1-on-1 with Luca + Danni’s CEO After Closing Major Investment from PJC Venture Firm
Friday, October 28, 2016
Luca + Danni has scored a major round of financing and may be on the road to being the next hot Rhode Island startup. GoLocal went 1-on-1 with Luca + Danni’s CEO Fred Magnanimi.
Luca + Danni is a different breed of handcrafted jewelry. Magnanimi would not disclose the size of the investment from PJC (formerly Point Judith Capital), but according to sources it is a seven figure deal and is in keeping with its target investment range of PJC — usually $500,000 to $3 million.
Here is what Magnanimi told GoLocal about the deal and what it means for the future of the Cranston-based company.
GoLocal: How will you use of the investment from PJC?
Magnanimi: We'll be using the funds to expand and strengthen all aspects of our wholesale and e-commerce businesses. For our wholesale channel, we plan on investing part of the capital in customer management including sales, marketing and merchandising (includes headcount increases).
Some of the funds will also be used to build inventory and streamline the operational / fulfillment side of the business, which includes software upgrades. For our e-commerce business, we'll be aggressively scaling our digital marketing efforts and are working with some ex-Teespring people to lead that build out. We're also looking at additional tools to our website in an effort to further enhance the online experience of our customers.
GoLocal: What do you see as the impact of your growth on Rhode Island?
Magnanimi: Most importantly, we're going to be investing in people - at the core of our business, we want to continue to have a team of great people that understand the core values of our brand. We're proud to be a RI-based business and, even more so, to be one of the young companies helping to revive the jewelry manufacturing business that is still prevalent in this state.
Over the next 12-18 months, we'd like to triple our workforce (currently 23) and that means hiring for positions across the board (sales / marketing, e-commerce, merchandising, fulfillment, manufacturing, etc).
Rhode Island was once the jewelry capital of the world....we made great things in this state and over the past few decades, that's been taken away. Luca + Danni is a visible example that we can still make great products here in Rhode Island and I am committed to this as we expand nationally. I hope we serve as an example of what can be accomplished here.
Magnanimi: It was our true “Seed Round” and we have closed this round.
GoLocal: What are the company's long-term goal?
Magnanimi: Luca + Danni was started a little over two years ago with a few simple ideas and from that, we've grown into a national brand. Looking forward, we want to continue to expand on the things that we do well as a company - offering on-trend, high quality, American-made jewelry products. A big part of our brand involves my journey of losing my brother and, in part, channeling part of that frustration into building the business that I think he would have wanted to have built if he had the chance. It's through that journey that I've been on that I've learned to embrace the challenges that life throws at you.
And it's that notion - one of #embracethejourney - that we've built into our brand and it's one of the key things that I believe separates our brand from others. There's real authentic meaning in what we do and our customers not only appreciate that but they've found inspiration in what we're doing and are happy to be a part of it. For that, I'm a very thankful man!
For those who want to know a little more about the company --
Luca + Danni is an American-made jewelry designer and manufacturer headquartered in Rhode Island. The signature “top of the wrist” bracelets are among a variety of handcrafted pieces quickly becoming sought after across the country.
CEO, Fred Magnanimi, left a career on Wall Street to reconnect with his roots at his family’s Rhode Island-based jewelry manufacturing business. In 2013, Fred’s younger brother, Danny, lost a difficult battle with cancer. Danny’s dream was to create a unique line of handcrafted, American-made jewelry that inspired others through the journey of life. With Fred at the helm, fueled by Danny’s passion and a burning desire to carry forth his vision, Luca + Danni was born.
Named after Fred’s two young children, Luca + Danni believes that through love, inspiration, and passion, we should all boldly embrace the journey of life. Luca + Danni is sold in more than 800 retailers and online at www.lucadanni.com
Related Slideshow: Power List - Business
Kevin Tracy and Oliver Bennett— There are deals and there are BIG DEALS. In Rhode Island, with all of the changing players and banking relationships, one reality is pretty much the same. If you have a big deal that needs sophisticated financing, the community banks may not be able to handle it.
Bank of America may have abandoned the Superman Building, but they are still in Rhode Island and still doing big deals. Kevin Tracy, the former Brown golfer and Oliver Bennett — long ago Fleet Bank trainees — are now the guys you bring in for a $50 million deal. The more things change - the more they stay the same.
John Hazen White, Jr. — White has taken Taco to new levels as he has made a series of strategic acquisitions to bolster the Rhode Island manufacturing company into a global firm.
He continues to be a leader in American manufacturing investing in worker retention and employee training.
Behind the scenes, White is a combination of an adviser and moral compass to many in Rhode Island. Despite taking a lower profile than his Lookout RI days, White is still a force pushing for ethics reform.
Joe Paolino — Once the young Mayor who took over in the 1980s when Buddy Cianci was forced to resign (the first time), now the leading corporate voice in Providence if not Rhode Island.
While others complain at lunches at the Hope Club and University Club about the plight of the Capital City, Paolino has rolled up his sleeves and taken on issues like panhandling and homelessness.
With a real estate empire that includes much of downtown, some of the top properties in Newport and Hasbro’s campus in Pawtucket to name a few, Paolino has close ties to Governor Gina Raimondo and even closer ties to the Clintons - could a federal appointment be in the works in 2017?
Steve Kirby — No one dominates commercial real estate in Rhode Island like Kirby does on Aquidneck Island. His red “Kirby Commercial” signs are literally everywhere across the island and in Newport proper -- they are more frequent than street signs.
Want to open a clothing store in Newport? Go see Steve Kirby. Looking to launch a startup tech firm? Call Kirby. Developed cool technology and want to start producing for the Navy? Email Kirby.
Kirby maybe the most influential in business on Aquidniick Island. (PS He will tell you which bankers to talk to).
George Nee — President of the AFL-CIO, Nee is one of the most influential players in business in Rhode Island.
He is Vice Chair of the Convention Center Authority Board, on the Commerce Corp board, the most influential voice for labor at the State House, and involved one way or another in just about every negotiation on constructing public buildings or issuing a tax stabilization agreement in Providence.
For the most part his public persona has been more muted recently, but that has not impacted his private influence. If it happens in Rhode Island, Nee has probably touched it.
Sally Lapides — If Teddy Roosevelt were alive today and saw the number of Residential Properties’ real estate signs on the East Side he would call it a monopoly and want to break up the company. Lapides not only dominates one of the most affluent sections of Rhode Island, but she also delves into the arts, education and politics.
When you sell the wealthiest and most influential their homes, you make a lot of friends.
Lapides is a force in residential real estate and it will be interesting to see what she does next.
Helena Foulkes — Two of the biggest decisions CVS ever made were the brain children of Foulkes. The Extracare card and the removal of tobacco from its stores were both influenced by Foulkes.
She has emerged as a national power in business and makes all the business lists for top women, but make no mistake - she is wildly influential in Rhode Island.
She is close to Raimondo and she may decide to jump into political waters in the future - or may decide if she can snag the CEO spot at CVS.
Visionary or Free Rider
Buff Chace — One of downtown Providence's biggest real estate magnates is a lightning rod in the Capital City. Widely considered to be one of the prime catalysts of Downcity's resurgence, Chace's accumulation of properties on Westminster Street is straight out of a Monopoly playbook.
His recent acquisition of the ProJo building has further solidified his dominance, which has not been without intense scrutiny, given his ability to continually secure -- and extend -- tax stabilization agreements at a time when the city's dire financial straits are close to reaching a head.
Wealthy, influential, and active in the community, Chace has chaired the Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy and has been a member of the Executive Committee of the Providence Foundation, and is a director emeritus for GrowSmart RI and a trustee emeritus of Trinity Repertory Theatre.
Richard Baccari — One of the biggest real estate developers in New England. For decades he has been a major player in Providence, Rhode Island and the northeast.
During that span, he has been the driving and innovative force behind some of the region's most significant residential and commercial development endeavors.
See a Stop and Shop development and Baccari probably built it. Has fought back business challenges and much more.
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