It would seem that at the beginning of the 20th century, inequality was rampant throughout the world, and the position of women in society was extremely difficult. Women took care of children and the household, and patriarchy flourished in society. Contrary to this belief, in the history of Italian business, including the fashion sector, Luisa spagnoli completely turned the industry around. Not only was she decades ahead of her competitors, but she also introduced a way of making yarn that was innovative for fashion.
In 1877, one of the most visionary women of her time, Luisa Sargentini, was born in Perugia, Italy. The whole world knows her as Luisa Spagnoli, the woman who managed to put a small town on the industrial map of the world in not one, but two fields simultaneously - confectionery and fashion. Luisa accelerated the evolution of the status of women not only as industrial workers, but also as entrepreneurs for half a century.
The future style icon was born into a family of fishmongers. Her father wanted her to continue his business, but she was not interested selling fish and seafood.
Bacio Perugina confectionery factory
In 1907 Spagnoli, together with Francesco Buitoni, Leone Ascoli and Francesco Andreani, opened a small confectionery factory. At the time of opening, the company employed 15 people.
Luisa Spagnoli's creativity, inventiveness and entrepreneurial skills led to the creation of Bacio candies in 1922, known all over the world. They were made with hazelnuts, which were plenty in the country. These candies are still popular today not only in Italy, but all over the world.
If at the time the factory was founded and it employed 15 people, after World War I, when workers all over Europe went on strike, the number of employees exceeded a hundred at the confectionery factory.How did she do it?
Louisa successfully used her entrepreneurial skills as well as her feminine wisdom. She devised a plan to improve her employees' living standards and implemented it. An innovator of her time, Spagnoli began to develop the factory grounds with houses for workers, recreational facilities, and a kindergarten.
While women were destined to the role of housewives, with the onset of the war many husbands were sent war. This situation not only made women to go to work, they also had to take on the role of the head of the family. The conditions that Spagnoli created for them helped them to survive the difficult times.
While other factories were closing, Luisa Spagnoli's factory was thriving. By the end of the war the company employed several hundred people.
Even today, the confectionary giant Bacio Perugina remains one of the most famous factories in Italy and the city of Perugia is known as the chocolate capital.
Luisa Spagnoli's entrepreneurial talent was not limited to candy. In 1928 Luisa Spagnoli entered the fashion industry. After one of her trips to Paris, she brought angora rabbits with her to Italy. No one in the country had raised them before, and that was a real innovation. What was also innovative was the way Luisa Spagnoli used them. She began making rabbit fur products without killing the animals.
The animals were not killed, but the fur was carefully combed out. The fur produced warm, airy yarn, and the yarn produced shawls, sweaters, coats and scarves.
The quality of the fabric, feminine silhouettes and elegant cut were immediately appreciated by Italian and foreign buyers. At that time, yarn was imported to Italy from Europe. It was of poor quality and the products made of it were not durable. The product that Luisa Spagnoli offered was innovative in terms of production, design and quality.
Luisa Spagnoli, the founder of the brand, never waited for the real triumph of her own brand. She died on September 21, 1935 due to throat cancer.
Spagnoli's painstaking work was continued by her son Mario. He transformed the business from an artisanal one to an industrial one - he equipped the enterprise with his own retail network exclusively for the sale of the products. The first Luisa Spagnoli boutique was opened in Perugia in 1940. It was followed by stores in Florence, Rome, Venice, Naples, Milan and soon worldwide.
Luisa Spagnoli today
Today the Luisa Spagnoli brand makes clothes not only from Angora wool, but also from textile, lace, silk, cashmere, satin and organza. Icons such as Sophia Loren, Gina Lollobrigida and Kate Middleton repeatedly appeared in Luisa Spagnoli clothes.
As for the brand's clothes, they are elegant and feminine. Luisa Spagnoli outfits are suitable for both everyday wear and social events. Surprisingly, she manages to bring out the best in a woman's image and excellent taste. Along with the admirers of the brand, professional agree with this as well. The brand was awarded the Leonardo Award for Italian Quality for the help in the development and strengthening of the status of Italian clothes.
Now the brand is managed by Nicoletta Spagnoli, the fourth generation heiress of Luisa Spagnoli. She manages to keep the traditions of the brand's founder and create iconic collections at the same time. Today there are more than 200 Luisa Spagnoli stores in the world, which are located in the most fashionable districts of each city.