Harmont & Blaine is the company which produces, commercializes and distributes upper premium apparel, marked by the known brand of dachshund. It’s based in Naples, where the entire production is concentrated, and its griffe is nowadays a strongly renowned brand in Italy and abroad, synonymous with high quality and characterized by the research of new colors, shapes and materials.
The entrepreneurial history of the company starts from afar and is rich in intuitions and anecdotes. In 1986 Domenico Menniti founded, together with actual business partners Enzo Menniti, Paolo and Massimo Montefusco, a company which produced leather gloves, relying on Neapolitan tradition.
At the beginning of ’90s the sector lived an heavy and cruel crisis, mainly due to the competition of American producers, in particular on American market. As a consequence, in 1993 the brand Harmont & Blaine was born, aimed at the production of high quality ties, expression of the ancient Neapolitan tradition. The field was difficult and competitive, so in 1994 the first swimwear collection was presented, then accompanied and integrated by shirts, trousers and pullovers characterized by soft colors and by a fresh and dynamic line.
The first goals
In 1995 the first shirt collection debuted in Capri and in 2001 the first Capri boutique was inaugurated. Then, in May 2004, Harmont & Blaine crossed Italian confines and opened its first monobrand store, in Miami.
In 2005 the first junior Harmont & Blaine collection (licensed to Neapolitan A.G.B. Company), dedicated to boys, was launched; then, in June 2009, there was the presentation of the girl line, GirlHarmont & Blaine junior, which debuted in SS 2010, together with the first womenswear collection.
Then, in 2008, the products offering became wider: the group gave the license for the production and distribution of footwear to Giano s.r.l., always keeping its distinctive characters of refinement and quality.
In 2001 a cobranding operation between Honda Automobili Italia S.p.A. and Harmont & Blaine made the Honda CR-V Harmont & Blaine be born. Then, after several years of external production, from AW 2012/2013 the design, production and distribution of womenswear collection were directly managed by the company.
On 30th October 2014 the Italian capital Clessidra SGR entered the capital of Harmont & Blaine S.p.A., acquiring its 40 %. The following year the subsidiary company Harmont & Blaine France Sas. was born, which allowed the brand to officially enter the French market and to inaugurate its first boutique in Paris. In 2020 there was a change at the vertexes of the company: Paolo Montefusco was appointed President and Marco Pirone became CEO.
Why the dachshund?
One of the secrets of the success and positioning of Harmont & Blaine is its logo: a little dachshund. The history of this animal reflects philosophy and values of the company: few know, indeed, that the dachshund is a German dog born for hunting. Its body was more funny than efficient, so it had to sharpen its intelligence and sniff, at the point that he was recognized among the best bloodhounds.
In the same way Harmont & Blaine, born in Naples in the difficult context of ’80s, had to sharpen its intelligence to establish itself in a demanding and competitive market as the Made in Italy fashion one. This logo suddenly crossed Italian confines and received many eulogies, becoming synonymous with casual total look apparel, characterized by high quality and fresh appearance. A team of 15 fashion designers, leaded by brothers Paolo and Massimo Montefusco, design the dachshund collections, characterized by an elegant use of colors and by the use of new and natural fabrics.
Harmont & Blaine Cafè
In 2009 Harmont & Blaine diversified its business: so, in Piazzetta San Marco, in Porto Rotondo, the Harmont & Blaine Cafe was born, the first of many. The project was born by the will to get back the ancient tradition of personal relationships and physical contact, in a mood of warm hospitality, where guests can be comfortable.
The bar, which measures more than 300 mq, opened 20 hours a day, has a modern and innovative design, projected to best live the entire day and to make visitors appreciated the myth of Italian lifestyle.
An Italian excellence
The constant growth allowed the brand to become an example of successful Italian entrepreneurship in the entire world. There were also official awards: in 2005 Harmont & Blaine was named by UniCredit Champion in Italian Excellence, because it represents the Made in Italy exceptionality; in 2006 it received a special citation by Confindustria Award For Excellence, because it was the little company which obtained the best results in a difficult situation. In the same year Eurispes included it among the 30 proponents of Italian excellence, because of its quantitative and qualitative results.
Furthermore, in 2008 the brand received by American company Dun & Bradstreet the D&B Rating 1, which certificates a low credit risk profile for a company: it was an important award, which attests, once more, the excellence of the company. Finally, on November 2008, the CEO Domenico Menniti was awarded with the Ernst & Young Prize, The Entrepreneur of the Year, in the Communication category, because «the abilities of the company to express its distinctive characters by communication campaigns able to efficaciously reach a wide public and successfully position the company in the high band market».
The important prize, the only one given in 2008 to a company in Southern Italy, was the recognition of a communication activity based on advertisement and event planning: a strategy thought to enter in the everyday life of people – of men in particular – and to made the dachshund to be spontaneously identified with the company.
The international success
Already included in monobrand stores in the main Italian cities, among which Naples, Milan, Turin and Palermo, and in the trendiest touristic places, such as Capri, Porto Cervo, Portofino, Sanremo, Riccione and Forte dei Marmi, Harmont & Blaine collections conquered the most important global markets, among which Spain (where its products are available in the luxury shopping mall El Corte Inglés), USA, Mexico and Russia. The company has a distribution network of 99 monobrand stores, 465 multibrand boutiques and 58 corners and shop-in-shop in 30 big department stores of 34 countries in the world.
The development of the commercial network is supported by a communication strategy which only in 2008 costed 2,4 million euros, around 1,8 % of its turnover: the brand went indeed to important poster people, such as Fiorello, Paolo Bonolis, Fabio Cannavaro and Alessandro Gassman.
The partnership with Giglio Group
In 2019 Harmont & Blaine entrusted to Giglio Group company the international management of its e-commerce and the development of a multicanal project in the stores. The aim was to improve the sewing experience and the efficiency in foreign markets, which already represented an important part in a growing online business. Furthermore, the company created a parallel website to manage all the unsold items.
Andrea Pompilio for Harmont & Blaine
During Milano Moda Uomo 2021, Harmont & Blaine presented a menswear capsule collection, realized in collaboration with Andrea Pompilio, who interpreted the codes of the brand in an irreverent way, aiming at modernizing the apparel and to talk to a wider public.
On July 2022 the Clessidra SGR fund sold its 40 % to Bassotto 2.0, an investment fund founded and leaded by Riccardo Bruno. The remaining 60 % was kept by founder partners. The new era with the business partner started in the best way: the company, indeed, at the end of the first trimester of 2023, registered an increase of 30 % in its turnover. So, it can hope to close the 2023 with a turnover of 100 million euros.