return to homepage

This Italian Fashion Giant also Lead One of the 20th Century’s Most Exciting and Daring Personal Lives

January 19th, 2013

by: Geoff Ficke

Emilio Pucci, the Marquis of Barsento, was born in 1914 to an ancient family of Florentine nobles. He would live and work for most of his life in the Pucci Palace in Florence. A keen athlete and sportsman he was a member of the Italian Winter Olympic team at the 1932 Lake Placid, New York games.

As a young man he studied at the Universities of Milan and Georgia in the United States. He won a skiing scholarship to Reed College in Oregon and then furthered his education at the University of Florence, earning a doctorate in Political Science in 1937. It was during his student years that he became involved in Fascist politics.

During World War II Pucci enlisted in the Italian Air Force and became a bomber pilot. He rose through the ranks and was decorated numerous times for valor. He had become a close confidant of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini’s daughter Edda. As the war turned against the Fascists, Edda’s husband Count Galeazzo Ciano, the Italian Foreign Minister had attempted to intervene with the Allies to remove Mussolini from power in 1943. Ciano was imprisoned and tried by the Fascists.

Pucci attempted to smuggle Edda Mussolini across the border to sanctuary in neutral Switzerland. While he was successful in saving Edda, he was captured by the Nazi’s as he tried to use Count Ciano’s secret papers to barter for Ciano’s life with Nazi SD General Wilhelm Harster. The attempt failed and the Nazi’s tortured Pucci in an attempt to discover where Ciano’s secret document trove was hidden. Pucci did not break under the abuse.

The Nazi’s decided to try a different tact. They sent Emilio Pucci back into Switzerland to advise Edda Mussolini that she would be killed if she released Count Ciano’s papers to the press. Pucci sat out the last months of the war in Switzerland and returned to Italy after surrender.

In 1947, skiwear Pucci had designed for a lady friend that she was wearing on the slopes in Zermatt was photographed randomly by Harper’s Bazaar. The magazine was so impressed by the fit, color and design that the editor approached Pucci about shooting a full collection that he would have to create. This was the beginning of his iconoclastic fashion career and fame as a couture pioneer.

Pucci’s sleek designs caused a sensation. He was experimenting with early stretch materials which increased skiing performance times but also flattered athletic body types. He followed this with a line of swimwear that became the rage at chic resort wear shops. All of Pucci’s designs featured bold colors co-mingled in crisp geometric patterns. He quickly designed a line of silk scarves which complemented designer suits and dresses.

Stanley Marcus, President of Dallas, Texas based Neiman Marcus approached Pucci and suggested that he design a line of silk blouses and dresses. Throughout the 1950’s his fame grew, international fashion awards were garnered and sales exploded. Marilyn Monroe became a fan and was often photographed in his form flattering dresses (She was buried in a Pucci dress). Fashion icons from Sophia Loren to Gina Lollabrigida to Jackie Kennedy all wore Pucci. Contemporary pop-icons such as Madonna wear Pucci designs today.

In the 1960’s Braniff Airlines decided that they needed to elevate their image and separate their brand from the many bland corporate looks favored by the many  competitors of that time. In one of the first campaigns of total branding by an airline Braniff re-designed every element of their service from the outer skin of their plane fuselages, to their terminals, lounges and staff uniforms. Pucci created the first of his seven stewardess uniform designs that took the industry by storm for their unique color, variety and fashion flourishes. The Pucci-designed Bubble Helmet, designed to protect the stewardess hair in inclement weather, became a sensation. Famously, even the Barbie Doll collection licensed Pucci’s Braniff uniforms for the Stewardess Barbie.

Always an active participant in politics, Pucci served in the Italian Parliament as a delegate representing the Florence-Pistoia region. He was elected in 1964 and served until 1972.

The distinctive Pucci geometric colored-motif logo was licensed for use in many luxury goods categories. I was very fortunate to be the American distributor for Pucci Fragrances in the early-1980’s and on several occasions enjoyed the opportunity to meet the gentile, elegant Senor Pucci. He was always a supremely dignified presence as his annual collections were unveiled at Villa d’Este on Lake Como.

In 1992 Emilio Pucci passed away. His name, brand and unique geometric color palette lives on after being purchased by luxury goods giant LVMH. Today Pucci couture can be found in Pucci and Rossignol boutiques as well as at many fine international department stores and resort shops. His was a life of adventure,

Advertisings First “Whisper Campaign” Created the Modern Antiperspirant Deodorant Industry

January 18th, 2013

by: Geoff Ficke

Until the early 20th century body odor was addressed in basically one of two ways. The uneducated and impoverished simply did not address their hygiene. The upper-classes bathed on average once each week and most undertook a “toilet” once or twice each day. This consisted of standing at a wash basin filled with hot water and administering a simple sponge bath with a soaped sponge and then a full body rinsing wipe down.

The first modern deodorant product was Mum, introduced in the 1880’s. This product was packaged in jars and applied to the armpit and elsewhere on the body by rubbing onto the skin with one’s fingers. Many people considered the application of the cream in such a manner to be unpleasant and the product possessed and unusual unpleasant odor.

The far larger quandary facing the marketers of products designed to mask and correct unpleasant body odors was that almost all women of the day were simply unaware that they projected offensive odors. They just did not consider their hygiene to be offensive to others, and importantly, their paramours. Body odors were considered natural, even if rancid smelling.

Early in the 20th century a young woman in Cincinnati, a surgeon’s daughter named Edna Murphey tried to sell an antiperspirant product that her father had developed to keep his hands dry while performing surgery. She labeled the deodorant Odorono. Though determined, Ms. Murphey was not very competent or successful at marketing.

The team of door to door sales women Ms. Murphey assembled did not move Odorono at sales levels she had planned. Pharmacists refused to carry the item as they were not receiving calls for such a product to address sweat or perspiration. In desperation, she took a booth at the 1912 Atlantic City Exposition to demonstrate the features and benefits of Odorono. Initially sales were tepid. Fortunately for Ms. Murphey, the expo lasted all summer and 1912 was a particularly hot year. By the end of the fair she had sold over $30,000 worth of Odorono and seemed to be on her way to success.

Sales did grow for several years then hit a wall. Odorono needed professional help and so Ms. Murphey hired the J. Walter Thompson Advertising Agency to handle her account. JWT opened an office in Cincinnati and assigned a young copywriter named James Young to manage the office and the Odorono account.

Mr. Young immediately confronted the problem that Ms. Murphey had not able to overcome: the commonly held belief of the time that blocking perspiration was unhealthy. Mr. Young’s first ad copy highlighted the scientific provenance of Odorono and positioned the problem of “excessive perspiration” as a medical malady in need of correction.

Sales again accelerated but in a few years began to stutter again. James Young knew that he had to do something radical to save the Odorono account and his fledgling advertising career. He decided to present the problem of body odor and perspiration as a social faux pas. His first ad, which appeared in Ladies Home Journal in a 1919-edition was titled “Within the Curve of a Woman’s Arm”. It was a masterstroke.

The image in the ad was of a woman in a romantic situation with a man. The copy directly and pointedly stated that if the lady wanted to keep her man she had better not smell or stink. In fact, a smelly gal might not even realize she is offensive and this could lead to males avoiding her. The ad caused shock waves and Ladies Home Journal even lost subscribers because of the content.

However, the controversy brought attention to Odorono and the newly addressed problem of feminine body odor. In 1920 sales of the product soared to $417,000.By 1927 Company sales had hit the $1 million mark and in 1929 Edna Murphey sold her business to Northam Warren the makers of Cutex Nail Polish Remover.

This is widely considered the first commercial use of a “whisper campaign” in advertising used to scare female consumers into buying a product to combat sweat and natural body perspiration. Competitors began to mimic the model created by James Young and the technique became a common strategy utilized in the advertising and consumer product marketing industry.

James Young went on to enjoy a career as one of the most famous and successful advertising copywriters of the 20th century. He rose to become Chairman of the J. Walter Thompson Advertising Agency, helping it to grow into the largest in the world. His “whisper campaign” was instrumental in launching Odorono and thus laying the first brick in the creation of what is today an $18 billion industry: deodorant antiperspirant products. His creation of the “whisper campaign” is still studied in University marketing courses to this day.

The Art of Candle Making Reaches its Apex In Paris at This Cathedral of Artesian Scents

January 10th, 2013

by: Geoff Ficke

For many years I was intimately involved in the Perfume business as an international distributor, developer and producer of finished Branded fragrance items and raw materials. One of the necessities essential to achieving success in the essential oil industry is to spend considerable amounts of time in Provence, France. This hardly qualifies as hard duty.

In addition to tending to my firms requirements to source packaging and novel perfume formulary I enjoyed wonderful networking opportunities. From producers of rare specialty plants to famous “noses” I met some of the most creative talents in the luxury cosmetic world. They were always suggesting new stores and ateliers for me to visit to discover fresh, unusual, and often ancient, techniques and recipes for concocting some of the most wonderful aural experiences the world has to offer.

One of these visits led me to discover a nearly four century old purveyor of candles. These are not candles as you might envision. Tapers, votives, or glass encased, over-scented illuminations. The candles crafted by Cire Trudon are works of art.

Founded in 1643, Cire Trudon established quickly itself as the “apothecaire” to the Court of Versailles. Claude Trudon, originally a Parisian grocer, developed a wax production method utilizing the highest quality beeswax and then washing this material thru gypsum. Mr. Trudon imported the finest cotton wicks and this lead to a final candle that was the whitest, cleanest burning in Europe.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, before electrification of homes, candles were the preferred light source for use in illuminating space. Royalty and the upper class used copious volumes of candles to bring light to their palaces and lodges. A by-product of this type of lighting source is smoke and discoloration of furniture, frescoes and tapestry.
The Cire Trudon candles minimized these deficiencies and became the preferred purveyor of spatial light initially to the French, then quickly to royalty across Europe.

Napoleon Bonaparte was a great fan of Cire Trudon candles and gave them exclusively as gifts. When his son was born he received but a single present from his Emperor father: a Cire Trudon candle embellished with three solid pieces of gold sculpted as his head.

Cire Trudon avoided the calamity that befell so many candle manufacturers when electrification and the light bulb were introduced. The Company had long before become a cult favorite of the rich and famous owing mainly to its collaboration with the fragrance houses based in Grasse, Provence. The firm’ products tell stories through the wonderful, poetically conceptual scents that have been crafted over the ages by these perfumers.

The Cire Trudon range consists of 22 classic scents. Each tells a story. One of the most famous is “Solis Rex” (Sun King). The floor boards of the Palace of Versailles smell of fir bark and cedar wood. That this amazing aura is captured so magically in these candles is testament to the craft and creative genius of the perfumers of Grasse and the candle makers of Cire Trudon.

Cire Trudon also provides modern consumers proper guidance in the lost art of properly burning the ancient, simple candle. The first burn of a new candle should last about two hours in order to properly release fragrance. When extinguishing a candle use a metal wick dipper to gently push the wick into the wax. This will eliminate smoking which interferes with the scent. Two hours is the ideal time to burn a candle, not all day.

When in Paris a visit to the Cire Trudon store is to step back into time, a time when artisan craftsmanship was paramount. Cire Trudon candles are sold in fine stores around the world. However, they always seem more illuminating when experienced in their original home venue.

MyBackPackTags™ Announces Engagement of Invurgency to Manage Production Logistics

October 22nd, 2012

Duquesa Marketing

www.duquesamarketing.com

Press Release

For Immediate Release

Contact: Geoff Ficke

859-567-1609

gficke@msn.com

MyBackPackTags™ Announces Engagement of Invurgency to Manage Production Logistics

Engineering Firm to Co-ordinate Manufacture and Design of Award Winning Student Communication System for Spring-2013 Launch

Cincinnati, OH  Kristi Vredeveld and Camille Gartner, Co-Creators and Founders of MyBackPackTags, LLC announced today that their juvenile product design firm is contracting Invurgency, LLC to manage the development and manufacturing supply chain for the Spring-2013 launch of their newest line.

“We wanted to engage a firm with direct toy and juvenile product experience and a history of success in this space”, said Ms. Vredeveld. “Fortunately, our Managing Consultants, Duquesa Marketing, introduced us to Invurgency and we quickly realized that we had found a great option to handle manufacture of our line”.

Ms. Gartner added, “The Principals of Cincinnati based Invurgency came out of the toy and juvenile product world and had enjoyed years of senior level management experience with Kenner Toy when it was based in Cincinnati. Their range of contacts and vendors is unparalleled”.

MyBackPackTags will announce later this year the pre-sell and product launch dates and activities to support the introduction of their award winning line of school communications and safety products. The Brand will be supported with a full sales promotion and marketing program.

mybackpacktags™ Engages Duquesa Marketing to Serve as Managing Consultants for Project Roll-Out

October 8th, 2012

Duquesa Marketing

www.duquesamarketing.com

Press Release

For Immediate Release

Contact: Geoff Ficke

859-567-1609

gficke@msn.com

mybackpacktags™ Engages Duquesa Marketing to Serve as Managing Consultants for Project Roll-Out

Prize Winning Fun-to-Use Communication System Enables Parents To Easily & Safely Direct After-School Plans and Activities

Cincinnati, OH: Camille Gartner and Kristi Vredeveld, Partners and Co-Founders of Juvenile Product development firm mybackpacktags™ announced today that they
have retained the services of Duquesa Marketing to act as managing consultants for the product development and market launch of their novel line of school communication
items
.

“We conducted thorough due diligence in vetting candidates to work closely with us to build, brand, market and launch the line of mybackpacktags™  that we designed,” said Ms. Gartner. “Duquesa Marketing was easily the most experienced and creative firm we reviewed. The choice was an easy one.”

“mybackpacktags™ offers unique features and benefits that are not currently offered by any juvenile product manufacturer,” said Nancy Ficke, General Manager of Florence, KY based Duquesa Marketing. “Any parent will be able to readily see the utility that Camille Gartner and Kristi Vredeveld have designed into these products.”

“We are planning a Spring 2013 market introduction,” said Ms. Vredeveld. “Trade shows are currently being researched and we will announce participation shortly.  A strong
sales promotional program will be provided to retailers to insure strong sell-through.”

At the 2012 Cincinnati Innovates Regional Innovation Competition, mybackpacktags™ was awarded the “Early Bird” award for the most votes received from May 1st to May 30th. Cincinnati Innovates is an innovation contest that offers cash and in-kind prizes, totaling $100,000, to contestants in the Greater Cincinnati area.

Duquesa Marketing Engaged to Provide Project Managing Consulting Services for My Back Pack Tags™

October 3rd, 2012

Duquesa Marketing

www.duquesamarketing.com

Press Release

For Immediate Release

Contact: Geoff Ficke

859-567-1609

gficke@msn.com

Duquesa Marketing Engaged to Provide Project Managing Consulting Services for My Back Pack Tags™

Novel Line of Juvenile Products Will Provide Clear Communication For Child’s Dismissal and After School Activities

Florence, KY  Nancy Ficke, General Manager of award winning international Branding and Consumer Product Development Consulting firm Duquesa Marketing announced today that her group has been contracted to act as Managing Consultants for the design and market launch of My Back Pack Tags™.

“We are very excited to begin work on this novel Juvenile Product that will be an important communication tool for all parents of young school children”, said Mrs. Ficke. “The line is very timely. Parents are concerned about school safety amid tight budgets and My Back pack Tags is a fun tool that offers peace of mind to teachers and parents”.

“When we interviewed Nancy and Geoff Ficke we knew they had the creativity and experience necessary to take our concept all of the way to market”, said Kristi Vredeveld, Co-Founder of Cincinnati, OH based MY Back Pack Tags. “Duquesa Marketing has a strong track record in developing and successfully launching Toys and Juvenile
Products
”.

“The plan is to develop complimentary products for the alpha launch lineup, said Geoff Ficke, President of Duquesa Marketing. “We will be ready to introduce My Back Pack Tags in Spring-2013. The line will be supported with a strong sales promotional program”.

Drop the Dreams and Establish Solid Goals and Plans In Order to Succeed in Start-up Business

October 3rd, 2012

by: Geoff Ficke

Drop the Dreams and Establish Solid Goals and Plans In Order to Succeed in Start-up Business

Recently I watched a television show which featured Inventions, Small Business Start-ups and Entrepreneurship as central program topics. A panel of experts reviewed product submissions and interviewed the prospective entrepreneurs about various aspects of their projects. The interplay was interesting, and disappointing.

The word that was most commonly used by these first time would-be business owners was “dream”. They each seemed to be enamored of their dream. The dream element was imbued and layered into many aspects of their commercial opportunity. Unfortunately the panel of experts never made the point that dreaming is not doing, and doing is what successful entrepreneurs must aspire to do.

Every successful entrepreneur I have ever counseled has been goal driven. They set realistic goals. These goals may require climbing seemingly difficult hurdles but successful small business start-ups possess the ability to meet and overcome every market challenge. And the challenges are many.

If it were easy to commercialize an invention or launch a small business there would be exponentially more successful, rich entrepreneurs. The fact that it is difficult to convert an idea into a profitable venture is a natural culling device employed by markets to stop those not possessing the necessary makeup from taking the difficult plunge into entrepreneurship. It is hard to start a business from scratch and compete in a cluttered marketplace and it should be.

For every successful entrepreneur that we work with there are at least a hundred that approach, discuss, attempt to sell their concept and are turned away. Virtually all we decline to work with have one thing in common: they are dreamers. It only takes a few e-mail questions or a minute on a phone call to discover if we are talking to the 1% (goal driven) or the 99% (dreamers).

The goal driven inventor, entrepreneur or small business candidate might not possess the knowledge or necessary skill sets necessary to immediately commercialize their plans.  But they recognize their shortcomings and are fully committed to working, studying and researching their way toward gaining that knowledge. Whether they are
self-taught, or contract for professional consulting talent successful entrepreneurs innately understand the importance of proper due diligence and having a well vetted plan.

The term “American Dream” is as old as the republic. Whenever we hear the term used colloquially we immediately recognize the speaker as referring to the successes deemed so important in our culture: owning a home or business, education, career choice, etc. These goals are invariably gained through hard work, not dreaming. Success at almost all of life’s enterprises is attained by setting solid goals and having a plan. That the American Dream is achieved by doing, not dreaming, is ironic.

3 Sisters Restorasis Hydro-BioMimetic Skin Care Selected For HBA Global Splash! New Product Hall of Fame

September 26th, 2012

Duquesa Marketing

www.duquesamarketing.com

Press Release

For Immediate Release

Contact: Geoff Ficke

859-567-1609

gficke@msn.com

3 Sisters Restorasis™ Hydro-BioMimetic Skin Care Selected For HBA Global Splash! New Product Hall of Fame

Medical Aesthetic Regimen Introduced to Consumer Marketplace Offering First-Ever Self-Sterilizing Lipid Complex

Frederick, MD   Jeanne O’Connell MD, Founder of the Sylvana Institute and CEO of 3 Sisters Restorasis™ LLC announced today that she has been notified by HBA Global Splash!, the premiere Cosmetic Industry trade group, that her novel Medical Aesthetic Skin Care regimen has been selected for addition to their Hall of Fame for new products.

“We introduced the line to consumers in the United States at the Splash! trade show in New York in September, 2012, “said Dr. O’Connell. “The response to the self-sterilizing lipid complex 100% all-natural formulary and the immediate product performance demonstration was very strong. We are thrilled that such a professional
organization would recognize our line”.

“The HBA Global Splash! expo is a very competitive venue and the competition for attention is fierce, “said Geoff Ficke, President of Florence, KY based Duquesa Marketing, Managing Consultants for the 3 Sisters Restorasis Skin Therapy project. “The response to the line was overwhelming and was based solely on the breakthrough science that Dr. O’Connell has pioneered”.

3 Sisters Restorasis has been used in the Medical Aesthetic practice at the Sylvana Institute to treat hundreds of patients suffering from an array of skin maladies. The elegant, simple regimen consists of a Rehydrating Complex Activator™ used to prime skin for application of the intensive Rehydrating Skin Repair Complex™.
Visit www.RestorasisEssentials.com for more information.

Duquesa Marketing Appoints Hiskey & Company to Act as Sales Agents for Fashion Accessory Client

September 18th, 2012

Duquesa Marketing

www.duquesamarketing.com

Press Release

For Immediate Release

Contact: Geoff Ficke

859-567-1609

gficke@msn.com

Duquesa Marketing Appoints Hiskey & Company to Act as Sales Agents for Fashion Accessory Client

Premiere Denver Showroom to Represent Lori Leigh Designs™ Earring Chalets™ in CO, WY, UT, MT and ID

Florence, KY  Geoff Ficke, President of international Consumer Product Development and Branding Consulting firm Duquesa Marketing announced today that his group has appointed Hiskey & Company to handle sales of Lori Leigh Designs™ Earring Chalets™ in the states of Colorado, Wyominng, Utah, Montana and Idaho.

“Hiskey & Company has a strong history of success with luxury fashion accessory and jewelry lines”, noted Mr. Ficke. “Their Denver showroom is stunning and their strong retail relationships were crucial to our decision to roll out this stunning line with the Hiskey team”.

“We love lines like Lori Leigh Designs Earring Chalets”, said Don Hiskey, President of Hiskey & Company. “Products that offer unique consumer features and benefits and include color, style and value are exciting for our agents to represent. These vibrant Earring Chalets are perfect for any lady with an extensive jewelry collection”.

“We are overwhelmed at the strong market response the Earring Chalets have received”, said Nancy Ficke, General Manager of Duquesa Marketing. “We will be announcing a number of agency appointments and retail launches in the coming weeks. International distributors and trade shows are also being organized.

Duquesa Marketing Appoints The Dolan Group to Act as Sales Agents for Fashion Accessory Client

September 18th, 2012

Duquesa Marketing

www.duquesamarketing.com

Press Release

For Immediate Release

Contact: Geoff Ficke

859-567-1609

gficke@msn.com

Duquesa Marketing Appoints The Dolan Group to Act as Sales Agents for Fashion Accessory Client

Premiere Columbus, OH Showroom to Represent Lori Leigh Designs™ Earring Chalets™ in OH, KY, WV and Western PA

Florence, KY  Geoff Ficke, President of international Consumer Product Development and Branding Consulting firm Duquesa Marketing announced today that his group has appointed The Dolan Group to handle sales of Lori Leigh Designs™ Earring Chalets™ in the states of Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia and Western Pennsylvania.

“The Dolan Group has a strong history of success with luxury fashion accessory and jewelry lines”, noted Mr. Ficke. “Their Columbus showroom is stunning and their strong retail relationships were crucial to our decision to roll out this stunning line with The Dolan Group team”.

“We love lines like Lori Leigh Designs Earring Chalets”, said Tim Dolan, President of The Dolan Group. “Products that offer unique consumer features and benefits and include color, style and value are exciting for our agents to represent. These vibrant Earring Chalets are perfect for any lady with an extensive jewelry collection”.

“We are overwhelmed at the strong market response the Earring Chalets have received”, said Nancy Ficke, General Manager of Duquesa Marketing. “We will be announcing a number of agency appointments and retail launches in the coming weeks. International distributors and trade shows are also being organized.