It was his awareness that Italy has a unique artisanal heritage, composed of small and medium-sized enterprises deeply rooted in their native land and with a strong understanding of the advantages offered by the leather sector’s production chain, that pushed David Clementoni (a third generation descendant of a family of toy manufacturers) to create the platform “Italian Artisan. Clementoni realised that a network where international designers, brands and retailers could access all the opportunities presented by ‘Made in Italy’ craftsmanship was missing and that, otherwise, these entities would not have known where to find the right interlocutors and partners to do business with.  

 

How was the idea born?

From my academic career and knowledge of the realities that exist in my home region, the Marche. I studied architecture in Rome, followed by a Master’s in business administration in Madrid. After that, I went to New York for a period before, almost inevitably, coming back to work in the family business, Clementoni. However, my future was not to be found there. I realised that, in Italy, there were major problems in terms of both management and communications with foreign markets. On one side were entrepreneurs rightly passionate about attention to beauty and quality alike, on the other, companies that did not want to take risks or update their products.

So it was all about providing businesses with concrete tools to use?

I noticed that medium-sized businesses were unable to find a way to sustainably internationalise themselves and that even well-structured brands looking to diversify their production or to come back to re-establish themselves in Italy had no idea where to look for advice on where to start. “Italian Artisan” aims precisely to offer solutions to these issues.  

What are the most frequent problems encountered by companies?

Low levels of digitalisation, difficulty in innovating, often a clientele which does not match up to their target client base. We have been working on exactly these aspects: technology, business models, a company’s portfolio of clients. My experience allows me to evaluate a company from a global perspective, a vision that many Italian producers are missing.  

Who is the B2B platform for?

3 categories of users: designers, brands and retailers. For designers, we find the production infrastructure they need by leveraging the network of artisans who have registered on the portal, providing the tools they need to plan and launch what they have designed. For brands, we offer a direct link to international buyers who help them to expand into the most interesting markets and in which they perhaps would not have the capacity or knowledge to operate on their own. For retailers, we provide access to brands and exclusive ‘Made in Italy’ products, providing the utmost flexibility in terms of delivery times and production quantities.

Who is the community made up of today?

Today, the community includes 278 artisans, 1011 brands and 3154 products.