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					                  The producers and the market


We interviewed several of the exhibitors at the 52nd edition of Prato Expo,
inquiring about the collection, the performance of the markets and their
strategies. Here is what they told us.



How would you describe the economic context in which the fall-winter
2005/2006 collection originates?

“The sample collection contains products that are less reproducible. We have
invested in added value for a product that offers a high content of style
without raising our prices. To do this, we are also starting to buy basic fabrics
that we embellish with our special technology. The intent is to offer a
different product, something others do not have.”
Marco Allegri, Technical Collection Manager, R. Allegri & Figli

“Our contribution is a special new study with the intent of creating unique
products that and ones that are always better.”
Stefano Beccani, Style Office Manager, Lanificio Mario Bellucci

“Our collection is the result of more research into fancy designs and colors.
We try to make up for the loss of the easily reproducible products with
customization and added value, that is the specialty of Prato and products
made in Italy.”
Giuseppe Cocchi, Chairman, Binicocchi

“We invest in innovation, and for us that means the use of fancy yarns and
color.”
Marco Leporini, Collection Manager, Lanificio Caverni & Gramigni

“This state of the market at this time affects our choices. For this reason the
collection is not as vast, and we have eliminated the extreme items. We did
not reduce our investments in research, but only made them in a more
targeted way.”
Sergio Iandelli, Style Office Manager, Lanificio Cecchi Lido




Pratotrade Via Valentini 14 – 59100 Prato Italy tel. +39 0574 455280 fax +39 0574 21293
          Press Office Prato Expo tel. +39 0574 455281 fax +39 0574 21293
“The collection was developed according to market demands, which called for
more use of fancy yarns. Our strong point is always the woolen fabric, though
finer and more sophisticated.”
Franco Baroncelli, CEO, Lanificio Ciatti & Baroncelli

“Our market strategy is based on teamwork. At the beginning of 2004, we
created a new group consisting of the companies Emmetex, Emmeci and
Masterloom, in order to strengthen the specificity and position of each in its
different segment/niche in the apparel fabric market for menswear and
womenswear. Innovative fabrics, research, quality and service are the goals
which the group hopes to achieve through a modern business plan and the
management of three different trademarks with a single marketing system. We
continue to believe in the capital importance of investment in new products.”
Mario Maselli, Chairman, Emmetex – Emmeci – Masterloom

“It is certainly difficult to separate the collection from the context in which it
is created. Fashion may create delusions of recovery but recovery is only
possible with targeted strategies of cost reduction. Although following the
trends, innovating and listening to the suggestions of the designers do not pay
the way they used to, we continue to believe in their effectiveness. The trick
is to keep our balance between a maximum price of eight Euro, trends and
innovation. We present an elaborate, varied collection that tries to anticipate
what the market will want instead of targeting a specific trend or product. We
hope for a recovery triggered by a renewed interest in wool on the market, on
the one hand, and the fact that the large distribution chains have allocated
purchase budgets, on the other. We will just have to wait and see.”
Roberto Saccenti, Chairman, Lanificio Fa.i.sa

“Our collection is our attempt to continue creating products at low prices
without becoming too basic, but imbuing them with quality and creativity. We
try to select our customers, so as to follow them more closely and offer them
prompt, complete service.”
Alberto Rosati, Style Office Manager, Fortex

“Our clientele needs innovation, proposals and service, that also means
willingness to provide custom design. This is our strong point that distinguishes
us from the competition and from the over-simplification of the offering,
caused by imports that base their entire strategy on low prices.”
Franco Bini, Chairman, Lineaesse, L.D.S.




Pratotrade Via Valentini 14 – 59100 Prato Italy tel. +39 0574 455280 fax +39 0574 21293
          Press Office Prato Expo tel. +39 0574 455281 fax +39 0574 21293
“Right now our primary goal is to fix prices. Selling all over the world, in the
U.S., Europe, Far East, we find it necessary to identify specific trends for each
market and differentiate our collections. We want to supply a fine product at
an excellent price, where the product has to be more attractive than the
price. Without a doubt this is the right time to take an aggressive stance on
the market, since the consumers are interested in a type of product that is
congenial to us, so we will invest and apply our strongest talents, that are
innovation and quality, respecting the price but respecting the product and
the market even more.”
Roberto Magni, Sales Manager and Style Office Manager, Lanificio
Giovanni Magni

“The choices we have made for this collection emphasize the quality and
uniqueness of the product with a view to consolidating our position in the high
segment of the market. We want to move away from reproducibility through a
product that is richer in content, technology and style.”
Riccardo Marini, Chairman, Lanificio Marini & Cecconi

“The recession has affected our sample collection because while in the past
we used a variety of different types of yarns to develop the fabrics, today we
are oriented towards a more targeted collection, with high quality but also a
good price.”
Massimo Menchi Martelli, Chairman, Menchi Tessuti

“Milior’s specialization in technical fabrics led us to develop our core business
most of all with the big sportswear companies, but in the last few years they
have considerably lowered the quality level of the fabrics used for their
collections or lines. Today the market does not demand sportswear fabrics of
high quality, so we have responded by moving our collection back towards
womanswear, without forgetting our technological background and specific
knowledges which enables us to produce fabrics with a natural handle and look
but with optimal thickness, weight and performance.”
Marco Rivetti, Style Office Manager, Milior

“We invested in a balanced collection without setting limits on creativity, so
as to obtain a wider offer of products and stimulate the buyer. In spite of the
uncertainty we see, we are still investing.”
Ugo Pacini, Chairman, Lanificio Ugo Pacini & Co.




Pratotrade Via Valentini 14 – 59100 Prato Italy tel. +39 0574 455280 fax +39 0574 21293
          Press Office Prato Expo tel. +39 0574 455281 fax +39 0574 21293
“Collections require costly investments. We decided to invest in consultant
services and have created a team of professionists who do research all over
the world. Their reports and suggestions, filtered through with the technical
and structural specificities of the company, enable us to produce a collection
that is more and more tuned to the market needs. In addition to working side
by side with our customers and trying to satisfy their needs, this helps us to
understand the trends and test their validity directly. Our response is:
anticipate and perceive the demands of the market, invest in research, be
aware of the fact that a fabric cannot solve the problems of a company by
itself.”
Fabrizio Nieri, Technical Style Office Manager, Pontetorto

“We have tried to increase the use of particular yarns so as to create fabrics
that are more and more exclusive. Our way of dealing with the current
problem is to provide a broader offering, believing and investing in what we
know how to do and doing it better and better.”
Antonio Conti – Enrico Gelli, Owners, Première

“Due to the particularity of the collection (the company Wonder produces
flocked fabrics) we work independent of the conditions of the fashion market.
Our collection is always, in any case, the result of major investments and is
developed intensively.”
Alfonso Weber, Chairman, Wonder




Pratotrade Via Valentini 14 – 59100 Prato Italy tel. +39 0574 455280 fax +39 0574 21293
          Press Office Prato Expo tel. +39 0574 455281 fax +39 0574 21293
What are your strategies for attack from both the economic/financial and
stylistic point of view?

“In a market situation in which the long period gets shorter and shorter,
companies have to be able to be flexible, dynamic, eclectic. We are very
attentive to market developments because our foreign business is more
important to us than the domestic market. We invest the most in Europe, the
U.S., the Far East and Japan. We try to respond rapidly and intelligently,
making choices that good business for the company. For the future, I strongly
believe in investing in the finished product. Right now we are very busy
strengthening our sales network abroad and we are evaluating possible
ventures with finished product manufacturers.”
Marco Allegri, Technical Collection Manager, R. Allegri & Figli

“To produce a good fabric with valid technical characteristics, high quality
finishing and a fantastic handle.”
Stefano Beccani, Style Office Manager, Lanificio Mario Bellucci

“To characterize the product in such a way as to make cheap reproduction
impossible. To repel the attacks of competitors, our production is 50% basic
and the remaining 50% innovation.”
Giuseppe Cocchi, Chairman, Binicocchi

“We try to offer new fabrics every time”.
Marco Leporini, Collection Manager, Lanificio Caverni & Gramigni

“The solution lies in innovation and the ability to produce more and more
fancy products, as well as in rapid delivery. Since volume has decreased, we
have to increase quality. The future is linked to rapid delivery and our ability
to create and surprise our clients.”
Sergio Iandelli, Style Office Manager, Lanificio Cecchi Lido

“More commitment and investment in research and innovation. Our devotion
to tradition and the current crisis should not distract us from research and
renewal, just the opposite: they should act as an incentive for a renaissance.”
Franco Baroncelli, CEO, Lanificio Ciatti & Baroncelli
“Our strength is our ability to make a product that is different, and that is why
we lean towards new products very much, for the coming season too. It is also
important to work together, so to eliminate waste and lower costs. Optimum




Pratotrade Via Valentini 14 – 59100 Prato Italy tel. +39 0574 455280 fax +39 0574 21293
          Press Office Prato Expo tel. +39 0574 455281 fax +39 0574 21293
coordination of the company and heavy investment in the product are the
winning choices for the future.”
Mario Maselli, Chairman, Emmetex – Emmeci – Masterloom

“Our children are the answer. We need the courage to let the younger
generation move up because they have the intuition and the means, the
energy and the desire to change, and that is what the market demands. I
strongly believe we have to work aggressively to increase our penetration on
such distant but growing markets as Bangkok and Shanghai. We have to invest
more.”
Roberto Saccenti, Chairman, Fa.i.sa

“We have to adapt to the market and find for new areas using our professional
skill. We have invested in a stronger womenswear line, moving from our core
business represented by unisex and menswear.”
Alberto Rosati, Style Office Manager, Fortex

“We trust our ability to respond to the needs of different clients as well as
offering products that conceived and produced in a craftsmanlike way but
compatible with industrialization. As a company operating in the district of
Prato, we are aware that we possess the know-how and the technologies to
achieve this apparently conflicting combination. We believe in teamwork and
we think it is essential to operate in a context that valorizes and defends our
production system. We are seeing a decline of the manufacturing system: the
impetus of delocalization leads to a reduction in the domestic work force
employed in the production cycle and to the impoverishment of its cognitive
wealth. We are fighting for a chance to operate as professionals, to adapt our
structure to the changes and create mobility. We are also certain of the
importance of directing our energies towards the traceability of the product
and would like to see a single fair with emphasis on the niche markets,
representing all the excellence of products Made in Italy and not a surrogate of
Paris.”
Franco Bini, Chairman, L.D.S., Lineaesse

“Fashion is integrated in a context, it is the expression of our culture and our
time. The world has changed and fashion with it: everything is faster and more
immediate. There are countless proposals and more and more rapidity of
production. The large groups have forced the companies to learn a new way of
working. Long-term programming no longer exists. We have become leaner




Pratotrade Via Valentini 14 – 59100 Prato Italy tel. +39 0574 455280 fax +39 0574 21293
          Press Office Prato Expo tel. +39 0574 455281 fax +39 0574 21293
without decreasing proposals and innovation. More rapid deliveries and prompt
offers in respect of quality are by now taken for granted. We work to
strengthen our relationship with our customers and we invest in research for a
better sample collection. We try to excite our customers and respond promptly
to their demands.”
Roberto Magni, Commercial Manager and Style Office Manager, Lanificio
Giovanni Magni

“We have to give added value to the product in order to make it less
reproducible industrially, acquiring technological know-how while keeping our
cultural heritage in mind. We are in favour of teamwork, and want to stop
competing with our neighbours, to join forces and create a strong system. We
would like to see products Made in Italy gain recognition through products with
more appeal, so as to relaunch exports and improve the economy of the
district again.”
Riccardo Marini, Chairman, Lanificio Marini & Cecconi

“We are aiming high again. Among our raw materials, we have reintroduced
cashmere, super fine wool, silk; in addition we work side by side with fashion
designers to help us relaborate the sample collection more creatively.”
Massimo Menchi Martelli, Chairman, Menchi Tessuti

“We try to align and structure our fabrics with our customers’ culture,
creating a vast, differentiated collection depending on our target. We want to
produce fabrics that will be able to excite the clientele and want to reach the
highest level of the market. Our goal is to have 50 top customers to exchange
ideas with, in order to produce unique products, developed according to their
needs. We try to be open, ready to experiment with new ideas and learn new
concepts.”
Marco Rivetti, Style Office Manager, Milior

“I still believe in this business because I have young children who enable me to
imagine a future for the company. I think that the winning solution would be
to abandon the price-struggle and offer added value, to serve a high clientele
with lesser quantities but with better service, quality and honesty.”
Ugo Pacini, Chairman, Lanificio Ugo Pacini & Co.

“We still believe in the validity of Prato’s system, and we prefer to rely on
specialized commission companies rather than bear the weight of a complete




Pratotrade Via Valentini 14 – 59100 Prato Italy tel. +39 0574 455280 fax +39 0574 21293
          Press Office Prato Expo tel. +39 0574 455281 fax +39 0574 21293
production cycle company. Since we produce a typical fashion fabric, that
would reduce the types of products would force us to respect fixed production
times. We have created an internal finishing department for one product only,
fleece, because production has reached very high levels. Our investments are
geared to the domestic market, and are targeted and prudent. We invest in
service and in the creation of departments and processing systems designed to
streamline our production chain and speed deliveries. Service for us means
delivering the most goods in the shortest possible time: orders and samples
must be delivered more and more rapidly. We prefer to create a product that
others cannot reproduce, rather than delocalize. We believe in creating
fabrics with so much added value as to be unique.”
Fabrizio Nieri, Technical Style Office Manager, Pontetorto

“We believe more in the foreign market than in the italian one that is where
we are investing. We prefer Europe, Japan and countries outside the U.S.. We
believe in meticulous development of the product, after making thorough style
research, using quality raw materials, and advanced technology. We try to
satisfy the needs of different markets and different customers. We also invest
in consultant services and listen to the advice of fashion designers with whom
we develop new products.”
Antonio Conti – Enrico Gelli, Owners, Première
“We believe in vertical organization and have added an important element to
our production chain, with the acquisition of a dyeplant. This enables us to
develop products more easily and deliver them more quickly. We invest in
technology in order to get new fabrics, new productive cycles, reduce costs
and processing time. We have devoted a part of the company to more
industrial markets, such as the automobile sector. Operating through all the
world, we follow various markets with different specificities. We have created
a company with a complete production cycle that operates in an
environmentally friendly way and decided against delocalization a long time
ago.”
Alfonso Weber, Chairman, Wonder




Florence, September 16, 2004




Pratotrade Via Valentini 14 – 59100 Prato Italy tel. +39 0574 455280 fax +39 0574 21293
          Press Office Prato Expo tel. +39 0574 455281 fax +39 0574 21293

				
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