This morning a group of us took advantage of our free time to explore Verona. We visited the Amphitheater, Roman Theatre, and Castelvecchio (The Old Castle)! We walked almost five miles and saw so much before our company visit to Mero and More. We walked to the bus stop which was near the train station at three and took a bus ride that lasted for about ten minutes until we got to the industrial area of Verona where Mero and More is located. Today we would be learning about the consortium, what is provided, and advantages of joining.
Mero and More is one of the 46 members of the Consorzio Della Moda. They began our site visit with two informational videos on the consortium and then explained how the organization worked. Within consortium, there are currently 46 members consisting of varying sizes of businesses that each have their own skill set within the fashion industry. Each business shares their expertise and creativity within the network, whether it be in production, design, styling, packaging, etc. Mero and More is a company which focuses on design, style, and production, and has a store room on location as well. Not every member will specialize in these exact areas, but each of them adds value to the consortium. The president and consultant explained how the consortium worked.
The consortium provides services based on the client’s needs. The basic explanation is that a client of a small fashion business will come to the consortium asking either for assistance with production or with designing a product from scratch. The consortium then evaluates which members would be able to provide the most beneficial guidance and services to the client in terms of research, production, design, styling, marketing, and more. In order to facilitate the process, these clients can even rent out space from the members. Additionally, the consortium’s network connections can be utilized to help members expand their businesses from local to global markets around the world. The consultant noted that online sales are a great way to market and sell a small clients’ product lines and the consortium has the means to provide this strategic support for product promotion and foreign marketing within its member network. The consortium will also promote participating clients’ products at fashion exhibitions around the world.
The concept of the consortium is similar that of large consulting firms back in the States, where they have a network of people, in some cases globally, where members have different skills and ideas and clients come to them asking for help with their projects and ideas. However, consulting companies like Deloitte or USC Consulting Group that focus on supply chain optimization may not have the first-hand knowledge and experience that members of the Consorzio Della Moda have in the world of fashion.
By joining a consortium a company will have quite a few advantages. They have a direct network of members who each have a unique skill set that they can reach out to for help/advice. Within the consortium there are experienced wholesalers, buyers, and designers. Companies are of all sizes. The diversity in members provides the advantages of expertise at various levels in a fashion company’s development. Not only are the resources invaluable, what I find to be most advantageous is that these resources are accessible through one specialized network. If one member needs production assistance they can use this network to find a reputable production line option instead of scouring the industry independently.
I have had some time to reflect on cultural differences and interactions since arriving in Italy. Personally, I think I had trouble figuring out what time to eat meals and managing time for other purchases. In Italy, many of the restaurants and shops are open in the morning, take an afternoon lunch break, and close their shops for a few hours. Having been used to “open twenty-four hour” grocery stores and late night hours for other establishments, I found it more difficult to adjust to the difference in limited business hours. In essence, if I would want something, I would have to manage my time accordingly so that I would not lose the opportunity to purchase something I wanted.
I would imagine that time management issues are relevant for the Italians as well, since transportation in some areas is limited to walking, boating, or cycling. They would need to budget their time to allow for this slower means of traveling.
As for conflict, I have yet to see any. I have met some new Italian friends along the way for this trip who have been more than helpful. For example, while going to church on Sunday we got lost, and Carmella, an Italian woman walked us almost the entire way there. This interaction has been typical of most.
The basic value system of the Italians is dominated by time and beauty. Attention to aesthetics is seen in personal appearance with quality clothing, art, architecture, and even the plating of the food they eat. Time is valued as well. They do not rush through anything, especially their time eating meals when they move slowly through courses and enjoy the company of to friends and family.
Some major economic differences that I have become aware of are that Italy has a very high unemployment rate as compared to the US and a very low birth rate. As I have mentioned in a previous post, they have many concerns about immigration, given their proximity to places like Africa.
Many of the people I encountered on the streets of Italy were just like Carmella. They were more than helpful. I have not had any native Italians act negatively towards me. I am surprised though because at least once a day we will hear, “ah Americans” when we pass a group of Italians – not in a negative way, but more out of intrigue.
|| Alaina All’Estero – “Alaina Abroad” ||