I have mentioned this gentleman many times, and Justin FitzPatrick said that he got a lot of guidance from him. Septieme Largeur can be considered his “grandson”, although Mathieu Preiss, his nephew is the real founder.
Why is he so prominent? Using a popular saying, he is a Serial Entrepreneur, created a lot of brands, then sold and created a new brand again, and succeeded and sold to others. There is always a new brand idea, and then he always succeeded! The newest one he has is Orban’s.
Let’s take a look at his brilliant experience.
Marcos was born in Spain, who fled with his parents to the southwestern corner of France in 1946 to escape Franco’s tyranny. Such immigrant families naturally needed Marcos to earn money early to subsidize the family.
He worked as a doorman in luxury hotels, sold advertising space to movie theaters, and finally, he found his passion, shoes.
In 1969, he joined Pierre d’Alby Group as Marketing Director for the footwear division.
In the 70s, Pierre d’Alby was the largest ready-to-wear shoe brand in France. The design director that Marcos worked with at that time was Agnès B.
In 1973, he persuaded the group to distribute American penny Loafer. The classic American style penny loafer was already imitated by Italian brands at that time, but France still did not see much. Sebago was brought to France by Marcos.
In the 80s, Italian shoes dominated the French market, and these shoes were traditionally stitched, which made Marcos very impressed, but he was not keen on the Italian Blake process, but felt that craftsmanship of Goodyear was better. He changed part of the shoes of the Pierre d’Alby Group from cemented to Goodyear construction.
The idea was clearly appreciated by André Rousselet, chairman of G7 Taxi and founder of Canal+ TV, and the whip of the French president at the time, founded Bowen with Marcos.
Marcos Fernandez Cabezas was glaring in the French footwear industry at that time, Dr Martens from UK entered France with his guide. Dying Paraboot was saved by his credit.
In 1990, Bowen was sold to the Manfield Group.
He created the brand that bears his name in 1992 (but it doesn’t seem to have caused a reaction), then in 1995 he created EMLING, which he sold in2000.
In the later period, Marcos worked as a consultant for many shoe factories and brands, helping to develop products. He also held a position in Ethiopia’s government, helping to rebuild two state-owned shoe factories.
In 2007, Marcos felt that the model of direct sale to end customer might be the future, so he founded the brand Markowski to do online direct sales.
In 2009, the sub-brand Septieme Largeur was created in order to show true French flavors, focusing on Patina.
In 2012, Markowski was sold to focus on Septieme Largeur. In fact, 7L (short name for Septieme Largeur) originally appeared as a high-end line of Markowski.
Sepetieme Largeur is so successful that it has two mono-brand stores in Paris in 2013. In the same year, one in Singapore was opened. In 2015, two were opened in Taiwan and Geneva.
In 2015, Marcos decided to attack a new market, value, that is, Orban’s positioning, the most affordable Goodyear shoes.
Orban’s is indeed so competitive, with European leather and Goodyear construction made in Spain, the price is only 160 Euro which is indeed a killer.
Marcos’s sense of the market is truly unparalleled, and it is even more amazing that he is always on the way to subvert itself!