FULL OF IDEAS THE COMPANY
THE NAME FURPILE HAS BEEN SYNONYMOUS WITH THE CITY OF PRATO AND THE LOCAL TEXTILE INDUSTRY SINCE THE VERY FOUNDING OF THE COMPANY BY PIERO ANTONIO CAVICCHI AND CARLO ALBERTO NISTRI, THE BUSINESS AND THE TECHNICAL BRAINS BEHIND THE VENTURE, IN 1972 WHEN THE COMPANY TOOK ITS FIRST TENTATIVE STEPS IN THE THEN-DEVELOPING FAUX FUR MARKET. RIGHT FROM THE OUTSET, THE COMPANY’S FOCUS ON RESEARCH, NEW SOLUTIONS AND NEW IDEAS WAS ONE OF ITS MOST DISTINCTIVE FEATURES AND, INDEED, AS A RESULT OF THIS OPENNESS TOWARDS FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS, BY THE 1980S FURPILE HAD BECOME A MARKET LEADER IN THE PRODUCTION OF FLEECES. SINCE THEN, THE COMPANY’S ONGOING SEARCH FOR NEW SOLUTIONS AND NEW PRODUCTS HAS LED TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF THREE CORPORATE DIVISIONS: FURPILE IDEA, FURPILE MODA AND FURPILE MAGLIA. ALTHOUGH EACH OF THE THREE COMPANY DIVISIONS SPECIALIZES IN A SPECIFIC SECTOR OF REFERENCE, THEY ARE ALL NEVERTHELESS DRIVEN BY THE SAME ULTIMATE GOAL: ACHIEVEMENT OF THE UTMOST QUALITY. THE ARRIVAL OF ANDREA CAVICCHI AT THE HELM OF FURPILE IDEA HAS RESULTED IN A CONSIDERABLE ACCELERATION IN THE INNOVATIVE DRIVE WHICH HAS ALWAYS DISTINGUISHED FURPILE’S OPERATIONS.
ynamic, forward-looking, research-oriented and innovative, yet with its roots and production system firmly embedded in the local territory and absolutely no intention of re-localizing abroad, Furpile Idea has carved itself a unique position among the companies of Prato textile district for its ability to satisfy new market needs with a constant flow of innovative proposals. Located in Via Frediani, in the heart of Prato textile district, Furpile Idea is driven by a young, highly motivated staff whose ability to work as a team ensures that the company is always ready to “surprise” its customers with new solutions and ideas. Over the last few years Furpile Idea and its sibling companies, Furpile Moda and Furpile Maglia, have managed to renew their top management line ups with the introduction of a second generation of executives, whilst simultaneously retaining the experience and tradition of the old company directors, the majority of whom still play an active role in the company’s affairs. The energy brought to the company by the new management team has revolutionized Furpile’s approach to the market, its internal organization and its production system, yet the company still remains firmly rooted in the local scenario. Furpile Idea can now be considered one of the most dynamic companies in the entire Prato textile district, a company which draws strength from close relations with the local university and local research institutes and which makes quality its distinguishing feature. Indeed, it is no chance that all Furpile Idea’s products are certified by the Oeko Tex® Standard 100 label, a label which confirms their compliance with one of the world’s most stringent textile testing and certification systems.
C O M PA N Y
FOR THE FUTURE
THE FURPILE WATCHWORDS:
QUALITY AND SERVICE VERTICALIZATION OF THE ENTIRE PRODUCTION PROCESS ENABLES TOTAL PRODUCT CONTROL AND OPTIMUM CUSTOMER SATISFACTION
Sports event sponsorships, exchanges with the Prato Campus of the University of Florence and participation in innovative projects such as competitions for young designers are just some of the ways in which Furpile Idea has associated its brand with initiatives designed to encourage innovation and development in Prato and the surrounding area. Further confirmation of Furpile’s support of the local industrial district can be found in its decision not to delocalize any stages of its production process and even to bring back to Prato those few operations which were previous completed elsewhere. “First and foremost, it is a question of quality.” confirms Andrea Cavicchi, “By keeping the entire production cycle in Prato we are able to keep a careful eye on every stage of the process. But it is also a decision dictated by the heart. We believe that the knowhow and entrepreneurial skills developed in Prato and the surrounding industrial district are an extremely valuable asset and probably the key to our success, although, of course, we have had to adapt this knowledge to the new global context. This is why we take great pleasure in supporting initiatives such as the Play Trend project promoted by Prato Textile Museum, an initiative which has brought some of Europe’s best young designers to our company. Indeed, it is only through initiatives such as this that we can ensure Prato textile district and its products remain a prominent feature of the global market.”
lways put the customer first is a concept which may seem initially obvious or banal, but which is, in reality, extremely difficult to put into practice, especially in view of the fact that, over the last few years, customer requirements have become increasingly exacting and specific. ‘Quality’ and ‘service’ are the watchwords which resound through the offices of Furpile Idea in Via Frediani in the heart of Prato textile district, watchwords which reflect two essential points of reference in the company’s operations. Since his appointment as Chairman of Furpile Idea, Andrea Cavicchi has actively pursued the modernization and development of the services offered by his company. "Undoubtedly”, he explains, “our strength lies in the fact that we have verticalized our production process and thus now have almost total control over the quality of our products. Much of the work, such as carding – for which we use only virgin wool fibres - is performed in-house, while other stages of the textile production process, such as weaving, are completed by companies in which we have a participating interest and with which we therefore have much more than a simple customer-supplier relationship. The companies to whom we send our products for dying and finishing are also carefully selected from among the very best in the local district and we insist on having the right to send members of our staff to directly control the quality of their work whenever we feel such action is necessary. Finally all our products are verified in our in-house analysis laboratory in such a way that we can be sure of the quality and correspondenceto-specification of every item loaded onto our delivery trucks and sent out to customers.” The Furpile Idea dispatch system is another example of the Prato company’s innovative approach. Indeed, thanks to consolidated relations with the best shipping companies in the area, the company is able to ensure the promptness of almost all its deliveries, with practically every order being dispatched within a maximum of two weeks from the date of confirmation. In addition the company’s well-furnished stockroom enables Furpile Idea to offer smaller customers and clients operating in niche sectors the chance to take advantage of a stock service which enables them to order small quantities of textiles on a time to time basis. Similarly, Furpile Idea’s customization service, a service enabled by the company’s in-house graphics department and state of the art circular jacquard machinery, enables Furpile to satisfy customer requests for an almost infinite variety of patterns, be they original or chosen from Furpile Idea’s “textile library”, a collection of archives and sample books containing tens of thousands of textiles, each different in appearance, technological content, finish and pattern, which can be openly consulted physically or via computer. As Andrea Cavicchi confirms, “It is a service which very few companies in the district can offer, something which inevitably intrigues all those who come to visit us. Indeed, we are pleased to make the Furpile Idea textile library, a real and proper record of all the products created since the company first commenced business, available not only to our customers but also to any designers or students who wish to consult it.” ■
Any company as oriented towards innovation and research as Furpile Idea must necessarily be open to new ideas from the world of academia. Thus it comes as no surprise to learn of the close relationship between Furpile’s technical departments and the Prato Campus of the University of Florence, an ongoing and highly productive collaboration with the university laboratories, as well as its relationships with leading international textile research centres. Similarly, Furpile has also organized numerous work experience initiatives involving both the pupils from leading fashion schools and professional figures from Buzzi Technical Institute, the Prato Campus of the University of Florence (PIN) and the Prato Office of Occupational Training and Innovation (FIL). “Although we are fundamentally textile manufacturers,” says Andrea Cavicchi, “our collaborations with young designers provide a clear picture of the directions in which the market is heading and thus the future needs of the end users of our products. This is why we like to try out new ideas, pursue new ventures and study new solutions with these youngsters. Not only are such collaborations as reinvigorating as a breath of fresh air for the company, they also enable our customers to benefit from many new practical applications of our textiles. These have often given rise to interesting developments.”
IN SEARCH OF THE PERFECT TEXTILE EVERY SEASON FURPILE IDEA IS READY TO SATISFY THE LATEST DEMANDS OF THE SPORTS TEXTILE SECTOR, A SECTOR IN WHICH INNOVATION IS UNDOUBTEDLY THE KEY TO SUCCESS.
n a market sector in which the ability to present innovative ideas is undoubtedly a fundamental asset, Furpile Idea satisfies the demands of one of its most exacting customer bases with a constant flow of new products. Indeed, via collaborations with various specialized institutes and the laboratories of the Prato Campus of the University of Florence, the Furpile Idea research laboratories provide a regular supply of innovative textiles. Among many others, the company’s most recent new ideas have included a polygene fleece, an antibacterial textile designed to reduce unpleasant odours which will undoubtedly find widespread application in the manufacture of sports apparel, a 100% waterproof fleece for use in both the sports and the accident prevention markets, and a flameproof fleece which fully complies with the provisions of Regulation N531 regarding inflammable textiles, again a product which will find a wide range of applications in both the sports and the accident prevention sectors. Furpile Idea’s textiles are widely used in the manufacture of clothing for members of the Forestry Commission and the Inland Revenue Police, two customers who insist on both the very highest quality and its certification. “We supply many specialized companies operating in a wide range of sectors, especially in the sports market.” confirms the Sales Office of Furpile Idea, “The fact that our products are certified by the Oeko-Tex® label is thus extremely important as, for the type of customers we serve – especially in Germany and Scandinavia - the quality of the materials used is fundamental. Up until recently, our Italian customers have been less exacting, but this is perhaps because cer-
tain issues have only started to make headway over the last few years. Nevertheless, our customers are constantly demanding more and more specialized materials which, thanks to our in-house laboratories, we are able to satisfy every year with a new product.” One of the company’s leading sports sector products is undoubtedly the fleece, a textile used not only for lining jackets, but also for headwear, gloves and scarves. Furpile Idea produces a special type of fleece composed of two layers of fabric with a transpiring, windproof membrane sandwiched between, a textile which is perfect for the manufacture of jackets and sweaters. Another highly requested product is faux sheepskin, a textile perfect for lining not only of sportswear but also shoes and boots. Indeed, it is no chance that Furpile Idea’s customers include many manufacturers of ski-boots and other winter sports accessories. Yet Furpile’s textiles are not only used in the winter sports sector: a considerable percentage of the company’s sales is generated by the motorcycling sector, whose manufacturers are always on the look out for innovative and highly specialized products. ■
NEW IDEAS One of the most innovative products designed for the sports sector is undoubtedly the SUMA thermoregulatory fleece, a textile composed of a special fibre which keeps the body temperature constant by storing any excessive heat in such a way that it can be released when required. In addition to the active sports sector products, Furpile Idea has also developed a series of faux furs, products created via the use of special techniques such as Spazzaneve, a faux fur whose bass relief appearance is obtained by pressing the surface with a special cylinder and Discovery, a long pile faux fur embellished with a maltinto jacquard pattern. All Furpile Idea’s faux furs are produced in compliance with the most stringent environmental protection regulations and entirely made in Italy.
WARMTH and COMFORT FAUX SHEEPSKIN AND FAUX FUR LININGS AND EDGINGS CUSTOMIZED TO CUSTOMERS’ REQUIREMENTS
he footwear market is another sector in which Furpile Idea’s vast experience has earned the company a large slice of the domestic market, especially in the traditional footwear manufacturing regions of Veneto and Marche, although the company also enjoys profitable relations with companies abroad, particularly in Portugal. Obviously, Furpile Idea’s leading footwear sector products are faux sheepskin and faux fur linings and edgings (many of which are made of resin-coated textiles) although it also manufactures textiles for accessories and acrylic-wool and acrylic-polyester textiles for slippers. One of the most successful features of Furpile Idea’s production for the footwear sector is the fact that its footwear products can be customized with patterns and logos and that such customizations may be positioned on the textile in such a way as to facilitate both the cutting of the textile and the manufacture of the end article. Furthermore, Furpile Idea’s stock service offers its customers the chance to acquire small quantities of textiles from a vast and extremely varied range of samples thus enabling its smaller customers not only to avail themselves of the textiles necessary for their manufacturing requirements immediately but also to avoid having to buy large quantities of textiles. ■
Now applied to all Furpile Idea’s footwear sector textiles, Polygene is a special treatment designed to prevent the development of bacteria and thus to considerably reduce, if not entirely eliminate, the cause of unpleasant smells. Its secret is simple but extremely effective, as proven by a series of highly demanding laboratory tests. As far as Furpile Idea’s production is concerned, its main applications have been found in the footwear and sports sectors where it is applied to faux furs, fleeces and even woollen textiles.
TO OUR CUSTOMERS
The Olang label is synonymous with high quality footwear for mountain lovers of all seasons. Although the company is located in Montebelluna in the province of Treviso, the majority of its products are sold on overseas markets and its range of collections include the finest après-ski wear and the lightest summer hiking boots. Olang is convinced that the key to its success lies in the quality of its products, a conviction which makes the choice of the right supplier essential. “Furpile Idea has no rivals as far as quality is concerned,” admits the company’s owner Armando Sartor, “We have used them for many years as suppliers of both synthetic fur and wool lining textiles. Their products are always of the top-most quality, an indispensable requirement for a company like ours which has decided to market its products through specialized sales outlets rather than via the large scale distribution chain. In order to be competitive our products must always meet the highest quality standards, as must the materials we use to make them.” Yet it is not only a focus on quality which unites Furpile Idea and Olang. “As far as we are concerned,” Armando Sartor adds, “the reliability of our suppliers in ensuring punctual deliveries, product safety and correspondence to our requests is fundamental. Furpile Idea has always been extremely willing to listen to our needs and we appreciate their ongoing effort to provide exactly what we require.”
LITTLE DARLINGS: A PROTECTED SPECIES INTERNATIONALLY-RECOGNIZED OEKO-TEX® CERTIFICATION GUARANTEES PRODUCT SAFETY FOR CHILDREN taly and France are Furpile Idea’s two main markets of reference as far as the children’s sector is concerned. One of the most important features of the company’s production for children is the fact all its fleeces and boiled wool textiles are certified by the Oeko-Tex® label. Indeed, as a company spokesman confirms, “More than in any other sector, the fact that the authenticity and eco-compatibility of our products for children are certified by an internationally recognized certification board undoubtedly confers an added value on our products. Indeed, end-consumers in this sector are inevitably more aware of such aspects as they have a direct effect on the health and wellbeing of their children. This is the reason Furpile textiles have confirmed their position on both the domestic and foreign markets.” In addition to their certified quality, Furpile Idea’s products for children are almost exclusively made from natural fibres: wool, viscose, cotton and cashmere. Obviously the company’s most successful products for children are its fleeces which are used to make children’s clothing and accessories such as scarves and hats. One of Furpile Idea’s most innovative products is a special polyester-viscose fleece which is not only warm and comfortable but also extremely soft to the touch, a characteristic which has made it extremely popular with manufacturers, as well as easy to wash and quick to dry, features which are almost essential as far as children’s clothing is concerned. Furpile Idea also produces a wide range of cottonfaux sheepskin textiles for use in lining children’s jackets and for the manufacture of sweaters and hats. ■
ACCORDING TO OUR CUSTOMERS “A business relationship with a human aspect” is how Sabrina Coppini, Managing Director of Venturi Group, a children’s bed linen manufacturer from Quarrata, describes her company’s relationship with Furpile Idea. “Furpile Idea has supplied us with fleeces, knitted fabrics and faux fur textiles for almost ten years now and in all these years we have never had problems of any kind. However, what I would most like to stress is the fact that all its staff are always extremely willing to satisfy our requests and find solutions to any problems which may arise”. Venturi Group specializes in the manufacture of cot sheets, quilts, towels and bathrobes for children. Thus, the fact that the quality of Furpile Idea’s products is certified by the Oeko Tex® label is extremely important. “In our sector,” continues Sabrina Coppini, “the quality and safety of the product is fundamental. In this, Furpile is extremely dependable.”
MADE TO MEASURE
CUSTOMIZATION SERVICES THE STATE OF THE ART OF PRODUCT CUSTOMIZATION: FROM LOGOS TO CUTTING EDGE GRAPHIC SOLUTIONS
ACCORDING TO OUR CUSTOMERS Helpfulness and quality: these are the two words which first spring to the mind of Roberto Verdiani, owner of Diliar, a top of the range nightwear manufacture from Certaldo, when asked to describe Furpile Idea. Another important feature of the company’s modus operandi is its focus on research and thus its ability to propose new products. “As a manufacturer of top-quality pyjamas for men and women,” says Verdiani, “we must be able to ensure that our customers offered the very best from the points of view of quality and innovation. Indeed, the only way to safeguard the Made in Italy label is to invest in research and product quality. For us, Furpile Idea is undoubtedly an ideal supplier. It’s staff are skilled, market-aware and oriented towards satisfying their customers’ needs.” Diliar and Furpile Idea have worked together for over ten years. “We mainly work with fleece,” continues Venturi, “and over the last ten years have seen a continuous improvement in both the quality and the range of fleece products offered by Furpile Idea. The company’s real strength lies in its ability to propose new ideas to the customer.”
TO OUR CUSTOMERS
Furpile Idea’s ability to propose innovative textiles and an aboveaverage standard of service is the factor which makes the difference as far as Miroglio Group, a colossus of the Italian clothing industry, is concerned. As Maurizio Vanzetto, Buying Office Manager of Motivi, the corporate branch responsible for the Motivi, Oltre and Fiorella Rubino brands, “Our relationship with Furpile Idea is extremely well consolidated. They offer the most innovative textiles and the fact that they manage to stay abreast of the latest trends is extremely important as far as our work is concerned. Thanks to their continuous search for new solutions, they also come up with a lot of new ideas. In addition they are able to ensure top-quality service which is fundamental to companies like ours which supply the Italian market with products which require extremely rapid lead times.”
he wide range of jackets, coats, hats and nightwear created by Furpile Idea for the ladies’ fashion market has attracted attention from leading players on both Italian and foreign markets. Indeed, Furpile Idea has entered into real and proper business partnerships with several of Europe’s largest clothing manufacturers. The fact that the company is located in Prato textile district, makes a continuous effort to search for new products and solutions, and insists on the topmost quality have all been decisive factors in the company’s success. According to the Furpile Idea Sales Department, “Our strengths lie in the speed with which we are able to dispatch our orders - just two weeks from the date of confirmation - and the fact that we can customize all the products we offer, without, of course, forgetting the quality of our products which is guaranteed by an in-house quality control system and our ability to satisfy requests for even the small quantities, a service which manufacturers in sectors such as the headwear market find extremely useful.” As far as customization is concerned, Furpile Idea is able to personalize its textiles according to its customers’ specifications - which can range from logos to the most diverse graphic solutions - using materials supplied directly by the customer or by designing original materials in the company’s in-house graphic design studio. In addition the company’s stock service enables its customers to choose from a huge variety of materials and colours. Although Furpile Idea specializes in the production of woollen coats and jackets, its textiles, which are all created using tops (fibres) rather than yarns, also include mohair, viscose and cotton-based materials. One of the textiles most widely used in the manufacture of ladies’ clothing is boiled wool, a textile which can be cut raw and does not require lining. Thanks to the excellent quality-price ratio offered by Furpile Idea, this is one of the company’s leading products. Other important textiles produced by Furpile Idea are faux sheepskin, which is widely used in linings, and faux fur which is used extensively in the manufacturer of collars and edgings. However, as can be evinced from the company’s name, (the Italian word for fleece, pile, is clearly one of the components of the word Furpile), the jewel in Furpile Idea’s crown is the fleece, a textile which is used to make not only bathrobes and blankets but also accessories and sportswear. “Our strongest market,” says a Sales Department representative, “is the domestic market, especially as far as bathrobes and hats are concerned. Indeed we serve many companies in this sector’s main manufacturing region of Le Marche. Abroad, we sell well in Spain, Poland and Germany, although lately a number of British brands have also discovered our products.” ■
CERTIFIED QUALITY FURPILE WOOLS AND FLEECES ARE CERTIFIED BY THE INTERNATIONAL OEKO-TEX® LOGO, A UNIVERSALLY RECOGNIZED SYMBOL OF AUTHENTICITY
TO OUR CUSTOMERS
Piero Ferragina, a freelance fashion designer who works for many companies in the clothing and accessories sectors, knows Prato textile district extremely well. “Very few companies in Italy,” he explains, “and only a few companies in Prato are as able as Furpile Idea to combine such a high level of service with such a high quality standards. Furpile Idea’s verticalization of the entire production procedure ensures that each of its customers is flanked by a single member of staff throughout every aspect of its relationship with the company. This is a fundamental aspect of business relationships in the textile industry today”. Furpile idea’s business relationships go well beyond the traditional supplier-customer model. “We are living at a very peculiar time,” he says, “a time we can compare to a cold room. Alone in this room, we risk freezing to death. But together with others, we can hug each other and keep warm. In order to overcome the current crisis, we must work as a team, a team of different companies. The supplier-customer relationship must become a relationship of dialogue and collaboration. This is something Furpile Idea understood a long time ago. Unfortunately very few others have followed suit either in Prato and or in Italy as a whole.”
THE LABORATORY Furpile Idea’s in-house laboratory is undoubtedly the company’s jewel in the crown, a means of guaranteeing the quality of the company’s products which its customers have always widely appreciated. Furpile Idea was one of the first textile manufacturers in Prato to realize the role played by quality and product safety in ensuring privileged business relationships with retailers and leading brands and thus the first company to set up its own laboratory with a view to controlling the quality of every stage of its production process and consequently eliminating disputes with customers. Furpile Idea’s in-house laboratory has since reached such a high standard of analysis that it has been certified by a large number of leading Italian and foreign companies, enterprises which have recognized its ability to comply with their parameters and specifications, verified this compliance, and thus recognized the laboratory as if it were their own. “The decision to create an in-house laboratory,” explains Andrea Cavicchi, “was based on our wish to have certain elements to hand should any disputes arise. With time, we realized that we could also use the laboratory to ensure the quality of our products, to ensure a standard which now really and truly makes the difference in the marketplace. Our staff collect systematic proof of the quality of our products throughout the entire production process, and even control the quality of those few processes we have outsourced to external suppliers. The laboratory also enables us test our products according to our customers’ specifications, ensuring that all products loaded onto trucks for delivery are effectively just as ordered.”
warded to Furpile Idea in 2008, the Oeko Tex® Standard 100 label is the logo of a universally recognized system of quality control and certification. In order to be able to use the Oeko Tex® logo, companies must not only comply with an extremely rigid system of controls, but also to continue to meet a set of quality standards which ensure that its textiles are entirely free from substances which may be dangerous to human health. Controls are effected at every stage of the textile production process in such a way as to ensure both customer companies and end-consumers that the textiles produced are entirely free from potentially poisonous substances. Furpile Idea’s products are allocated to Product Class II and thus considered safe even when a ‘large part of their surface comes into direct contact with the skin’. Obviously Oeko Tex® certification is even more important as far as products destined to the children’s and the sports sectors are concerned, sectors in which product safety is essential. As far as the ecological and environmental compatibility of textiles products is concerned, the German and Scandinavian markets are the most exacting, although Oeko Tex® certification – which also guarantees the work of any third party suppliers involved in the textile production process – ensures that Furpile Idea meets the very highest quality requirements. “The costs,” explains a Furpile Idea representative, “are naturally higher as we only use certified products. Even our colourants are certified. However, in this way we are confident that the products we supply meet the highest ecological standards and, most importantly, generate no risk to the health of the end consumer.” ■
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