Interview with Aldo Boselli – CFO at BOSELLI & C. SPA
Innovation and materials selection are key points in Boselli’s history. Since the early Thirties it uses silk with artificial textile fibers, such as viscose or acetate; during the Fifties it introduces nylon and in the Sixties, it is the first Italian company to use the textured polyester in an industrial way. In the Seventies, Boselli specializes only in the polyester industry. Yet, according to you which are strengths and weaknesses in polyester?
Boselli begins 100 years ago as a classic factory, deals with silk, introduces along the years different type of fibers and finally focalizes on the use of polyester, which is now the company’s core business.
We choose polyester because of many reasons: first of all it is the synthetic fiber more used and widespread in the textile area; secondly polyester has a great versatility because it is a thermoplastic fiber and it can change its shape to look like other natural fibers. Polyester can also be washed and it doesn’t need to be ironed (great strength as far as the working clothes are concerned), you can dye it at 130 degrees and its colors are very durable in the washing machine. This fiber can be easily washed also when there are very strong stains on it, for example coffee and it doesn’t turn yellow in the sun (big strength especially for curtains and furniture’s fabrics). Last but not least polyester can become also fireproof (which is a very important feature when you use it in public spaces).
Nowadays, in the textile world, ecology and environmental sustainability are fundamental issues. How does Boselli work in this regard?
The ecological theme in textile world has always been a marketing issue, but today it has become also a very concrete problem. The plastic islands that are taking shape on every ocean or the beached whales, with their stomach full of plastic, are finally leading to a widespread ecological awareness in people and in companies as well. For Boselli the ecological issue deals above all with recycling. Indeed, recycled polyester looks exactly like the new one and it is impossible to find the difference between them. Actually, we could do everything with the recycled polyester, but it will take lots of years to achieve such a goal. It is also important to talk about research of new materials with lower environmental impact. Few years ago, our company already tried to use a type of raw material that comes from corn, but it didn’t work for two main reasons: first of all we couldn’t achieve the quality standards set by our own brand, secondly there were some people stating that this kind fabrics creation as a widespread method in the textile world, would create problems in terms of food distribution and world hunger. So, we decided to stop this test and we just focused on the polyester recycling.
Como is one of the most historical and important textile districts all over the world. How can you describe the current situation there and which are its future perspectives? How is important the brand “Como” nowadays?
The textile production for the mid-market in Como is suffering a lot, while there is much more work on high and luxury market, from fast fashion to big brands. Hence, what we are trying to do is both hold an important part of the production meant for mid – low market and to invest in research of good materials, in order to find there new prospects. In this type of area, the brand “Como” still has its own importance, and, in my opinion, it will continue to have it in the future.
The brand “Como” today means innovation, sustainability and quality in the textile world. This type of reputation is very important because it is related to other concrete issues. For instance, cancers are not only related to genetic elements, or the air we breath and the food we eat, but also with the clothes we wear. Which type of chemical elements have been used to dye your dress? Recently, a friend of mine needed to find a warm garment and bought instinctively a sweater at the yard sale. Even if it had a very low price, she immediately had a strong flushing on her skin and had to throw it away. So where did it come from? Which kind of chemical substances have been used on it?
Actually, it is well known that in Como we don’t use certain type of chemical products, while in Asia there are not enough controls on the final garments’ import and the Custom doesn’t analyze them either. The absurd situation is that our garments are well checked when we export them to China. Let’s use a real situation that recently happened. A famous American brand imported a stock of clothes produced in China to sell them in the U S market. After the seasonal sales it decided to export the unsold back to the Chinese market, but Chinese’s authorities rejected them because, after some analysis, these garments did not apply to their security standards. The bottom line is that the same clothes, regularly exported and sold in the USA could not be sold in China because they were considered unsafe!!
One thing is for sure: people who buy clothes or fabrics in Como are certain that raw materials are safe, and no dangerous chemical substances have been used. This is an important strength in order to let customers understand all the benefits from buying products entirely Made in Italy.
Boselli is a vertically integrated company and it handles internally all the production stages, from the yarn to the final product. Which are the main benefits from such a type of business management? Which are in your opinion, Boselli’s main strengths?
This type of vertical integration allows a faster product supply, a greater flexibility and also more safeguards in terms of quality control. Moreover, there is also an important thing to say: Boselli is a proactive and creative company, that focuses always on Research&Development and on the active interaction with the costumer. We are reducing our attendance to fairs and increasing our direct visits to companies, in order to find new ideas that stem from consumers’ needs or requests. That’s why we did not create our e-commerce: the online selling channel is used by other textile companies to put forward their own standard collections, while we focus on customized and special items.
What do you think about the recent development of textile industry? Is this field out of the economical crisis? Which are the required investments?
There always have been economic crisis, and they always will be, but it will be also very common for many companies to shut down because they can’t follow today’s big challenges. On the other hand, there are also many businesses that are developing and growing very fast. Textile industry is very old, but in the last few years it went through great changes and many others will take place in the future. Other crisis will come and there will be underdeveloped countries ready to steal from others; these are big changes and businessmen can do nothing about them. Every entrepreneur should at least innovate his business in order to remain competitive, investing on research&development, professional education, computerization and digitalization of his company. There are great chances for Como and for Italy, but they will not be easy to catch. It is worthy to try at least!