Today, we got to meet with the Verona Fashion Consortium’s director to learn more about this unique organization. The consortium consists of forty eight permanent companies, small businesses who base their company and production in Italy (Mero & More is one of these companies!)
The consortium was founded for the purpose of allowing Veneto companies to compete on an international scale by pooling their resources to work together. As the companies were all located in the same region, it was easy for them to accomplish this. By presenting themselves as a larger entity, it is easier for companies within the consortium to acquire resources such as advertising specialists for different countries and regions to best sell their product to, while a single company may have not had the funds to do so. And these companies are truly small: there are 9,500 companies in the Veneto region, with 100,000 employees, working out to about ~10 people working for each company. 17% of these companies have 6 or less employees! By banding together, the consortium can preserve the small business tradition while allowing these small companies to flourish with international sales whilst keeping production and tradition here in Italy.
While members of the consortium may even directly compete with one another, they are all bound together by the same principle: “Made in Italy”. By working together, these entrepreneurs keep their businesses and ways of life alive while managing to grow their companies. I was impressed by the structure of the consortium, as it is a concept so foreign to the American market. You could never find direct competitors working together to help one another; American competitors would would be hard-pressed to allot their resources towards the benefit of a company who could directly undercut them.
After the consortium visit, Paige and I went to do some laundry. We walked across the Castle Vecchio bridge to the other side of Verona, because the cheapest self-service laundromat was about a fifteen-minute walk away.
I ended up having to spend SEVEN euro to do my load of laundry…because the machine ate my money…ugh. Thankfully, another lady at the laundromat was nice enough to help us understand how to use the machines, or we probably would have had to spend a lot more. One thing I will NOT be missing is doing my laundry here, that’s for sure.
We spent our evening saying goodbye to Verona from the bridge of Castle Vecchio and the beach below it, enjoying the sunset while we ate some traditional panzerotti, which are fried turnovers with savory fillings.
I think that Verona has been my favorite city to visit so far…I loved seeing the historical buildings and exploring the winding streets. It felt much quieter than Venice and Milan, and it was easy to go to different restaurants and places that the locals could be found at, enjoying their town. There is a timeless quality to Verona, and it has made me never want to leave!