case of the Philippines, it was quite fast. Sales of tableware began to pick up less than a year after we launched the brand in October 2012.”
On top of Rustan’s all-out support for the brand, Bugatti believes that his company’s products appeal to Filipinos because of their natural affinity to things from the Mediterranean.
“There is this certain connection between the Philippines and the Mediterranean,” he said. “I would attribute it to your Spanish heritage and the fact that, like Italians, Filipinos love to stick together, eat together and enjoy the company of their families.”
That’s why he feels that the market is now ready for more high-end items, including made-to-order espresso machines either encrusted with Swarovski crystals or wrapped in such everyday materials as denim and Italian leather.
Casa Bugatti’s Diva espresso maker displayed at Rustan’s Makati, for instance, is embellished with 14,000 pieces of Swarovski crystals in black and silver. Normally, the iconic product comes in such colors as red, black, white and chrome finish.
Demand for the special-edition Diva isn’t limited to the Middle East, where opulent-looking products have a ready market. When Bugatti started introducing the dressed-up option sometime last year in Asia, he was immediately swamped with orders from customers in China and Hong Kong.
“We introduced Individual two years ago,” he said. “The shape is classic and part of the Bugatti line. What makes them ‘individual’ are the embellishments.”
Interested customers can order through Rustan’s Makati, Shangri-La or Alabang, from patterns down to materials; in four weeks they will receive the product.
If bling isn’t your thing, Casa Bugatti also offers Diva units wrapped in more modern and subdued materials like water-resistant denim and leather. Except for the denim, the specially treated leather is washable.
“Just don’t use the dish washer to wash it,” said Bugatti. “Washing it under the tap is fine.”
For a more personalized take, customers can even send their family pictures or newspaper stories featuring them to Italy. Bugatti and his team have perfected a way of incorporating these materials with leather.
Everything is done by hand. The final cost would depend on the type and amount of embellishments used.
“Our products by themselves are already beautiful,” said Bugatti. “The functions haven’t changed. What we wanted was to have a little fun with them by tweaking the look. After all, humans dress differently. Why not give them the option to be more individual through the things they use?”