Today we had a free morning in Verona. A few friends and I went and saw the castle, the amphitheater, and got lunch all before 1 o’clock. Then we took all gather and took a quick bus ride a few minutes down the street for another company visit. This was to a place called Consorzio della Moda. Consorzio della Moda is a consortium for fashion companies. This means that it serves as a sort of club for fashion companies where they can pay to join. The benefits are that they can provide services and information. In the case of Consorzio della Moda, this is for small to medium fashion companies in Verona and the surrounding areas. These businesses often struggle with the business aspects necessary to survive and thrive in today’s business landscape. The Consorzio can provide marketing and PR resources to the company to help them get their product more well known. They can also help globalize the company by setting up an internet marketplace to allow them to venture into markets abroad. They also can help companies get in touch with each other in order to help with production of products. The Consorzio additionally can give all of the companies vital information about the market that they are in that bigger companies have that smaller companies aren’t privy to.
This concept is somewhat hard to understand at first, but soon I realized that there was a simple equivalent close to my life in the United States. My mom works at an advertising company in New York City. The company is called GroupM and it is comprised of the biggest advertising companies. They all work together and share information as well as employees in order to make it easier for each company to do their work and maintain one of the major players in the industry. It makes sense for them to work together because its an industry that not many people can just enter into because its built upon years of trust between the client companies like Coca Cola or GSK that need their commercial to be guaranteed aired at the right time with no mistakes. By working together in somewhat of a consortium they managed to maintain their quality throughout the years.
For a while while the economy was doing too well, these smaller companies in Italy were struggling to maintain afloat because the larger companies such as H&M and Zara were able to drive some out of business. The bigger companies can offer clothes at lower prices because they’re lower quality. When the economy was bad, the Italians couldn’t care about quality or giving back to Italy, they had to focus on the fact that they couldn’t afford to be wasting money when there were cheaper alternatives. It’s just like how Walmart has a history of driving out of business mom and pop shops because Walmart can offer everything at such a lower price. Luckily, the Consorzio was there to help out the little guys. By joining the Consorzio, the smaller businesses can be linked into a network that allows them all to operate with more efficiency and be connected. Instead of struggling and trying to figure everything out themselves, they’re connected with a group of companies who can all help them out or at least point them in the right direction of where to get help. This is key in a modern time when pure quality of the product and craftsmanship isn’t all that the consumer cares about anymore. They can’t compete on a basis of just price, they need to maximize what they can do. By having the Consorzio assist them with globalization they can make it so that they can capitalize on markets that they in the past weren’t able to access. With the internet, they can sell to different countries other than Italy so that there are more people to possibly buy their clothes.
The Italian fashion industry in general is a powerhouse in the overall fashion industry. They have extremely well known, high end companies such as Gucci, Prada, etc. They also have plenty of local artisans and manufacturers. The major competitors for those in the Consorzio are other companies within the Consorzio as well as the larger retailers that can provider lower prices such as Zara and H&M. The main reason why they join the Consorzio is to be able to compete with those companies that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to. By using the resources that the Consorzio provides, these smaller companies don’t have to worry about competing strictly on a price basis, but rather they are able to continue doing what they do and simply tackle a different market. The opportunity of joining the Consorzio is unique to the fashion industry, but the struggle of competing with larger companies is definitely present in nearly every industry.
The reason why these Italian businesses are struggling is because of the economic trends affecting the country. Ever since the economic dip in the late 2000s and even before, there have been problems. A political trend that is affecting these businesses is the current practice of having absurd taxation rates on businesses. These smaller companies can’t managed to survive as easily when they’re being taxed at extremely high rates. Luckily, the Consorzio can help these smaller companies have an easier time, but in other industries they might not be as lucky. Italy needs to change something or they’re going to stifle the local businesses and be overran by foreign companies. If Italy doesn’t change something, they’re going to slowly ruin their own economy.