Earlier this year, we at 2.0 & Partners were delighted to announce the appointment of Vittoria Passoni as Senior Partner – Brand scouting, Fashion & Luxury Management and Hospitality Management.
A passionate advocate for the fashion, luxury and hospitality sectors, Vittoria brings with her a deep understanding of the needs of both brands and consumers. She also carries a name which may be familiar to many of you, as she is the daughter of 2.0 & Partners Senior Executive VP, and regular writer of this blog, Marco Passoni.
This week, and fresh off their first TFWA Cannes event as colleagues, Marco & Vittoria sit down with 2.0 & Partners Chief Content Officer Chris Madden to discuss the experience of making the business a family affair.
Let’s start at the beginning, Marco, how did you first get involved in travel retail?
Marco Passoni: I started in 1993, the same year that Vittoria was born. I believe I have shared in the past the story of how my first time at the TFWA in Cannes was in 1993. I had come for a single appointment, and I didn’t even have an entry pass for the exhibition. So, looking from outside the Palais, reading “TFWA Exhibition,” I didn’t fully understand what it was all about.
Vittoria, you have just experienced your first Cannes with 2.0 & Partners, but what are your earliest memories of the travel retail market?
Vittoria Passoni: I was born within this market so I can’t really remember my first one. But definitely, the first one that always comes to my mind is when I was around 16 years old; my dad was really mad at me because I didn’t pass all my high-school exams and had to stay in Italy for the entire summer to retake four subjects – which is a lot! On top of this, since he had to “teach me a lesson” he decided that studying the entire summer wasn’t enough, and that I also had to go to work. So, he made me work for three weeks in the first Ducati shop he opened in Fiumicino. This goes without saying that it was not my chosen way to spend the summer. Luckily the girls that were working there at that time were all quite young and extremely nice with me – perks of being the boss’ daughter – and I got to go around the airport, and in the end I told myself: If this is work, I’m loving it.
What are the two of your earliest memories of Vittoria being around the office and interested in your work Marco?
Marco: It has been a lifelong thing for me. I remember when Vittoria was little and after school, she used to stay with me in the office; I would put together the two chairs in front of my desk to let her take her afternoon nap.
Vittoria: I have so many memories of this. First of all, I used to spend quite some time around him at the office. At that time, he had a big team working with him and I loved being there because everyone was giving me so much attention. In my mind I was the owner of a very important travel agency, and all the most famous VIPs would come to me to organize their special trips. I had all my dad co-workers playing with me – without him knowing, of course – it was amazing.
Vittoria, what was your journey to joining 2.0 & Partners? Did you always know you would work here eventually?
Vittoria: No, not always. I have started my career path within the hospitality industry, working in many different countries around the world. Hospitality is the best decision I could have made for myself; it is a very difficult and competitive industry that opens your mind and makes you see things in different perspectives. All of this to say I was very sure of what I had chosen for myself. As the years passed, my passion for fashion and luxury was always in the back of my mind, and so, when my dad started to work more closely with high fashion brands, I started realizing we were talking about a branch of the same tree. So, one day I told him: Dad let’s start working together.
Marco, did you always hope Vittoria would follow in your footsteps?
Marco: I have always been torn about the idea. On one hand, of course, I want her to continue what I’ve started and especially to engage in the most beautiful job in the world. On the other hand, as we provide consultancy services related to development and are dependent on market trends – as Covid has shown – being both tied to the same income could pose a risk.
So, how does it feel for you to have Vittoria join the team?
Marco: I am certain Vittoria will achieve great things, and as a father, I am very proud of her entire professional journey that has brought her here, and her contribution is already bringing a breath of fresh air that her age carries with it. However, as a boss, I am extremely uncompromising and probably even more demanding with her because personal relationships are one thing, and professional relationships are another. But I can whisper you that, beyond these formal words, deep down, I melt every time I see her in action.
Vittoria, what have been your highlights since joining?
Vittoria: I believe I have chosen the perfect time to join the team. We are growing and it is amazing to be able to shadow my dad in everything he does and everything he has been building since I can even remember. I am honestly so proud of him and I hope I will be able to give him back just a quarter of what he has been giving me.
What do you both think are the benefits of working with your family?
Marco: To me it is all about trust and loyalty, shared values, open communication and lastly, I hope, skills transfer. As a father, I get to spend more time with her.
Vittoria: My dad and I are temperamentally very similar and the more I grow up the more I realize it. Loyalty, trust, team work, communication, etc. are all common values. I love the fact that he listens to me. When we discuss a situation, he honestly hears me out and my suggestions, even though sometimes they don’t exactly match his ideas and, I believe this way of having an open-mind is one of his greatest strengths.
And what are the biggest challenges?
Marco: My main fear is that working together would introduce potential conflicts, difficulty separating work from personal life, and the risk of nepotism into our special and unique relationship – though I guess any father can say that. It’s essential to establish clear boundaries, roles, and communication strategies to make the most of the benefits while managing the challenges effectively.
Vittoria: It happens that at times, my dad still sees me like as his little girl and even though I love that – because, let’s be honest, who doesn’t – when working together this might cause challenges at times. It is just a matter of timing, so I am sure it will pass soon.