A Conversation with a Consortium

Today was a short day and a nice rest between busy days. We visited the Consorzio Della Moda (Fashion consortium) and learned about their origins and purpose as an institution.

Once the original entrepreneurs of small family businesses started retiring and their family heirs took over without much managerial training at the same time that the international competition began to encroach upon their customary market, the need to band together with local competitors motivated these businesses to create the consortium. The consortium was founded in 2000 by these entrepreneurs of local business who realized that, although they were competing with each other in the local market, they needed each other in order to survive international competition without sacrificing their traditional artesanal methods and quality. Now, the consortium has 48 member companies that work in a network of over 400 local companies that together make up every step in the supply chain.

These companies are often disorganized and informal. Having been created by a single, strong personality typically just after the end of World War II, they usually have little structure and few defined roles. The consortium provides workshops and structure externally to mitigate the negative effects of these systems.

However, the main focus of this network is to maintain and promote entirely Italian made products manufactured by small companies (under 50 employees) in Verona and neighboring regions. As a group, these small companies can save money by sharing shipments and resources such as consultants. Since they work together, the government also provides some funding opportunities that these companies couldn’t receive independently. Even the European Union supports the consortium as a means of promoting the creative industry of fashion within Europe and against the competitors of other places such as the US and China.

Pretty much any local company that functions entirely in the Veneto region and outsources no part of their supply chain is welcome to join the consortium for a fee. The process usually begins informally through word of mouth and includes both invited companies and inquiring companies. Although they have yet to introduce ecological sustainability requirements or goals, as a young institution, the consortium has already attempted and continues to reduce economic waste.

Recently, the consortium has also developed a new branch called VeronaVale to promote Verona itself as a brand. This includes not only products from Verona like the ones the consortium produces, but also the region itself as a place for tourists to have new, positive experiences. Since the creation of VeronaVale, already the average time spent in Verona by tourists who pass through has increased from two measly hours to one full day. The purpose of VeronaVale is to improve international opinions of Verona and to leave visitors with an impression of the city’s incredible beauty and worth.

We were then given the rest of the day to explore Verona and come back with some comments on the value of the city for VeronaVale to use as feedback to improve the Verona experience for visiting outsiders. I’ve already spoken much about the lovely Verona apart from the usual comment on Romeo and Juliet, which is surprisingly a pet peeve to the locals since it was made famous by a man who never even set foot in Verona. Since I’ve already shared my thoughts on this blog, particularly in the post titled A Historical City, I will refrain from reiterating them here.

That’s all for today then!

Buonasera!

Lia

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