Today we made our second major business visit. We visited Sculoa del Cuio, which is a leather trade school that teaches students how to work with leather. One of the first things we did on this tour was meet a man by the name of Francesco. He gave a live example of how they create patterns of gold or silver on their leather products. This process was called “Dora Tura”. In this specific case, however, goat leather was being used. The reason this is an important topic is that goat leather tends to be dryer than most other leathers. Because of this, before it can be used and worked with, it has to be pre-treated. For example, Francesco treated the leather for 24 hours in a mixture of olive oil, milk, and egg white. Francesco had been working with leather for over twenty years and it was evident when he used only the sound of the hot metal in water to determine if the tools were hot enough to use.
One thing we did briefly discussed at this point is some of their supply chain. We were told that they buy their gold from other companies that is used in their designs and their impressions into the leather. They also buy their leather from mostly local tanneries that are under their own company, but they do branch when they need to purchase exotic leathers such as ostrich, alligator, or even python. To get these leathers they have gone to the United States, Africa, or Australia. They have to make sure to purchase from animal farms, however, because these animals are now being protected and cannot be killed unless they are raised for that specific purpose. They also use a material called Texon, which they have to purchase from outside companies, to finalize their products. Texon is a material that helps the bag or whatever the product keep its shape while also absorbing moisture in order to extend the life of the product itself.
When speaking specifically about the supply chain, Sculoa del Cuio is a primary producer of goods. The company itself is mostly horizontally integrated considering they buy many of their materials from other companies and businesses. They then produce their own product and sell it to their customers. They have many different customers however. They not only sell to the people that visit their store in their main building but they also fill out special orders and they sell to other companies. This idea of customization has been a very big factor in both this company and the Spa we visited previously. The customizability of their goods adds a much wider range to their customer spectrum because they feel that they aren’t bound by what the company already sells. Instead it gives the opportunity to make sure the customer gets exactly what they are looking for which brings more business in and has a much higher chance of keeping it.
They produce a variety of different leather products. These can be anything from bags and purses to wallets or flasks. These products a lot of times are cut and made by hand but then sewed together by a sewing machine. For some bags, however, they sew the entire thing by hand, making the product more expensive, but also much more meaningful. All of their products are of an extremely high quality that would make the buyer much more sure of their decision. I even saw a crocodile purse priced at over 16,000 Euros.
After we left the school we met our travel guide and took a tour of a different part of the city. We eventually made our way to the Pitti Palace. We were told that within it was contained eight different museums available to the public. We specifically went into the silver museum. This museum was incredible to visit because it was filled with so many different objects that varied in both style, time, appearance, and material. For example there were display cases filled with crystal bowls and other various objects next to another case containing marble crucifixes. Most of the objects dated back to the era of the Medici family. There were many rooms in the palace that were painted from ceiling to floor and contained many famous painters and artisans of the time.
We finished around two and had the rest of the days to explore Florence one last time. I enjoyed a delicious dinner with friends and ended the day with a caramel gelato. Its disappointing not having more time to enjoy this incredible city but I am still thrilled to have ever had the chance in the first place.