He claims to be “prudentially optimistic” and, no doubt about it, he is really like that. Yet, one can surmise something more from the words of Giancarlo Dani, owner of the homonymous leather tanning group headquartered in Arzignano. He shows a gutsy willpower to face and tackle a critical and uncertain scenario, like the present one, striving hard to find long-term solutions. Such solutions may lead the way to positive situations for the leather industry, which aims at evolving while looking beyond the present days. In the following interview he illustrated his plans.
What was the evolution of the market from the end of lockdown to present?
Production drive is getting going again. Right after the end of lockdown, we immediately started working at fair speed again, without resorting to unemployment benefits. From July to September, we got quite close to the manufacturing standards we were used to before the pandemic. Of course, talking about our range of products, some of them are running faster, whereas others go more slowly.
At present, upholstery and home furnishings are enjoying a positive trend, probably because people tend to spend most of their time at home.
How about the automotive sector?
It has been enjoying a remarkable recovery, at least in the high-end segment, where Dani are actively playing. As a matter of fact, when the automotive sector starts going again, it always does it resolutely. Of course, we cannot predict at all how long such trend will be going on: however, this industry may rely on longer-range work projects, compared to fashion, and this is comforting to us, especially today. Yet, undoubtedly, we will go through a slowdown simultaneously with Christmas holidays.
Does your “prudential optimism” rest on these factors?
Yes, it does. Personally, I prefer to look at the bright side of a difficult situation. I think it cannot be otherwise, even though in the neighbouring countries, close to Italy, Covid-19 cases have been increasing considerably. In the same way as here, in the last few days the overall situation turned quite complicated. Yet we now know “our enemy”, we have an organization, and we are fully equipped with the required protocols. If we take things carefully and seriously, paying close attention and focusing on safety, we can keep going.
Leather industry aims at evolving
What is the situation in Arzignano?
The tanning district is sending messages that show its being quite lively. Despite that, such liveliness is undoubtedly patchy, here and there. However, our situation is slightly better compared to the overall leather industry, both in Italy and in the rest of the world. I want to make it clear once more: the world will keep going anyway. That is why we must be optimistic while facing this challenge.
What are the advanced tools, at present, to make it?
We are supposed to invest more and more in the ability to promote our products, everywhere in the world, and show them to any manufacturing sectors which make use of leather. That is the place where we must go and create a service: in other words, we must get in touch with each customer not just for production, but rather to provide them with the best service, in a timely and detailed manner. We aim at eliminating distances that keep us far from our clientele.
How important are research and sustainability in the whole process?
We are consistently committed to ongoing research. In fact, ideally every tanner looks forward to creating a product nobody else has. Today these products are supposed to be more and more competitive and reliable in terms of sustainability, most of all. From this point of view, we keep up: we successfully achieved great goals, and we set new ones: some of them are particularly challenging indeed.
For example: a type of leather, which naturally recycles waste products from the food industry, that must be biodegradable and tanned by using chemicals whose environmental footprint is as low as possible.
You were in Milan to attend Lineapelle – A New Point Of View: how did it go?
Considering the present situation, we thought we had to be there and participate in the fair, regardless of what could possibly happen. Attending the exhibition proved better than missing it, then, to show our customers and ourselves that we are lively, therefore sharing our gutsy willpower: there is no point in feeling sorry for yourself. And the same applies to everybody.
In the pictures: Giancarlo Dani, right; a Gruppo Dani production interior, left
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