Blog 205 I talked about Florence Italy and Factory tours. In this blog I want to talk about Factory tours in Tuscany Italy
My first Factory tour outside the USA was in Tuscany. There were several that our agent set up for us and we would eventually use some of them in our Private Label program.
In most of the Italian factories there were only a few lines that they ran and not more than 50 people working at a time. Each person, like all other factories, had a specific duty and they did that all day long. Every worker was over 30 and some were well into their 50’s and 60’s. You could tell they had worked in the factory most of their life. The one thing that stood out here was this was about quality and craftsmanship and not just churning out product.
We went to a factory called “Lady’s Shoes”. The manager’s name was Gabrielle. I instantly liked him. He would say “My English is not so good” but he was great. He had a wonderful personality and explained everything in detail. He took us to each station and explained every step they took to make the shoes. They used amazing leathers in all their product and the colors and embossed details were awesome.
They took us to this lunch place on a hill. It overlooked all of Tuscany and was breathtaking to view. The vineyards and homes were really quite the sight to see. The doorway of the restaurant was about 5’5” so I had to duck once more to get into the place. It was “Old World Italy” at it’s finest. The village had been here for ages. It was a neat experience for all of us.
The lunch started with a bottle of sparkling wine and there were seven courses. Each course had a different bottle of Italian wine to compliment to dish. My thought was “how do you work after this?” The lunch was capped off by some grappa which was really strong. I told everyone we would view the product when we got back to the factory but not write anything until we were sober lol. One thing I learned in my short time travelling was to respect the customs that people had. Having a large lunch was one of them, next time I’d watch the wine intake though. They thought it was weird we didn’t want to take a 2-3 hour lunch so we just rolled with it.
The next day we went back and finished up with them. They were great people to do business with. Gabrielle and I hit it off and had fun together. We had dinner that evening with them closer to the hotel this time. We had too much grappa and Gabrielle finally said, “No more grappa Mike”. Aaron and I decided to walk home to sober up, big mistake. We got horribly lost on the way home.
Aaron came up with “Always turn right”, didn’t know what the reasoning was but it sounded good, and we eventually made it home. It was kind of cool to walk the streets and see all the homes and businesses anyways.
We went to several other factories and found great product for Gabriella Rocha and Lumiani. The minimums were quantities we could work with so overall it was a successful trip.
We finally ended our trip and it was nice to see the Golden Gate bridge which said I was home.
SIZES... SIZES... SIZES... SIZES...
…just sharing my story and tips from my footwear career.
Subscribe to my Blog by filling out the info below and then press the “subscribe” button