Thanks to the showcase specially created in 2015 to promote Italian quality and excellence, ‘Made in Italy’ labels reach even the Middle and Far East, in addition to the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain and the USA. The project was launched in collaboration with ICE, the Italian Trade Agency, which today hosts over 1 million products.
“The initiative has worked for us. Just think that we were also invited to talk about it by the American Embassy in Washington on June 2, for Republic Day,” says Leonardo Dondini, head of E-commerce.
The website (all in English) of the Prato-based company, with just nine employees, proudly flaunts its ‘100% Made in Italy’ label and its great international vocation. “We buy the yarns but all the products are strictly made in Italy, in an area that has a great textile tradition. To join Amazon's Made in Italy showcase, sellers must meet strict standards, the registered office and production facilities must be in Italy and the products must comply with the regulations for the ‘Made In Italy’ label.
When we joined we had already been active on e-commerce for five years
I mean, it sounds easy but its not at all. “When we joined, we had already been active in e-commerce for five years. This break-in was fundamental to keep abreast on the market.
Those who decide to use the showcase must invest significant economic and professional resources. From logistics, to delivery, to customs regulations. For example, in the United States, FDA (Food and Drug Administration) registration is required for agri-food products, CITES registration for jewelry, leather goods and furs (clothing/accessories/footwear), and yet others for cosmetics.”
“We have opened a branch in Miami which is essential for logistics and returns. With duties and shipping costs, exporting to the US means selling products with a cost increase of up to 50%. Yet the US is our primary market. Especially places like New York, California, Texas, the wealthiest areas, where we find a more select clientele. Then we sell a lot in Germany; Italy is third. In the UK, Brexit, customs difficulties and the devaluation of the pound have frozen what was once our biggest market.”
The quality and history that we have behind us have brought us this far. For now, the strategy is to consolidate
“The pandemic has strengthened competition but the process is inevitable. Amazon is the largest market place in the world, the future of commerce cannot disregard these sales platforms. 70% of our turnover comes from e-commerce, 60% of which from Amazon. The quality and history that we have behind us have brought us this far. For now the strategy is to consolidate. Of course, we are not looking to China: it would be like selling ice to the Eskimos.
Every so often, however, we look to the Arab countries, perhaps even in Japan we would have a market, but we need to know the country well, the subtleties of the language even simply to produce a product data sheet. On our website, we cite Curzio Malaparte: 'The whole history of Italy and Europe ends in Prato: all in Prato, in rags,’ as he wrote in 1956 in his essay Maledetti Toscani. But from recycled cashmere to the most exclusive products, believe me that in Prato we make really good rags.”
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