Photos: Publicist PR
At just 29 years of age, Eros Pennacchioni is already perched pretty high up on the career ladder: he is the chief executive officer (CEO) of Giudi, an Italian leather goods company founded by his father in 1975.
The IT graduate has been involved in the family business long before he officially claimed the position, helping out with exhibitions around the world and spending a lot of his childhood in the factories. Then, when the former CEO, his father, stepped down to concentrate on the production side, Eros took up the mantle from him.
“My father wanted somebody to take over his place, and since I’m younger and enjoy travelling, it was a good opportunity for me,” Eros told us in an interview before the grand opening of the label’s first Asian mono-brand boutique at Mandarin Gallery on 16 October.
So what are some wise words his papa passed on to him for the job? Joking that he gets advice from his dad “every hour”, Eros named a few basic tips, such as “don’t be afraid” and “think three or four times before doing something”.
Eros has a few lessons of his own for success in the workplace. Read on to find out what we learned from our chat with the young CEO:
Don’t be afraid of being a little kaypoh
An attribute of Eros’ that he deems vital for the workplace is an inquisitive mind. “I always like to be updated on everything in my field and on my competitors,” he elaborated. “Always be curious and courageous, or you could miss out on a lot of opportunities because you were scared to ask questions.”
For Eros, his chance comes whenever he organises an event for Giudi. “Every time we have an exhibition I speak with the people there to find out things that can really help me in the future.”
Prove yourself to the sceptics
As a twenty-something in such a high ranking position, Eros revealed that it was “difficult” at first when it came to folks who seemed to doubt his youth. “In the past, I could immediately tell when someone didn’t trust me because I was young,” he said.
However, that never stopped him from speaking to people and proving that he knows the ropes. “When you say something that is correct and isn’t so stupid, people will start to take you seriously, and that even if you are young, you know how things go – this is why it is important to be curious and learn more things.”
Go out and see the world
It’s no secret that travelling broadens the mind, which is why it didn’t surprise us when Eros named it as an essential activity.
“Some things are difficult to understand if you are always in the same place,” he said. “If possible, spend some time abroad to get to know how other minds and markets work. And of course, going overseas may present more opportunities to you as well.”
Eros, now an avid globetrotter himself, has a month-long summer stint in the UK to thank for his English-speaking skills. The Italian described the experience as a “full immersion”, and while things were scary at first, finding friends made it better. And speaking of friends…
Have the right friendships
Relationships can make or break you. For Eros, having pals that supported his endeavours and were there to offer encouragement proved to be valuable. After all, no one wants to be surrounded by people who are constantly questioning you (unless what you’re doing is really questionable) or putting you down – as the old saying goes: with “friends” like those, who needs enemies.
Don’t neglect your personal life
As important as business is, “personal life and family are more important”, said Eros. While he acknowledged that it can be challenging to find space for your loved ones in the midst of a busy career, he stressed that one must make a conscious effort to take time out for them.
Reserving some valuable “me time” for yourself is essential too. For Eros, he relaxes by playing football on weekday evenings, and on the weekends, he takes his car or bike out to explore his country. At the end of the day, it’s all about that oft-trumpeted “work-life balance”.
Do what you like; like what you do
“If you do something that you like, I think there is a higher possibility of you achieving success. If you do not work with a passion, then it’s better to find another job.”
Don’t spread yourself too thin
It can be tempting to be a jack of all trades and an enterprising, multi-tasking do-it-all, but Eros advises against it. “If you can’t commit the right amount of time to a business, it won’t do well. For example, I love cooking, so opening a restaurant doesn’t sound like a bad idea, but if I don’t have time to commit to it [because of Giudi], then it might not do well,” he said. “It’s important to make sure you have enough time for your work.”
Be yourself (yes, seriously)
We know, we know – it’s a cheesy, overused phrase, but as Eros explained, trying to be someone you are not will make things tough (it’s trying and tiring to keep pretences up all the time), and people can easily see past a lack of genuineness. “A person must be who he is – be confident in yourself!”
Giudi is located at #02-21 Mandarin Gallery. Bags are priced from $600; wallets and accessories are priced from $70.