Of Galician parents who emigrants to Switzerland, Dora Casal was born in the Alpine country of watches, although her entire life has been spent in Galicia and in fashion, where her parents returned when she was a girl. Circumstances define people and without a doubt, living in the region where six of the most powerful retail companies in Spain are located has marked Dora Casa’s as leader in Roberto Verino and Adolfo Domínguez.
After completing a cycle as product manager, organizational manager, marketing manager and corporate retail manager at Adolfo Domínguez, Dora takes the big leap. In 2019 she begins to be part of the 15% of women CEOs from Spain, assuming the responsibility of Roberto Verino. “When you have a birthday in a company, you ask yourself if there are really interesting projects to continue growing and in that context the opportunity arose to start with Roberto Verino. There are moments in life when you want to test yourself,” she confesses.
How did you come to become CEO of Roberto Verino?“The truth is that, by chance. Roberto and I literally found ourselves at a train crossing where he told me about his plan to professionalize the company for another forty years. He needed someone to lead this change… And there I appeared, who was also needing it. The things of fate! For me, fashion is a known culture and I have an established family located next to the company, which was a perfect fit.”
What challenges do you find when you arrive?“My mission was to make the company bigger and more solid, but I came across the most difficult and unpredictable challenge: the pandemic. Four years of slowdown, which is relocating again. Stores are the place where actions are really measured and this year I am very happy with the results and the team. We can say that we no longer have a sequel”.
What is your strategy for another forty years of Roberto Verino?“The brand has a very solid presence that we are making evolve. When I arrived, we designed a program to integrate digital and physical sales. I don’t think that sales have to go separately, since the sale is the customer’s sale and the customer has to feel comfortable buying wherever they want. I have integrated the digital and the physical for the customer’s comfort with the program MYVERINO, that puts the brand at the service of the customer, of whom we have a very solid database. Now you can buy at the store and we’ll send it home, buy from home and we’ll send it to the store, see that the garment is in another store and ask them to send it to the nearest one… With this program our staff stores have more tools for the current digital moment.
We also design an internationalization route. If I open a store it is for life and we are fulfilling it. It could be said that we are a relatively small company, which is keeping pace with its growth in a solid way, with very thoughtful openings so that we can open a store, a store that we consolidate. In the last four years we have opened thirty new points of sale in Mexico. We have one hundred and seventy-eight points of sale in the world, most of them in Spain, also thirty in Mexico and four in Portugal, and online we sell to twenty countries”.
Could it be said that your main value is that Roberto Verino is sustained over time?“Without a doubt. A company has to be built little by little and be solid. For me, the key to this is the people, I like collaborative teams. I can’t do it alone, I have to have a team that does it and build that Trust in the company and in people is gained little by little. The one who runs the company is not more important than the one who puts on a button. If someone does not serve you well in a store, the chain is broken and so on. This is a team and it makes me feel proud to see improvements in the solidification of the company for another 40 years, as the boss says.We can also say that they are values of the brand and of the garments, which are designed and created to last and accompany you throughout life. We promote the emotional wardrobe, that is, garments that preserve an experience of each one of us and we keep them in the closet because of the positive experiences we have had with them”.
Does being small and familiar make you more sustainable?“Unlike a multinational, here when someone has a problem, they have a face, name, eyes and surnames and we try to help them. For me, the human factor is fundamental and we encourage people to stay with the company. When the period of Learning is when it is most profitable for the company. We have defended a work area in which 70% of our production is within a radius of two hours from home. In this way, we promote the social fabric, employment in the environment immediately and we have a very close interaction between the workshop and the people of the brand”.
How do you cope with the death of Cris, Roberto’s daughter and brand manager?“It is very sad to have lost her, she was a very loved person and with whom it was inspiring to work. But, for the good of the 400 people who make up Roberto Verino, we have to move on. Roberto and I have shared his tasks: there is part that has to do with the brand, an issue that Roberto Verino has assumed and another part that has to do with communication, which I have assumed. We were preparing an important generational change that, sadly, could not take place, but we are giving another shape for the future of this brand, which is well established in society. People identify Verino garments”.
What are those traits that define Roberto Verino garments?“They are current garments, but minimalist, with quality fabrics at first glance and a pattern that adapts to the body so that the garment accompanies you and does not disguise you. Garments very much for a working woman, with elegance and comfort, like the recent example of Queen Letizia”.
With this description, it could also be said that Dora Casal complies with the pattern. A consolidated woman, without ornaments, with empathy at first sight, concretization of thought and execution in action. Far from disguising herself as the boss, she rolls up her sleeves and gives courage and confidence to the team, just like good leaders do. With it, fashion and her cycles gain strength and a mantra that remains here at your disposal for another 40 years of the Verino brand in action, “I open for life”.
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