Long phone calls, negotiations by video conference – Gian Paolo Fanucci switches constantly between English, Italian, German and French. Casual, elegant, confident and charming. The 34-year-old works for Bugatti International as a product manager for lifestyle brand articles developed under license agreements and created together with Bugatti partners for Bugatti enthusiasts worldwide. He’s not currently working at his actual office, however, but from home in Berlin.
After the lockdown, Bugatti is now once again producing its Chiron and Divo in Molsheim, France, but many of its employees are still working from home and those who work on site do so in compliance with the recommendations issued by the respective authorities, international experts, and government measures.
For Paolo Fanucci, this means no longer commuting to Wolfsburg every day by ICE train. Instead, he gets off to an earlier start in the study of his apartment – not at all easy when his son, who is just a few months old, wants to start discovering the world in the room next door. “Instead of commuting, I now have more time for my family. That’s great, of course, because in addition to breakfast and dinner, we now get to eat lunch together and spend a lot of time with each other as well. But I still miss the personal contact with my colleagues and business partners,” Fanucci explains.
Greater proximity despite the distance
Not much has changed in terms of what he actually does, however – even though he’s working from home. In normal working life, too, he spends most of his time occupied with meetings and phone calls, collaboratively developing concepts and ideas, only visiting business partners in various European countries from time to time. “That's not happening at the moment of course, but we’re in constant video contact with our partners,” he says. Due to the pandemic, many business partners were in lockdown but they are now able to slowly resume production and make deliveries. “But the advantage of video conferences with business partners is that you actually get closer to each other, in spite of the distance. Everyone's working from home, so we get to see each other in our private surroundings. That generates whole new and very interesting topics of discussion,” says Fanucci.
Day-to-day tasks include drawing up contracts based on business plans presented by potential partners, evaluating distribution channels, developing marketing concepts with lifestyle partners, reviewing their product lines and working out new design ideas for products in a sparring session. “We discuss new lifestyle products as a team and with partners from all over the world. There’s no way the virus can stunt our creativity,” says Paolo Fanucci. Dialogue via Skype with Bugatti colleagues likewise continues at full pace, whether to discuss events or new products. For Fanucci, it’s the absolute dream job – only astronaut would be better. “Working with so many different people from different countries and fields every day is enormous fun, educational and very motivational – even despite the current challenges,” he explains.
Born in London with Italian roots, he grew up in the British capital, moving to Rome, Italy at the age of 18. In the Italian capital and later near Verona he worked for fashion companies, developing new products as well as being involved in marketing and operations. This was the first time he came into contact with Bugatti. He eventually joined the French luxury manufacturer of hyper sports cars in 2018.
Fanucci’s field of activity is broad. In addition to vehicles such as the Chiron and Divo, Bugatti also works closely with partners from a wide range of sectors to develop particularly high-quality and luxurious products that provide access to this “dream brand”. “Bugatti is an exciting brand that is steeped in tradition – it’s not something you can easily limit to automobiles,” says Fanucci.
Company founder and inventor Ettore Bugatti was truly a pioneer in branded marketing himself. He created not only his famous cars but also other objects, such as branded oil cans, a cylindrical razor, surgical instruments, an ultra-light bicycle and motorcycle frame, armchairs, vices, horse harnesses or blinds for windows.
Today, the items include furniture, champagne, fashion accessories and watches – not to mention the classics such as model vehicles and e-games. Experts are currently developing special electronic consumer goods and new fashion lines. “All Bugatti products have to fit our brand – that means they have to be high-end, innovative, and reflect distinctive quality,” says Paolo Fanucci. Like the Carbon EB.01 Bugatti Vintage 2002 champagne, for example: this is the first product that Fanucci co-developed at Bugatti. On the occasion of Bugatti’s 110th anniversary in 2019, a champagne was created made of 90 per cent Chardonnay and 10 per cent Pinot Noir, bottled in carbon fibre bottles in the original Bugatti Blue. The collaboration with watch manufacturer Jacob & Co. is also remarkable: it resulted in the Jacob & Co x Bugatti Chiron Tourbillon, with a real working W16 engine. “A unique masterpiece with filigree technology that is quite breathtaking – just like our vehicles,” he says.
His partner, also a Bugatti employee and currently on maternity leave, starts work again in August. Fanucci is then set to take parental leave himself, though without losing sight of his next big goal: a new-born collection, and definitely a father-son fashion combination. “That’s something I urgently have to work on. To make absolutely sure my son turns into an automobile enthusiast,” he says with a smile.