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Natuzzi Group Sponsors Tulsa Ballet

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Dancer from the Tulsa Ballet with Nattizi Chair

Natuzzi Group, a premiere producer of leather furnishings, announced that it is working with Natuzzi Italia Dealer Urban Furnishings, based in Tulsa, OK, in support of the Tulsa Ballet.

According to Rebecca Joskey, owner of Urban Furnishings, a 2,500-square-foot, singleresource store located in the upscale Brookside neighborhood of Tulsa, a world-class ballet company has been a fixture in Tulsa for more than 50 years. The Tulsa Ballet is currently led by director Marcello Angelini and his wife, Daniela Buson, who serves as ballet mistress. Both Italian born, it was Buson who Joskey approached one year ago when she sought to learn Italian in preparation for a trip to the Natuzzi Group factory in Santeramo, Italy. “I wanted to be able to converse with Pasquale Natuzzi,” Joskey says.

Buson agreed to come to the store and help Joskey prepare for her trip. “Spending time learning Italian with Daniela--who had a very distinguished career as principal dancer prior to becoming ballet mistress--we naturally talked about the ballet. It wasn’t long before I made the connection between the Tulsa Ballet’s long tradition of excellence and quality, and Natuzzi Italia’s. I saw a tremendous co-branding opportunity and Natuzzi Group executives agreed.”

As part of the sponsorship, Natuzzi Group donated cooperative advertising dollars directly to the ballet company in the name of Urban Furnishings. Joskey matched the funds with the cost of professionally photographing the dancers interacting with Natuzzi Italia furniture and targeted advertising in Intermissions Magazine (the official publication of the Tulsa Performing Arts Center), and Oklahoma Magazine among others.

“The shots were magical,” Joskey says, adding that the series of striking photographs has been utilized both in print advertising and online in Urban Furnishings’ social media efforts on Facebook and Twitter. Out-size versions of the photographs are also used as part of the presentation on the store’s floor (including a stunning life-size shot of dancer Alfonso Martin) and in the front windows. A video featuring the photos runs continuously inside the store as well. The photographs of dancers and furniture have also figured in special in-store events.

“We introduced the photographs to the Tulsa Ballet Board for the first time during a reception in the store called ‘Beautiful Lines from Italy,’ ” Joskey describes. “The next production the company will perform is Twyla Tharp’s 9 Sinatra Songs, so we had Sinatra music playing in the background along with champagne and hors d’oeuvres.”

Other ballet-related promotions include drawings for tickets to every one of the company’s performances this season. Urban Furnishings and Natuzzi Italia also underwrote a table at the gala Sinatra Ball held this past weekend to benefit the Tulsa Ballet at the Southern Hills Country Club.

“We invited good customers to join us at the table, which was signed Urban Furnishings/Natuzzi Italia, and donated a Natuzzi Italia chair to the raffle at the Ball. To further raise awareness of the brand, bottles of olive oil from Pasquale Natuzzi’s olive groves were presented as gifts to the Ball’s committee members. Later in the season, we will host parties at the store for the Barre Society, which is a group of young professionals who support the Tulsa Ballet.”

Joskey says the Ballet sponsorship is helping her hone in on her target customer and deliver the Natuzzi Italia/Urban Furnishings message one-on-one. “From a marketing standpoint, we’ve garnered a very high presence with affluent consumers in our marketplace. They may have been aware of our store prior to the sponsorship, but these events brought them in and really exposed them to the brand.” Additionally Joskey says, “Natuzzi Italia is very important to the economy of the area where Pasquale Natuzzi is from and he has long demonstrated a strong sense of community. By supporting the arts in this way, his generosity is building community here in Tulsa as well. That’s an awesome thing, particularly in this economy.”

Brad Cates, senior vice president, Natuzzi Americas, agrees with Joskey’s assessment. “Being successful in today’s environment requires a great deal of creativity from a marketing standpoint,” he says. “Long a leading fashion house in terms of product, the  Natuzzi Group’s goal is to lead the way on the marketing front as well. We were therefore extremely pleased to support Urban Furnishings’ innovative, co-branding efforts which are clearly paying off with greater awareness of the Natuzzi Italia brand among luxury consumers in the Tulsa marketplace.”

About Natuzzi: Founded in 1959 by Pasquale Natuzzi, Natuzzi S.p.A. designs and manufactures a broad collection of residential upholstered furniture. With consolidated revenues of EUR 515.4 million in 2009, Natuzzi is Italy’s largest furniture manufacturer. Natuzzi Group exports its innovative, high-quality sofas and armchairs to 123 markets on five continents. Cutting-edge design, superior Italian craftsmanship and advanced, vertically integrated manufacturing operations underpin the company’s market leadership. Natuzzi S.p.A. has been listed on the New York Stock Exchange since May 1993. The company is ISO 9001 and 14001 certified. For more information, please visit www.natuzzi.com.

About Urban Furnishings: In business for nearly two decades, Urban Furnishings is a 2,500-square-foot retailer specializing in Natuzzi Italia furniture located in the upscale Brookside shopping district of Tulsa, OK. Led by owner Rebecca Joskey, the store’s goal is to enhance customers’ lifestyles with the modern luxury and quality of Natuzzi Italia furniture. For more information, please visit www.urbanfurnishings.com.

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