Foto Shoe trade magazine has published an article concerning the Italian emergent Chiara Bellini brand consisting of PVC shoes and fashion accessories. Hereinafter you can read an extract of the magazine article:
"It all began in 1927 in Mantua, in an agricultural zone belonging to “Lower” Padania which, with the arrival of winter, made it difficult to find work outside of the brick kiln factories employing most of the area’s habitants. However, the young entrepreneur Giovanni Bellini had an idea, an idea that from thereon out would change his life and take him far: to use the great supply of poplar wood in the area to his advantage, and recycle the rubber used in bicycle tires to create clogs with a nailed upper, which could then be sold ‘door-to-door’ in a fifty kilometer radius.
Accordingly, he creates an immediately successful company, and not long after, a small footwear store is opened.
In 1967, the Maresca (Mantua Resin Footwear) brand that we know today is launched, specialized in the production of PVC sandals and boots.
To this day, passion and tenacity are an integral part of this company, with a pinch of the Bellini family’s geniality, and in 2000, the entrance of its fourth generation into the company was celebrated. At the head of the company, we can find Giovanni Bellini, Sole Administrator, with his partner and brother, Armando, and Giovanni’s three children: Lorenzo, with a degree in Business Economics, who is the Marketing Manager; and Michele and Chiara, with high school diplomas as footwear stylists-pattern makers from Milan’s Ars Sutoria school, who are currently the Technical Designers of Maresca in the ‘PVC’ and ‘sanitary slip-on’ areas.
“In 2005, the market had come to a crossroads,” –Lorenzo Bellini tells us, “- that pointed towards the segment of safety footwear, which was chosen by many of our competitors, or the luxury sector, which at that time was a niche market. We chose to go in the latter direction, creating items in PVC
destined to the most important names in high fashion, and the results proved our choice to be correct. In 2010, the luxury segment accounted for 70% of our turnover, with a record company turnover of more than 13 million Euros”. “However, it was not easy”, – continues Lorenzo Bellini, “ – Our machines were conceived to produce large quantities and this was not conducive to the production of small luxury quantities. Additionally, we went from a range of
colors that was largely made up by the black, blue, and green of the hunting and fishing boot and seaside sandal, to a range of Pantone colors, which today counts more than 4000 different shades, representing a significant investment, both in terms of the line of models and in the creation of sample runs”.
However, as with all company and human histories, this was naturally not the only moment in which the company found itself at a crossroads, which required an important decision to be made regarding its future. Another important moment arrived in 2010 when, faced with a record turnover linked to the exponential growth of the luxury market, the Bellini family asked itself if the time for expansion had arrived. “After careful reflection, we voted on a ‘timeout’ for a few years to see how the situation evolved, trying to make the most of the situation with the actual dimensions and workforce already in place, and this allowed us to not pay too high of a price with the arrival of the economic crisis, which instead had repercussions on our competitors”, continues Lorenzo Bellini.
Today, the luxury industry represents 40% of Maresca production, while the remaining 60% is represented by the production of PVC slippers and leather soles with the Saniflex brand.
In any case, it is the experience matured in almost 10
years of specialization in the luxury market, which has allowed Maresca today to launch a new ambitious project: the creation of the new Chiara Bellini brand destined to the medium to high-end and luxury markets, which after a trial run in 2013 in the Russian market, will debut this coming august with a bona fide collection for the Spring Summer 2015 fashion season at theMicam. “The name Chiara Bellini is a tribute to our sister,” – comment Lorenzo
and Michele, “– who in 2013, when we were working
on the creation of this new brand, gave birth to her second child, Margherita. Additionally, we wanted a name that would bring to mind the Italian spirit of a 100% Made in Italy product”.
Chiara Bellini, in fact, is dedicated to the highend segment of the market with a PVC product that has been crafted and entirely finished in Italy. “The Chiara Bellini product”, – Chiara tells us, “– is a very meticulous product from a stylistic point of view and in its details, characterized by a combination of PVC
with other materials, like leather and metallic accessories.
The footwear line is completed by original ‘ball-shaped’ and ‘city’ bags, which are once again made of colored PVC. Young women and men, who love to play and be daring with fashion, are the main targets of this line, but in the collection there are also products aimed at a certain ‘continuity’. These products are meant to be worn every day, either at the seaside or in the city, and are fashion products that are very far from the classic rain boot or beach sandal proposal”.