In Turkey, Vakko is synonymous with luxury, both in clothing and in home furnishings. I didn’t know it when I met Cem Hacco, President of the Group, at the Genoa Boat Show. Despite the countless people I met during the hectic days of the fair, that man remained in my mind and I kept his business card.
After 25 years, a female voice reached me from Turkey, asking me if I knew the VAKKO brand. I remembered that meeting perfectly, and deepening my knowledge of that intriguing entrepreneurial reality was a desire that I had cultivated for a long time. Excited, I replied: “Of course!”. The proposal that was made to me was to urgently reach Istanbul to define an important franchise collaboration.
At the time I couldn’t explain why, but without even consulting the commercial area of my company, I felt free to answer in the negative. While I was reflecting on the reasons for my refusal, I was contacted again: I was invited to go to Istanbul anyway. Again I declined the invitation, but this time the motivation was clear to me: in order to think about a serious collaboration, for me, it was essential that VAKKO knew my very particular reality.
My second refusal left the young lady amazed, to the point that she concluded the conversation by saying: “I’m sorry Mrs. Locatelli, no person from Vakko will ever be able to come to you, today she missed a truly unique opportunity”. As an eternal dreamer as I am, I didn’t let myself be influenced by those closing words. And in fact, a few days later, I had the great emotion and immense pleasure of receiving Cem Hakko in my home laboratory.
It was really him, the person I met at the Nautico, with his charisma, his enthusiasm and his energy, the same one that had aroused that strong attention in me 25 years ago. The simplicity of his ways, his real amazement combined with the interest in my collections and the strong respect for my person created a vibrant harmony between us.
We discovered that we had many common passions and interests, sailing, the sea, creativity and much more… I thanked Cem for the time he had dedicated to me and I apologized for not having prestigious stores, but a simple laboratory house. His answer left me enchanted: “Giovanna, you don’t have a store, you have a museum!“.
He invited me to visit all his stores in Turkey, curious to know my impressions. I landed in Istanbul with an incomparable pleasure of knowing and understanding, with a sense of wonder at life, focusing on the beauty of every single thing. Every awakening gave me a different city, I breathed the most out of every single day never taking anything for granted, the kindness of the people enveloped me and I appreciated the beauty around them in so many things, from the smallest to the largest.
I returned to Italy with my mind and heart exploding with creative energy. The exclusive contract arrived, but before signing it I was forced to read many sheets in the presence of my lawyer: all those words had instilled in me a thousand doubts and an unusual sadness in my heart, it was like dirtying something beautiful.
I detached my mind from the innumerable proposals, I thought of Cem, of Turkey, of how widely goodness, courtesy, love and experienced beauty are spread throughout the world, and I asked a question in one go: “You can’t make a contract with a handshake?” “Of course” replied the lawyer, sensibly annoyed “it’s called a gentleman agreement, it was used in the past, it will involve many risks and no certainty”. Gentleman agreement, though, was a nice name, I liked it.
So I wrote personally to Cem:
“Dear Cem, I would like to confirm the exclusivity without signing any contract, our handshake will guarantee this collaboration which will be tacitly renewed until both of us are happy and enthusiastic to walk together With esteem G.L”
It was 2009 and our journey with Vakko continued uninterruptedly: it was extraordinary to celebrate their 75 years of activity, and participating in the beautiful events in the most enchanted places of wonderful Turkey was a great privilege! For 14 years, every order we receive from Vakko, we do not experience it as a duty or a commercial formality, but with a pleasant sense of gratitude!
Not only doing what you love, but loving what you do and the people who contribute to the resource of our creativity are elements that enrich our work with beautiful things.