The Pump Factory Milano is a project that celebrates the values of ‘Made in Italy’

Passion is the driver of the best, most interesting business stories. Passion combined with product knowledge, born and developed over the years. This is the story of Ilaria Greco who created the ‘The Pump Factory Milano’ brand in 2019. Out of passion, in fact. “My professional field is finance” – she explains – “but since I was a child I was immersed in the world of footwear because my parents have been selling shoes for 40 years”. So, as an adult, Ilaria decided to create her own brand, a mono product available in many colour variations. “I concentrated on the pump, an iconic shoe in the women’s wardrobe. The collection consists of 27 pumps available in leather, patent leather, and suede: 20 with 11cm heels and 7 with 9cm heels. I thought not only of all those women who, like me, for work have a formal dress code to which to add a touch of colour through their shoes, but also of those who are attentive to the quality of materials and workmanship. Of course, the production is ‘Made in Italy’, in the Marche region, made by a small artisan company that also produces for famous brands. Just think that 100 different steps are required to make a pair of TPFMs”. Ilaria defines it a “classic revolution”, because it does not follow fashion trends or, better, it follows the current trend of buying products with which consumers have an emotional bond that lasts over time and that go beyond the seasons. But it is also “a gentle revolution” because it is a direct-to-consumer project and, therefore, reduces middleman costs, making the product accessible in terms of price. Sales are available only through e-commerce with delivery in Italy in 48 hours.

Ilaria Greco, founder, wearing Iconic Red Pump in patent leather

In 2020, with the pandemic in full swing, the brand garnered much acclaim: “I did not expect all this interest” – Ilaria comments – “certainly the lockdown has pushed consumers to be more reflective and to develop greater awareness of ‘Made in Italy’ and artisanal products. After all, making a quality shoe is like making a quality wine. The skins are stretched and softened for two weeks to become more malleable, just as wine acquires value in the barrels”.

The homage to Italy begins with the names and colour palette of the models themselves that pay tribute to the islands: the series that goes from sky blue to deep blue is called the ‘Capri Pump’, the green range the ‘Elba Pump’, shades from nude to pomegranate red the ‘Maddalena Pump’, while shades from yellow, to tobacco, to chocolate can only be called the ‘Pantelleria Pump’, as the greys and blacks remind us of the volcano. The only reference to a non-Italian island, Ibiza, is for two frosted colours, silver and platinum. The sizes are available are from 35 to 41.

The brand’s personality is also visible in the packaging: a hexagonal box with black and white stripes reminiscent of vintage hat boxes; it can be folded up – therefore saving space – or can be used for something else, like as a jewellery box. In the future, the collection could evolve with other materials, such as summer fabrics, to differentiate the seasons. But always and in any case a pump. “It is” – concludes Ilaria – “because I think that the pump has become a symbol of independence for women. Once heels and bustiers were synonymous with female submission, today they are synonymous with freedom. According to a survey by Lyst (a fashion search engine, ed), which appeared in the Wall Street Journal, online searches for heels and bustiers have increased”. The Pump Factory Milano is on the right track!

Flavia Colli Franzone