“A population of poets, artists, heroes, saints, thinkers, scientists, seagoing staff, migrants”. As written in the epigraph engraved on the top of Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana in Rome, built by Mussolini to remind Italians of their virtues.
In this new pandemic scenario characterized by a huge GDP drop, a high unemployment rate, thousands of SMEs in bankruptcy “Naviganti e Sognatori”, a brilliant initiative on promoting local high-quality handicraft products started by Laura Cagnucci, is a typical example of “made in Italy” business resilience.
Laura is a young entrepreneur from Viterbo (80 km north of Rome); she holds a degree and master in Psychology and, in 2007 she started developing her passion in promoting Italian handicraft creations from young Italian talents. Eight years later she created “Naviganti e Sognatori” an online portal and shop for handmade accessories targeting female customers with a passion for high-quality fashion (from the precious Majo’s handbags to the beautiful Sassi Carta Forbice’s bijoux).
As Laura asserts: “We like beauty, quality at the right price, handmade with passion in Italy. We believe in quality objects, in beautiful people from our country, in creativity that makes the difference. In our virtual shop products are the result of slow and accurate manufacturing, because we believe that beauty is not fast. This is part of our concept, of our project to create new and contemporary artisan shops. Orders come from all over the world because the web is democratic and reaches everyone at an unmatched speed”.
“Naviganti e Sognatori” Vision and Mission are clear: the promotion of an Italian virtual shop full of Beauty where craftsmen creations are supported and valorized; it’s a contemporary evolution of Renaissance artisan workshops. The name is a significant epithet of Italian people (Poets, Seagoing Staff and Dreamers). It’s a “navigation” towards something new, through the web (a sea that can be navigated by almost anyone); it’s a “dream” because nowadays, searching and getting “zero kilometres” accessories and products in such a globalized market is almost impossible.
The selection of artisans partners is made by following strict criteria: handmade process, high quality of materials, fair price (not affected by testimonials and useless frills), local style (same as little local shops selling non-touristy handicrafts), “four seasons” accessories and unique & “poetic” articles. The registration procedure is really flexible (many brands are directly selected by Laura at several trade fairs) and the support offered to artisans partners is relevant: products selection, price/packaging strategy, creation of a gallery with brand’s history, promotion and social networking, sales account management and many more activities. As Laura mentioned, artisans contacting “Naviganti e Sognatori” usually require strong strategy support. In particular, packaging is not always seen as an investment but as a company cost: also the ecological aspect is very important, as demonstrated by “non-polyester bags” policy.
In conclusion, the undisputed visibility offered by “Naviganti e Sognatori” is coupled with the support of traditional Italian SME specialized in fashion accessories, in such a difficult period where even European institutions look so far from the local production realities.
Article edit by
Prof. Paolo Bongarzoni
PhD Vice Dean SSM ex Corporate Director