Up Front with Fausti

Giovanna Fausti in the company’s showroom in Marcheno, Italy.

An interview with Fausti Arms President Giovanna Fausti

These days you can’t have a conversation about Italian gunmakers without mentioning Fausti Arms. Notable for not only the fine shoguns the company produces but also the three sisters who are the face(s) of the company, Fausti has built a reputation for producing quality, dependable guns in a variety of models and at a range of price points.

Headquartered in Marcheno, in the Val Trompia, the company was started in 1948 by Stefano Fausti. Through the years Stefano built the firm while helping his wife raise three daughters: Elena, Giovanna and Barbara. In 1996 Stefano handed the reins to his girls, and the Fausti Sisters have been responsible for leading the company into the 21st Century.

This leadership has resulted in a variety of changes—everything from bringing all production in-house; to modernizing the factory with the latest machinery and technology; to expanding markets worldwide, including the establishment of Fausti USA. And all of this has been done without sacrificing the traditional handwork involved in creating fine guns or the quality of the product going out the door. 

Sadly, Stefano Fausti passed away in 2019 at the age of 90, but he did so knowing that his company was in capable hands. This year Fausti Arms is celebrating its 75th anniversary, so we felt it was a good time to ask President Giovanna Fausti some questions regarding the company’s current production, recent rebranding efforts, her views of the industry and more.

In the US Fausti has been focusing on guns from its Core line, but the company still makes Boutique guns, such as this Italyco SLX.

Now that Covid is behind us (hopefully), things are getting back to normal in terms of supply-chain issues. But a lot of gun companies still seem to have back orders, and many dealers are waiting for product. How did Fausti do during Covid, and is the company back up to speed in terms of production? 

The past three years can be considered a unique historical moment that has confronted everyone with new and complex challenges: the pandemic and forced lockdowns, the supply-chain crisis that affected almost all sectors, the war in Ukraine, the energy crisis, and the consequent inflationary trends. All these elements have combined to slow down the production chain of many activities, generating many outstanding orders. All this has made it necessary to rethink how to do business by looking for new solutions and reorganizing to meet the challenges arising from increasingly complex times. To me, the keyword is innovation—not only in terms of infrastructure, with the purchase of new CNC machines, but in all areas. With this in mind, Fausti worked hard to speed up production while maintaining high-quality standards. Thanks to this, we have managed to fulfill most of the back orders, bringing our production to a normal situation. For the future we are always working to improve our production times, so as to be able to satisfy more and more customers.

This year is Fausti’s 75th anniversary. What does it mean to the company?

For Fausti, celebrating our 75th anniversary is a meaningful achievement. It has exceptional value, as it represents our history and all the work we have done since 1948. The awareness that we have managed to lead the company through a transition from a family business to a larger enterprise is undoubtedly a highly motivating element for our entire team. This strengthens even more the idea that we are on the right path, encouraging us to proceed with optimism toward the future. We plan to invest our energy and resources in constant innovation and continuous improvement, not only in technology but also in keeping alive the passion that this work requires—a passion handed down from generation to generation.

In 2021 you changed the company’s slogan, logo and image (you no longer feature photos of you and your sisters in advertising). Why did you do this, and how do you feel that the change has been received?

During the pandemic, we inevitably had to rethink many aspects of our business, including our corporate image, represented by our logo and tagline. In this transition phase, the keyword was always “innovation.” The transition from the classic family coat of arms to a more modern and dynamic representation—two elegantly intertwined Fs present on the toplever and trigger guard of each of our shotguns—indicates a more global change of mentality and a forward-looking approach without forgetting the values that have always characterized and distinguished Fausti. Three years later we are delighted with the rebranding operation; the feedback from our customers has been very positive, so we can say that we have hit the mark.

The Fausti factory boasts not only the latest technology and machinery but also craftsmen using traditional hand skills.

What does the new slogan “I’ll Be Your Gun” mean to you?

Our tagline is also compelling because it is straightforward. “I’ll Be Your Gun” is a clear message directed at our future customers. Behind this slogan there is more: part of the company’s mission and vision. Indeed, we want Fausti over/under and side-by-side guns to reach and satisfy more and more customers. We want to build guns for everyone—from those who dream of their first gun to those who wish to have a valuable, unique and customized firearm—aiming more and more at excellence. For us, this means being able to satisfy a broad target group. Technology and craftsmanship must work hand in hand to guarantee everyone their perfect shotgun.

How did you come up with the new company logo?

It all started in 2020 during the pandemic, which required some reflection on the company’s present and future, as is often the case in difficult times. Thus, we realized that the family coat of arms no longer expressed what Fausti was becoming: a modern and structured company led by a steering committee and moved by clear and defined values. This realization was only the trigger; thoughts, research and analysis followed, all to develop a company logo that was representative of what Fausti is today. Three years later we can claim that the new logo has become a full expression of the Fausti brand—also partly thanks to a targeted advertising campaign aimed at this end.

What does it mean in your ads when it says that Fausti is “efficiency driven”?

Efficiency driven” is not only part of our advertising campaigns but also the heart of our company mission statement: “Proud of our past. Efficiency driven. Forward looking.” These three elements can be considered the three pillars of Fausti Arms. Indeed, we are firm in our experience, traditions and 75-year history. Today we rely on an experienced work team, and this is because we believe that teamwork and respect for professionalism are necessary to ensure a high level of competence in all departments. Our eyes toward the future constantly focus on innovation—from using sophisticated CNC machines to implementing precise control tools all the way through responsible business ethics, both in social and environmental terms.

Along with the recent rebranding, you decided to focus efforts in the US on the six best-selling models from your Core line. Why did you do this, and has the strategy been meeting the objectives?

“Best Seller Guns” is what we decided to call the six best-selling and most popular models among our customers. Based on our knowledge of markets and customers, we have selected these guns in order to direct dealers and customers to the heart of our production. Four over/unders—the Caledon, Class SLX, Aphrodite and L4 Sport—and two side-by-sides—the DEA and DEA SLX—are the models that make up this line. These are entry-level models characterized by simplicity and elegance combined with the usual reliability of Fausti guns. The development of this line has been helping dealers and customers orient themselves in a catalog composed of 27 models, and it has proven to be pretty successful. We can also say that we have hit our target: Focusing our production on these six models allows us to optimize our process and speed up delivery times.

Fausti’s line of “Best Seller Guns” consists of four over/unders and two side-by-sides, including the DEA SLX.

Do you still offer guns from the higher-end Boutique Line—and if so, how do they differ from the Core models?

Absolutely. Our current range consists of both Core and Boutique models. The Core Line is characterized by guns that are simple and refined in their essentiality. Side-by-side and over/under shotguns of the basic line are intended for customers with clear ideas and definite tastes who want to approach the world of hunting shotguns starting on the right foot, relying on a brand that represents even in the entry level a guarantee of robustness and reliability. The Boutique Line is our company’s premium line: Artistic engravings, superior woods and refined finishes are just some of the features of these over/under and side-by-side shotguns—an exclusive touch of elegance aimed at a more demanding clientele.

There is a lot of competition among Italian gunmakers in the American market. What sets Fausti’s guns apart?

I could list some of the strengths that distinguish Fausti guns (there are several); however, I feel I can answer on behalf of all Italian gun manufacturers by saying that we are proud to carry “Made in Italy” high in the world, even in the gun industry. Producing a shotgun in Italy means using the best materials and experience, both resulting from a history linked to the tradition and nature of our land and our Val Trompia. Perhaps only some know, for instance, that the Italian National Proof House must test every gun produced in Italy before it gets placed on the market. After several quality checks, it certifies the gun’s quality and functionality, allowing its sale in the world. In a market as vast as the United States, I believe there is room for all of us Italian gun manufacturers who can offer much to hunting- and sporting-gun enthusiasts, thanks to our expertise, product variety and quality.

How would you describe your average customer?

Our philosophy is: guns for everyone, aimed more and more at excellence. Fausti’s general catalog provides a wide range of products. It is a range resulting from our long experience, suitable to satisfy different customers worldwide: from those who are looking for their first shotgun, to those who want to approach the world of competition or express shotguns, to those who have more specific needs and are looking for a luxury over/under or side-by-side. We can argue that the Best Seller Guns line represents an answer targeted at our typical customer: solid, reliable and elegant guns—perfect expressions of the manufacturing quality that has distinguished Made in Italy worldwide.

In 2009 Fausti USA was established, and you opened a showroom, sales offices and a warehouse in Fredericksburg, Virginia. What has this done to help raise awareness of the company in the US?

The United States is our primary target market, so establishing Fausti USA represented a fundamental step for our brand. The direct presence in the US market has led to significant business volume growth. In my view the presence of a company in a territory is essential not only to increase sales, but Fausti USA has also become a point of support for our customers. The Fausti Italy team works very closely with the Fausti USA team to study business strategies and care for customers. We do believe that it is essential for our dealers and customers to be able to count on prompt assistance directly in the US. This allows closer proximity, which is critical in providing a better service worthy of our guns.

In addition to advertising, what does Fausti do to market its guns in the US?

For Fausti, the quality of the final product is the central focus; we want to offer shotguns that are tangible expressions of high production standards. Another important point is our direct presence in the US. Being a reliable point of reference for our dealers and customers is preeminent; we want our customers to feel part of a family and know they can count on Fausti. Although companies have generally reduced their presence at events and exhibitions recently, Fausti continues to participate in the most important trade shows worldwide. Thanks to this, our clientele can touch our “pieces of art” while allowing us not to lose sight of market trends. In this regard I would like to mention our presence with a permanent space at the Shooting Complex, in San Antonio. Our group is present during the most popular events—for instance, at the National Sporting Clays Championship, which will take place in October.

The company’s new logo—two intertwined Fs—is now engraved on the trigger guard and toplever of every gun.

Obviously the shooting industry is male dominated. Since you and your sisters took over running Fausti in the 1990s, what differences have you noticed in the way that you are treated by other gunmakers?

In an industry mainly dominated by male producers and customers, being a company led by three sisters has always been something that has characterized and distinguished us. I have always experienced this as a point of strength—both in the management of the company, as we have always relied on a management team, and in the relationships with the other gunmakers who are in the Brescia district. In fact, I have been a member of the Board of Directors of the Consortium of Italian Gunmakers for many years, and I must say that there is an excellent cooperative spirit among us gunmakers. In any field I firmly believe that good teamwork, where everyone can express their skills and abilities, is essential to achieving important results.

What differences have you noticed in attitudes toward women participating in the shooting sports? What changes still need to be made?

Hunting and competition remain predominantly male activities, as is usually the case in other disciplines. In the last two decades an increasing number of women have been approaching this world, which is very positive. From what I have seen, the participation of women in hunting and competitions has now become accepted. I can say that it has become common. Female hunters and shooters—nowadays increasingly motivated, prepared and with clear ideas—must have the opportunity to purchase shotguns specifically designed for the size and ergonomics of the female body so that women worldwide can fully and unrestrictedly enjoy practicing these beautiful disciplines. With this very purpose in mind, we have designed and developed a round-body over/under exclusively for women: the Aphrodite model, highly appreciated by female hunters worldwide.

Your company is now being run by the second generation of Faustis. Have any members of the third generation become involved—and if so, how?

Between the 1980s and 1990s, the company’s management shifted from my father, Stefano, to me and my sisters, Barbara and Elena. Since then Fausti has grown significantly. Today we are a well-structured company: organized around a Steering Committee and with a clear vision for the future. Within our business, innovation and ethics are crucial aspects; in fact, we do our best to be a responsible company on several levels, from safeguarding our employees and the inhabitants of the area where we live to protecting the environment in broader terms. In 2018 my son Stefano joined the company after graduating from law school. He has fit in well with the Steering Committee, bringing important innovations from a strategic and corporate business point of view. This step launched the entry of the third Fausti generation, and I am very proud of it.

Do you think your father would be proud of what you have done with the company and the direction it is headed?

This is a question I have often asked myself. I firmly believe that my father would be very proud of our path over the years, where we have come from and our vision for the company’s future. A lot has changed in 40 years, and doing business today is profoundly different from what it meant in the past. Probably, if he could see it today, my father would not recognize the company. He would be very impressed, as we have grown so much. This process of continuous evolution requires the effort of always being forward-looking. Being able to reorganize and change direction according to events is a fundamental skill for an entrepreneur. The 2020 pandemic was a prime example.

As far as the company being “forward-looking,” what is the vision for Fausti’s future?

Forward-looking for us means having a clear vision of what kind of company we want to be today and especially tomorrow. Technology and craftsmanship will continue to work next to each other to enable us to ensure that everyone gets their perfect gun. We want to offer our customers quality products characterized by ever-higher standards, bringing reliability and design to the highest level. To do this, knowing how to employ new technologies is a preeminent aspect. The use of increasingly high-performance CNC machines and sophisticated control tools goes hand in hand with the employment of skilled technical personnel with considerable experience and manual expertise whose finishing touches make the guns unique and alive. 

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