MAY 1991. Flying back from Venice, Paul Van de Velde thought back about the strange meeting he and Enrico Boldoni had earlier that day with a potential Italian investor. Enrico, an elegant forty something Italian, was the franchising manager for a major department store chain in Italy. He strongly believed in the Kipling brand, and after opening the first Italian Kipling shop in a mall near Rome, decided to switch into a higher gear – opening the next 25 stores! Enrico had found an investor willing to stake a great deal of money in the development of Kipling’s franchise concept in Italy. After a short presentation of the Kipling concept, the man confirmed his interest in investing in Kipling with a minor Italian twist; instead of becoming a Kipling franchisee, he wanted to take over the whole company and become the franchisor! He offered to pay €3.75 million for the company. Paul took a deep breath. Was this really what he was after when he entered the Italian market? Would he have to deal with this kind of issue when internationalizing Kipling? Did they really want to depend on this type of character for the future growth of the company? Was franchising the way to go?
• Building a brand
• Globalizing a startup company
• Professionalizing a creative startup
• Modes of internationalization
• Financing growth
• Managing growth
• Start-up teams
1986 to 1991
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