Inferno Ragazzi - a lateral business idea
Early 2018 saw Inferno Ragazzi launch on the stationary market and open its first store in Hamburg’s Schanzenviertel sporting cheerful surf fashion. The neon pink façade and the motto:“Give customers and community a good time, be open and get the best out of every day,” was soon attracting a flow of customers. While most fashion labels convey a certain attitude to life through their products, the Inferno Ragazzi team around managing directors Flemming Pinck (creative head) and “Joe” Schurer (all-rounder), Nil Von Appen (events), Julian Holzer (sales) and numbers expert Marco Hackstein, is taking this approach a step further.
Brand-binding marketing tools
The young fashion label became a hot topic in May when it organized the “Inferno Ragazzi Awards” parallel to the “About You Awards” – the annual industry event by the giant Otto Group. “At our event, for instance, we chose the ‘Inferno Influencer of the Year’ and presented the ‘Young Gun Award and the Legend Award’,” said Pinck, 30. The latter went to About You founder Tarek Müller. “We presented him with the award on his own red carpet and he loved it.” The live transmission on Facebook scored 80,000 views. “Given our possibilities, that is really good and has also been reflected in the sales figures,” he added. Events form both an independent business pillar and a significant source of income. Yet, the events also have a brand-binding effect. “The images that are created in this way communicate our attitude to life via Instagram and Facebook.”
Storytelling and proximity to the community
Pinck has been won over by combining storytelling and personal customer relations via social media channels with events. All these efforts make Inferno Ragazzi stand out as a slightly different fashion label. “We had a special start and we want to continue this story with our fashion.” Things began in 2008 when Pinck and his two best friends went on a surf trip across California and Mexico after graduating from high school. To counter the much stronger U.S. boys in the scene as German “linnets” just out of school, they had “Hellboys” tattooed on their backs for a lark. “They were henna tattoos and it worked. After a short time, everyone knew us and at the parties we were welcomed by the DJ with ‘Hey, the German Hellboys’.” This valuable attention later prompted them to set up their company.
German Hellboys become Inferno Ragazzi
As a souvenir and Christmas present for his mates, Pinck had all the jackets decorated with his bright-pink logo. As one of his friends is part Italian, Hellboys became the Italian variant Inferno Ragazzi. Constant queries about the jackets prompted Pinck, who was studying product and industrial design in the meantime, to create his first collection. “We have retained the youthful spirit of our former journey in the brand and are always a step ahead in everything we do rather than adhering to all the rules,” he explained.
Real value of a coconut
Inferno Ragazzi is about far more than making headlines through wild parties, and instead focuses on its business model. “We are very keen on detail and so there are always small surprises in our collections that you don’t see at first glance, but which are then talked about on the net. A coconut put online and labelled “sold out” proved a hot item, Pink recounts. “We are still being asked when we will offer the coconut again. People remember the brand and talk about it thanks to little ideas like that.”
The strategy is proving successful and Inferno Ragazzi now has 25,000 Facebook and Instagram followers, but “without purchase,” Flemming stressed. “We do this because we have established a relationship with our customers/followers and people follow us because they want to know what we are going to do next. And they are just as curious because they try to try do something new with every step. In fact, one determines the other. The right image can help expand the product range to include pieces that are considered profoundly bourgeois – such as a belt bag, which has become the new must-have piece boasting a fresh, bright Inferno Ragazzi design. New products are created through collaborations with partners in the fashion, music and beverage industries, noted Pinck. “We benefit from the usually significantly greater reach of our partners and create higher brand awareness for Inferno Ragazzi as well.”
Branch in California
Inferno Ragazzi also plans to expand geographically and beyond Germany’s borders. Pinck remarked: “It was a challenge to bring a splash of colour into the German black-white-grey and we gladly accepted this task.” During a recent photo shoot in California, the team noted people’s more euphoric reactions to Inferno Ragazzi’s collection. While Pinck is still wondering where this journey will lead, he also believes: “We certainly have to go there in the future.”