An incident where Carla’s bag was stolen inspired her to create a bag in the shape of a house and the tagline "In your handbag lies all your life" was born. The bag was well received in the market and gave Carla the opportunity to play around with her creativity and passion. Many unique shapes like the Tomato, Taxi and the Owl were created thereafter and these bags part of the Temi collection have become the image of the brand. The image of the rose forms the brand's logo because of Carla’s love for flowers. Carla has also been the recipient of the Cavaliere del Lavoro award, assigned to entrepreneurs for their valuable contribution in their chosen field of profession.
Carla and her husband Roberto Braccialini started the company in 1954 as a small workshop with 4-5 employees in Florence, Italy. Initially, she started sewing without any formal knowledge with materials such as leather and straw, making clothes and selling it in Versilia and then slowly moved to creating bags with the same materials. Carla sketched the designs and her husband crafted the bags and handled the business. The first bag was created with leather and straw, a unique choice at that time. She trained her team to learn the craft and sew with creativity and imagination. The bags had a playful mood combined with unique designs and new materials.
As the business started to take shape and grow, they were also faced with many challenges; a flood in 1966 in Florence destroyed all the fabrics and the archives and Carla with her team had to start all over with hard work and determination. Her husband’s death in 1976 was another challenging period in her career as her sons were very young.
In the 1980s, two of the Carla’s three sons Riccardo and Massimo joined the company and adopted her philosophy and carried forth her vision. In 1987 the company entered into many licensing agreements with companies like Vivienne Westwood for the production and distribution of accessories; bags, belts and small leather items. The following year in 1988 Contromano was founded a partner company and over the course of a few years Braccialini entered into licensee agreements with brands like RoccoBarocco, Fiorucci, Bagutta
In 1990, Braccialini launched the Tua collection targeted at a younger audience. Also the first Braccialini boutique was opened in Florence. However, there were some roadblocks that the brand faced during this time. This was the period of minimalistic design in fashion. Braccialini was about bold colors, mix of different materials and lots of details. The brand maintained its essence and core brand philosophy and continued to produce bags with color, fantasy and creativity. Few customers retained their loyalty and the brands strength in color, fantasy and ethnic inspirations developed further
2000's was a period of growth for the brand. Braccialini collaborated with the Mariella Burani Fashion Group. Braccialini opened stores in Milan,. In 2003 a new mono brand store opens in Milan followed by boutiques in Rome, London Dubai in 2004. Also, a licensee agreement with Mariella Burani is established to produce and distribute accessories for them all over the world. In 2005, the first franchisee store in Saudi Arabia and two boutiques in Dubai and Hong Kong are opened. The company acquires 100% stake in Dadorosa Srl, with worldwide licensee of Gherardini, in 2007 a Florentine brand. The expansion of the brand continues with new stores in Dubai, Paris and Moscow. Braccialini also enters into more licensing agreements with Frangi Spa controlling the production of foulards, scarves, beachwear and lingerie.
In 2009, Braccialini moved to the new headquarters in Scandicci, Florence. The Feng Shui inspired factory is designed by Chan tit-Kwan from Hong Kong. The new building spreads across 10,000 square meters of space in heart of the leather manufacturing sector of Florence. The external façade which is covered by vertical plants and ivy and the internal layout is constructed on the basis of Feng Shui principles to harmonize the environment. The factory also uses renewable sources of energy like solar panels and recovery of rain water.
Today, the company is led by her three sons – Riccardo, Massimo and Lorenzo who have taken on three different roles in the company. Massimo is the style director, Riccardo the CEO and Lorenzo the marketing and communication director. The success of the name Braccialini can be accredited to the creative strive which makes it possible to come up with new collections every season with unusual taste and rich details. The creative team of designers led by Carla and her son Massimo create handbags and accessories. The company pays attention not only to the craft and business but also to safeguarding the environment. Carla started with using eco friendly materials like straw and leather and over the years the company has associated itself with various projects that focus on social responsibility and sustainability. Still in 2009 Carla Braccialini has been entitled Cavaliere del lavoro from the President of the Italian Republic.
In October 2012 Braccialini announced up to 77 layoffs of 220 employees total but in 2013, after an agreement with the unions, only 25 people will leave the Company, due to the externalization of logistics.Italy
United Arab Emirates