FEBRUARY 2008. Lando Simonetti was enjoying the relative cool of his Cucha Cucha office in the suburbs of Buenos Aires, Argentina. It may have been cool, but definitely not quiet. His desire to always be in the middle of the action at the company also meant he had to live through the noise of the factory. This ability to stay in close contact with people and realities on the ground had been instrumental in building La Martina from a modest polo equipment provider to the premier polo brand in the world, with global sales in excess of US$200 million.
La Martina was not about polo: it was polo. As an Argentinean of Italian origin, Lando could not have felt prouder to have conquered Europe. At 65, he had reached the pinnacle of the sport he loved so much. A few nagging questions lingered. The brand was being pushed more and more into fashion, a move he had strongly resisted so far. How would this affect its sustainability? La Martina had never been about fashion; it produced and sold functional polo equipment. Polo had become fashionable, and so had its products.
Should he fight the trend or capitalize on it? What would that mean for the company? Fashion also meant growth. So far, he had stubbornly pursued only self-financed growth. Perhaps it was time to consider raising more capital.
- Building a brand
- Managing growth