(l-r) Paola and husband Alessandro with children Agnes and Mattia.
We had the pleasure of meeting Paola and her husband Alessandro on our last business trip to Italy, where we discussed samples and prototypes for one of our collections. We were then given a tour of their factory so we could see the entire process of constructing a pair of shoes - from cutting the upper leathers, assembling all the parts of the shoe, to packing the footwear in their shoe boxes.
Ben and I would love to return to Italy every year to meet our makers behind Ballettonet’s collections and oversee the production of our shoes. However with a young family and other commitments I am thankful for the technology available to us, especially Skype, as it makes it easier to explain to them modifications to samples face to face!
In our interview this month, Paola shares with us her contribution to the family business as well as her top travelling tips for the north-eastern region of Italy.
What do you do at Baccaro Group, and what do you enjoy most about your role?
I am a commercial employee and manage the customer relationships and orders worldwide.
It is really interesting to stay in touch with clients all over the world and to see how fashion changes accordingly between the Continents.
What made you go into the shoe-making industry?
I am married to Alessandro whose great, great, GREAT grandfather founded the business. His family has a centenary history in shoe manufacturing.
As a husband and wife team working in the same business, how well do you work together? Do you have different roles in the business?
We work well together firstly because we have two different roles!
My job is to stay in touch with the customers. He stays in touch with the suppliers and to manage the staff of the production department.
How long has your family been in the shoe industry?
More or less 120 years.
Is it common in Italy for people to follow in their parents' (career/business) footsteps?
No. Actually only in cases where the passion for the job grows.
If you took your family on holiday anywhere in Italy, where would you go and why?
Dolomiti Mountain for sure! Because it is a relaxing place and the landscape is wonderful.
Venice, without question.
Jesolo and Riccione when we decide to go at the sea, as structures are the best in Italy!
Sardegna for the gorgeous sea!
What are the top 5 things to do in Rovigo region?
Veneto is full of attractions!
To visit the city of Venice and the Isles Murano (famous for the glass making process), Burano and Torcello.
Lago di Garda (Garda Lake)
City of Verona
Valli del Pasubio (and its 52 roads in the Pasubio)
If someone wanted to live in Italy somewhere to experience the "Italian way of life," where would you suggest and why?
It would be Verona city because it is a wonderful city with a wonderful story and it is very close to the Garda Lake (10 minutes by car).
Juliet's balcony, Verona (Image: Stephanie Waters)