Bolognese by birth and heart, Pietro Mirri owes his entry in Tollegno 1900 to his passion to rallies and to a friend that already collaborated with the company. After a long experience in the wood sector, Pietro passed to the world of yarns by signing a love at first sight which, in 2022, celebrates 37 years of life.
It all started thanks to his passion for car racing…
And for the proposal of a friend Paolo Mazzanti who, in addition to being my rally navigator, was an agent of Tollegno 1900 since the Stone Age. In 1985 he asked me if I wanted to work with him changing what until then had been the sector in which I worked: at that time, I was working as an agent for a commercial that dealt in the sales of wood. If the area changed, my way of approaching the business was remained unchanged: having a more friendly relationship with the customer so that working becomes a pleasure more than a duty!
From wood to yarns, a radical change even if we always talk of “natural” materials. Since then, 37 years have passed during which you have been able to witness the evolution of the company. From your experience how has Tollegno 1900 changed from your start to now?
The evolution of the market and the ability to keep up with the demand and the customer needs have allowed to Tollegno 1900 to grow on different levels, transforming it from a solid local reality to an international scope capable of imposing itself, in an important way, also on foreign markets. In terms of growth, investments made in sustainability are also not negligible, which can be read in different direction: from processes that do not use harmful substances to guarantee an environment and a condition of well-being, to those who work in the structure up to the use of renewable energy
Which are the strengths of the brand that make it stand out from the others?
Undoubtedly its historicity has a relevant weight. Think, for example, of Lana Gatto, a brand that belongs to Tollegno 1900: many customers identify the product starting from that brand, known, and remembered even by the youngest thanks to the logo appearing on the balls in the hands of mothers and grandmothers. A phenomenon not to be underestimated, but to be ridden with awareness. It is therefore not surprising that the request to have hangtags with the image of the “Cat” is always relevant.
With the pandemic, the market has changed: what is the customer asking today?
The pandemic has partially changed the market. Our customers are more and more careful and a little fearful in making a mistake in purchase that do not give them certainty of sale. If before 2020 they were also available to “stock up”, now they are no longer: too many problems and insecurities do not prove in favor of investments, be they small or large. Today we work a lot on the “last minute” and it is therefore crucial to be able to count on a valuable stock service that allows to deal with unexpected last-minutes sales. This mainly concerns the small-medium size customer: big brands are usually able to program themselves in a more structured way.
The pandemic has almost eliminated trade fairs by promoting new ways of presenting products. Do you believe that in the coming years are destined to disappear or remain important for the sector?
It is a fact that pandemic has eliminated trade fairs. Although it was still possible to survive even without or with a reduced version, there is no doubt that they represent an important appointment especially for foreign customers. In my opinion, more foreigners than for Italians. In our own small way, we agents of Marche and Abruzzo managed in 2020, in full pandemic and with the cancellation of Pitti Filati, not to miss the “Speciale Filati” event which, entirely organized by us and already in its 54th edition, was able to count on an incredible participation of customers.
Your personal idea for 2021 in terms of sales and a forecast for 2022?
2021 objectively marked the restart and recovery after a complex 2020. Last year we settled, in terms of numbers, alongside 2019. Perspectives? Being an incurable optimistic, I hypothesize for 2022 a repetition of the goods results of 2021, provided however that there will be no supply problems.