This is the story of a small company that has been going for fifty years. It is a story which is underlined by sacrifice and satisfaction. It also tells of successes, failures and hopes. Today, it still has the will to expand and open into new opportunities.
I would like to tell you a story that not only speaks of shoes, but also of life. It is a story that smells of leather, rawhide, and one that also sweats frustration but total satisfaction. First we must take a step back in time to when I was a young man of 16. This is where my story begins. In my small town of Porto Sant’Elpidio, I saw the shoe business around me growing. I had been raised by a arming family but something was growing inside of me to join this new and exciting world of shoes. Although it seemed I was gazing from afar, this shoe world was close to me.
It wasn’t difficult to get work as a leather cutter. This is the first step to take when making shoes. In the shoe making business there are three vital ingredients: a good cutter on hand, a good quality piece of leather and to this I added my own precision and passion for a new, fascinating work.
At that time, I was used to spending my evenings with friends, having fun, telling jokes and speaking of the future, always talking about what we would invent that was special, something that would stand out and be different. Our aim was to make shoes from the beginning to the end, completing all the steps ourselves. I was only able to cut leather and my friend only able to manufacture, the perfect combination to reach our desired goal. Our first company we set up was to produce women’s shoes but we closed after two years of operation. Although a failed first experiment, we had learned to improve our then limited skills. A positive step from our first failure.
In 1974, I decided to work alone and set up my own craftsmanship business and traded under my own name ‘Pecorari Silvano’. I used all the skills learned from my first business adventure. With the help of 5/6 employees, I began to produce shoes in a basement room, still producing women’s shoes but this time, as third party work. Around this time I met the woman who I later married and together, we traded with a new brand name for our shoes, her actual name ‘Loretta Pettinari’. This was the start of a very long and successful adventure. It was a time to create customised styles of shoes so we hired two shoe designers. From their designs, we made samples, handed one set to the sales representatives, the other set was kept by ourselves, selling it directly to the Italian market. We were accepting orders beyond what we were able to produce on a daily basis within ordinary hours. This meant we often had to work until the early hours of the morning, to around 3 am. We were pushed by enthusiasm and working needs.
In 1996, whilst we were producing our shoes, the Russian market was undergoing significant development. Tourist and business agencies were sending buses full of Russian and Ukrainian buyers to visit our local shoe companies and I decided we could not lose out on this opportunity. I wanted to be part of this new development and seize the moment. To enable the business to be part of this new stimulating adventure, I sought out two, new, reliable partners. The perfect partners were found in the sons of our founder sales representatives, and are still a part of the business. Another milestone was in 1997 when we created the “L.P. S.r.l”, a limited liability company. The “L.P. “ is an acronym for both ‘ Loretta Pettinari’ (the ongoing brand of shoes we produce)and the initials of the three partners’ surnames in the business, Luciani-Pettinari-Pecorari. For the first few months, we opened a small store within our production area. A short while later, we moved to larger premises as, once again, we were going through a business boom. We were open for business seven days a week, from early morning until late at night and did not even stop for breaks. Many customers came to visit and buy our shoes, choosing from amongst hundreds of pairs of shoes produced weekly. We also had a regular flurry of deliveries on Fridays. We would leave with a van full of shoe cartons which we would hand deliver to hotels where our customers stayed, along the Italian coast from Porto San Giorgio to San Benedetto. The hours we worked were long and we would often arrive back home late at night, exhausted, but always ready to begin the next new intensive day full of enthusiasm .
A few years later, the trade fairs emerged. With this on one hand and the reduction in clients coming to buy directly on the other, we decided to participate in trade fair events. These trade fairs developed into a vital meeting point. We met our old clients but mainly our new European ones. It has been many years since we first entered the shoe business. We never forgot to pay attention to design, quality and follow up with our customers. These qualities have always helped us to retain customer satisfaction. The engine of enthusiasm which has driven us hard from the beginning so long ago, still continues to be our driving force daily. It pushes us into new product research, new channels of distribution and in the development of new business policies and new strategies. We look past with satisfaction and look forward to our future knowing we can still do so much more .