A history founded on creativity
Herno was founded in 1948 in Lesa, on the shores of Lake Maggiore, by Giuseppe Marenzi and his wife Alessandra Diana.
It was just after the war and Giuseppe sought a new job with a company that manufactured raincoats. Even though they were not actively recruiting, Giuseppe was hired. To make cotton waterproof, they used castor oil, the same substance used in making military aviation fuel, and it was thanks to his previous experience that Marenzi was able to supply the raw material that the business needed, not only to continue operating, but to actually increase its production.
It did not take long for him to move from that job to establishing his own business. The climate around Lake Maggiore is extremely humid and rainy, so well made raincoats are in demand.
Herno was thus founded on the basis of opportunity, intuition and inventiveness. Its story starts with water; water from Lake Maggiore and the river Erno, which runs close to the company and gives it its name. It is a company that is still firmly connected to its roots.
From raincoats to the world
Raincoats, first for men and later for women, were Herno's first products. Then in the 1960s, cashmere coats were added with a focus on double-faced items and exports within Europe started during the same period.
The collection diversified in the ten years that followed, and for women, it included jackets, suits and dresses too. In 1971, Giuseppe Marenzi was among the first in Italy to expand into the Japanese market opening the first Herno boutique in Osaka.
The 1980s were spent consolidating its collections and markets and entering the new, strategic market of the United States.
The company's know-how was valuable to the leading brands who were affirming their presence in the international markets and decided to entrust the production of their garments to the Lesa-based company. Production for third party brands characterised the 1990s along with activities to develop the Herno brand.
Change by returning to one's roots
Giuseppe Marenzi's story is followed by that of his son, Claudio, who is the current President
and Managing Director of Herno. He joined the company in his early twenties, starting in production, moving on to the sales
and marketing department and then to strategy. He was the one who led the changes that the business underwent in the years following 2000:
the business needed new direction and, taking inspiration from the past, the Herno brand once again became the company's strategic focus.
As the youngest of Giuseppe Marenzi's 3 children, Claudio Marenzi understood every aspect of his profession,
even the most practical aspects of dressmaking, and it was only through observing and learning how the product was made and finished,
and by appreciating its distinctive qualities, that he was able to recognise the need for a significant change in strategy that would
permit an increased turnover of this family-run business. This strategy brought a new vision to the company and motivated young talents as well
as introducing a more streamlined and efficient organisational structure and a winning business model. The results are clear from the exponential growth:
turnover has almost doubled in the last two years, and the Herno brand is now an
ambassador for luxury Italian goods in the world's leading stores, with 70% of revenue coming from exports.