by Stephen Garner

Like many companies looking for ways to retain customers during this unprecedented worldwide economic shutdown, Frette is not alone. The Italian luxury linens and home furnishings company has come up with a new way to interact with its customers now that they are all stuck at home.

Called the Virtual Styling Studio, the new service provides Frette’s clients the opportunity to work with a team of specialists who can assist with any home décor inquiries.

Clients are able to connect with the Virtual Styling Studio by video, phone, or real-time chat to receive guidance on how they can reimagine their living space. The specialist will work one-on-one to provide complimentary assistance and offer personalized and professional interior design advice. At the end of the conversation, the consultant may offer additional suggestions by showcasing the different design possibilities seen online.

Here, we catch up with Frette CEO Filippo Arnaboldi on this new service, challenges the company has faced while focusing its business on digital, and what Frette is doing to help healthcare workers on the frontlines of this pandemic.

Q: What is Frette’s strategy in these difficult times?

A: This is a challenging and unprecedented time for the global community. For 160 years, Frette has brought comfort to our clients around the world and we remain committed to doing so now. With our stores temporarily closed, our strategy has shifted to a completely digital approach, connecting with clients in creative ways that preserve the health and well-being of our communities. We’ve also adapted messaging to be mindful of the collective sentiment as we continue to face these difficult circumstances together.  

Q: Do you think consumers are more eager to refresh their homes now more than ever?

A: Home has become a sanctuary for many at this moment. In a time when so much is uncertain, we’ve found our clients are seeking to add an element of comfort to their daily life whether it be through cozy bed linens, enveloping bathrobes or soft decorative accents. Though subtle, these elements can provide a calming sense of ease.

Q: How difficult was it to push more emphasis on a digital experience?

A: We’ve been focused on growing our digital presence over the past few years, so adapting to a fully digital business during this time has been relatively seamless. In recent years, e-commerce has become our largest, round-the-clock global storefront, accounting for a significant and growing percentage of our business. With an even greater emphasis on digital at this moment, it was important for us to keep the personalized service for which Frette is known. To achieve this, we recently introduced our Virtual Styling Studio.

Q: What are some benefits of consumers using the Virtual Styling Studio?

A: Our new Virtual Styling Studio connects clients in real-time with a Frette Specialist who will work hand-in-hand with them by video, phone, chat or email to reimagine their space. Though digital, consultations are conducted according to a client’s preferred method of communication and the complimentary experience remains incredibly personal. Clients are invited to walk our specialists through the space they’d like to refresh in real-time or share photos or videos of their space through chat or email if they prefer. Following the appointment, our specialists will tailor a proposal designed especially to meet each client’s style of living.

Q: What are some challenges you’ve encountered in moving your business more digital during this time?

A: In shifting to a fully digital business during this time, it was important to us not to compromise on the tailored experience clients receive in our boutiques. The sleep experience, in particular, is incredibly personal and our store specialists assist clients in selecting linens based on how they sleep as well as how they feel against the skin. In the absence of an in-store experience, we’ve tapped into our in-house talents and have created alternative methods to help clients in selecting linens. Our Virtual Styling Team is available daily for client consultations in lieu of in-store or home appointments. Additionally, we have a team of experts available to guide clients by phone or email on our Customer Service Team. 

Q: What are you doing to help the health workers on the frontline of this pandemic?

A: We are planning to donate robes and home accessories to the medical workers that are risking their lives every day at the Javits Center to treat COVID-19 patients.

While there are no words to express our gratitude, we wanted to honor these heroes by creating some comfort in their homes.