These days, we have been shooting with Xavi Gordo the new bridal collection of Alberto Palatchi, and taking advantage of one of the breaks, we wanted to talk to Alberto about his sabbatical year and how he has returned to the bridal fashion with a brand that bears his name.
Alberto Palatchi Gallardo is the third member of the family saga to launch a fashion business, practically a century after his paternal grandfather, Alberto Palatchi Bienveniste, started his journey with a small embroidery business. The same one that founded Pronovias in 1964, the brand that his father, Alberto Palatchi Ribera, successfully led until he sold it in 2017 to the private equity fund BC Partners.
Alberto Palatchi Gallardo, educated in Law, worked for three years at Pronovias where he was responsible for the company’s strategy and application of the commercial expansion plan in the United States. He also worked for the international company Pepsico until the pandemic arrived and marked a turning point. He wanted to start his own business, left his job at Pepsi, and studied an MBA at the European business school Insead in Fontainebleau, France, where the idea of the bridal brand Alberto Palatchi began to take shape.
Alberto Palatchi launches his own bridal fashion brand
How did you start this new adventure in the world of fashion?
I started at the end of 2021. I was working at Pepsi before the pandemic, and at some point, I wanted a change, and I had always wanted to start my own business. So, I saw that the best way to make a change was to study an MBA, which is a Master of Business Administration. I studied a lot at a good university, and from there, I got quite inspired for a change, and it refreshed my idea of starting a business. I thought it was going to be my path, but logically, just like getting married, it’s great that you want to get married, but you need a partner. It’s the same in business, it’s great that you want to start a business, but you need a good idea. In the end, I had always had in mind to create my own bridal dress brand. I had done it before, knew how it worked, had the networks, and during the MBA, I realized the value of it all, and I was left with fewer doubts. So, the decision was easy. I finished the master, and just a month later, I started in the simplest way possible. I went to IKEA, bought two tables, placed them in the basement of my house, and hired Amalia. I had to bring together three concepts, which were product, production, and marketing. In an afternoon, I put everything together. I saw that Amalia was selling, the supplier started working with me, and I had two sales agents who joined the project. So, with these three concepts, I saw it clearly, and I moved forward until today. It hasn’t been that long, but now we are a company with nine employees. We have already exceeded one million in sales in just a few months. It has been a very interesting project, and the future looks promising.
What do you think you can bring to the industry?
First of all, there are few new companies in the bridal fashion world. There are many Ateliers, but they are always small projects. But, just as a person who creates a project with the intention of becoming a commercial brand worldwide, there are few of them nowadays. The industry needs young people who want to bring new ideas with this business concept within bridal fashion. Essentially, what we aim to bring as novelty is to be halfway between an atelier and a commercial brand, that is, to have the same care in our production, image, and communication as some small bridal fashion firms that I think have contributed the most in terms of variety. But then, to offer the distribution and service of a commercial brand. I don’t think this exists, and I think we can become that.
Can you explain how the collection system works? How many dresses are made per year?
It’s quite simple. At the moment, we only have one brand, and from that brand, we release one collection that is divided into two seasons: pre-season and spring/summer. So, the pre-season collection consists of about 60 dresses, and the spring/summer collection consists of another 60 dresses. Additionally, we include a series of «carry overs,» which are the best dresses from the previous year, in that collection. So, at the end of the year, we end up with around 150 dresses in total. This is because we take 30 dresses from the previous year and create 120 new ones.
What inspires you for each collection?
Well, when we look for inspiration for a new collection, there’s a part, that at the end of the day, is bridal fashion and not Haute Couture, it’s like starting from cero. We start from certain foundations and paths that we continue, and we introduce a part of novelties. On the one hand, something that inspires me a lot in collections is sales. (laughs)
Of course, it’s normal, it’s a company after all, apart from the dream.
Sales are a great inspiration, and we see what has worked best in the previous season. And then, from there, we try to continue those paths.
Yes, it’s what the market demands.
Of course, the difficult part is when you start from scratch, you must take many new paths, from the first year you start seeing what is having better implantation, and then we base our new collection on that. To search for new things, at the beginning of each collection we always create what we call the «universe,» which is the typical mood boards with pictures from magazines, famous weddings, cocktail dresses that could be interesting as silhouettes for wedding dresses, a mix of everything that is trending. Although I must say, we are quite conservative. The bridal industry is very conservative, so we won’t be the creators of the square skirt.
Will you be doing a fashion show?
We might do a fashion show during the Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week, but it would be focused on the press and some important clients… mainly for communication purposes.
What is the production process like within the company?
Well, it’s quite simple. First, we create a collection plan, order fabrics from suppliers, and then start to create the mental idea of what the upcoming collection will be like. From there, we start to sketch designs. Then, we select the best sketches and create a pre-prototype, which is like a model of the dress. We make a series of improvements and adjustments to the pre-prototype. Next, we move on to the prototype, which can also be adjusted if necessary. Then, the dress is sent to Spain where we do fittings, discard some dresses, add others to the collection, and make additional adjustments. Once the collection is finished, we photograph it. After that, we give the photos to our sales team, they go out to sell, and we produce according to orders. As we start to receive orders, we send them to production. Normally, there’s a step in-between that we skipped in the first season, but this time we’ll be doing the production sample. The production sample involves producing the dresses in size 36, and then creating a sample in size 42. This allows us to see if there are any imperfections when the dress is scaled up to a larger size, and size 42 is the most common size ordered.
What do you like most about your job?
Oh, I like everything. I like many things…but I think one nice thing about being an entrepreneur is building a new world from scratch, bringing people together, creating things, products, stories, relationships…right? It’s like building a little world. And that’s beautiful, it’s great. I can’t tell you one thing or another. Everything has its good parts, I like the whole package. If you see the big picture, creating your own project, seeing that you’re capable of moving it forward and overcoming obstacles, all of that is a beautiful thing.
Last question, where do you see yourself in ten years?
Well, in ten years… you know, if someone had asked me a year ago where I saw myself in a year and being here in a photography studio with you and Xavi Gordo, I wouldn’t have believed it… I can tell you now where I would like to see myself in ten years, with a big, successful company that represents the values of my employees and mine, and with a family. And continuing to grow… it’s part of who I am.
Well, thank you very much!
Thank you! 🙂