Castles and Consortiums: A Day in Verona

We had a free morning in Verona today. A few of us decided to use this time to explore some of the beautiful sights around the city. We ended up exploring a castle in Verona as well as visiting the ruins of an arena in the outskirts of town. In the afternoon we embarked on a journey to the Consorzio Della Moda. The utilized the public bus system and ended up outside the company Mero&More. Mero&More is a company within the consortium.

The Consorzio Della Moda is a very unique business system. The principle behind the consortium is that it is a collection of member business from the Veneto region of Italy and primarily from the City of Verona. The President and Board of Directors of the consortium are owners of the member businesses. The consortium only employs about one or two employees at any time, but it has regular consultants that it uses to fill its various needs. The member businesses are all production companies of various fashion businesses. When a company needs help with a project they submit their project idea to the consortium. The consortium then reviews the project and sees which of their member organizations could help the project come to fruition. The consortium also largely focuses on helping its member organizations adjust for modern times. They do this by directing member organizations to various consultants. These consultants can help with rebranding, marketing, or expanding to international markets. The companies also need to train their employees in more modern forms of sales and marketing. In order to achieve this the consortium reached out to a local technical institute and enlisted their help in creating a fashion program. The program eventually expanded into a higher education certificate. Because the companies have employees properly trained for modern times they are more able to adapt to the modern and ever changing market. 

A company within the consortium is at a distinct advantage to an individual small business because they have the resources the consortium provides. Many small Italian businesses were not educated about modern international markets. Through joining the consortium these businesses gain skills they would not have had previously. Also the consortium gives them access to reliable Italian businesses in almost every step of the manufacturing process making it easier for these companies to assure their product is made to the Italian standard of quality they pride themselves on from start to finish. There is also an advantages for these companies in terms of marketability. A brand could come to the consortium and see all of the companies their product would have access to and be able to select the supply chain of their product from the consortium rather than having to contact each of the small businesses themselves. Likely the brand would not contact each of the small businesses individually so access to each of the companies at once brings in business the consortium would not have had prior. 

Mero&More is one such company within the consortium. They joined the consortium in order to receive a major rebranding. Originally they had a production line and work studios and often worked with small Italian businesses. However, this alone was not able to get them a large enough customer base. Their production line specializes in cutting fabric quickly and efficiently. Even more than that, they take the designs that designers bring them and Mero&More’s team of stylists interprets the design to a fabric pattern that allows the garment to be produced easily on an industrial scale. This pattern is then digitized and sent to their cutting machines. After being cut in pattern pieces, the pattern and cut fabric is sent to a sewing company to be sewn on their production line. Mero&More offers this service to both medium and small commissions, but are not able to produce for large scale companies. They also rent out design rooms and photo studios to start up designers and companies in order to have the resources they need to start their business. This concept is very unique in Italy.

The industry of the consortium is extremely unique in the fact that it serves a role similar to a consulting firm in the US but is run by the companies that use it. The major product of the companies included in the consortium are pieces and eventually the final fashion products according to the request of the companies who commission these products. The major competitors of the consortium competitors are medium to large sized businesses who have the resources to outsource parts of the production process to other countries who can produce cheaper products. The consortium companies do not outsource both because they believe in quality and because as small business they do not have the resources to outsource. Because of this the consortium and its businesses face the challenge of staying relevant in the ever-changing fashion market, but through banding together and creating training for the modern world the business are able to expand to larger markets than they previously had access too. 

Visiting the Consorzio Della Moda and Mero&More was a very unique experience. I am very interested to view more consortium business tomorrow. I was also glad to spend my last day in Verona exploring the city.

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