The Cashmere King - Brunello Cucinelli



Brunello Cucinelli is the founder and CEO of the Italian luxury brand Brunello Cucinelli. He has an estimated net worth of $1.5 billion. Just like his luxurious high quality design, he has handcrafted his company through an incredibly refreshing and unique view of business.

He donates 20% of his profits through the Brunello Cucinelli Foundation. He also pays his workers 20% more than the industry average. He pays his suppliers 20% more than average on the market.

He does not allow his employees to email after 5:30pm and doesn’t allow group emails. Employees aren’t allowed to communicate about work on weekends. Brunello doesn’t intrude on the personal lives of his workers, and feels it produces a better individual and ultimately a happier employee.

He has 3 year, 30 year, and 300 year business plans.

He has been described as a “philosopher-designer” and “part businessman, part philosopher and part monk”.

Brunello dropped out of engineering school and studied philosophy for several years before stumbling upon the idea to make his own cashmere sweaters.

Why Cashmere? Brunelli explains, “You never throw away a cashmere pullover. The idea of manufacturing something that you never scrap, you never throw away — I liked it very much.”

“I went to a friend and asked for 20 kilos of white cashmere yarn. But I didn’t have a dollar, not one dollar, and this person said, ‘I will give it to you, and you are going to pay me the day you have money.’ I find this beautiful: This is Italy even today. It is the culture of the typical Italian village. You know each other, you trust each other. If one day you don’t give the money back, everyone knows.”

By calling in a favor here, a favor there–everything on the cuff, as it were–he got six slim-fit cashmere sweaters knitted and colored, and took to the road: “I went to sell those sweaters in the north of Italy, because I’d read in a little book that near Bolzano they paid on receipt–they are a bit German, we say, very strict–and I booked my first order of 53 cashmere sweaters. With that order in my hand I felt like Alexander the Great.”

In 1978 he founded his company, and he has crafted it in a way that is truly unique. It is remarkable that he has excelled as a public company.

Enjoy this wonderful interview covering a variety of topics mainly around the idea of building a luxury brand around win-win relationships. I stumbled upon this article on Twitter today and don’t remember who tweeted it, thank you to whomever shared it:

Other articles on Brunello Cucinelli:

Why Brunello Cucinelli Is Worth the Price

Brunello Cucinelli: Life By Design

CEO Talk | Brunello Cucinelli

If you enjoyed this content, you should become an Intelligent Fanatics member. As a member, you get our current and future Intelligent Fanatics books, case studies, online courses for free, as well as the ability to participate here on our community. Join Us.


Intelligent Fanatics March Digest