supply chain

Third Covid-19 Lockdown: ‘Made in Italy’ Brands Are Ready

Some retailers’ supply chain operations aren’t yet affected.
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Francis Scialabba

· less than 3 min read

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One year after bringing “nationwide lockdown” into the pandemic lexicon, Italy reinstated lockdown measures to combat a third Covid-19 wave.

The good news: Brands known for their “Made in Italy” tags told Retail Brew the latest restrictions won’t halt production like last year.

  • Cheryl Kaplan, president of accessories and footwear brand M.Gemi, said that the latest restrictions have affected factory workers and corporate staff in its Florence office differently, but production hasn’t stopped.
  • At footwear brand Sarah Flint, CEO Mary Beech said its supply chain is fully operational. Same goes for Everlane’s Italy operations.

The better news: The minimal disruptions of today came from adjustments Italy-based brands made during lockdown 1.0. Those include...

  • New shipping routes. “One of our first moves was shifting from boating products to airing products in order to combat increased production times,” Beech told us.
  • Local hires. “We've built a team on the ground in Florence, Italy, to better facilitate the collaboration,” said Coral Chung, CEO of handbag brand Senreve. “It’s incredible how a strong working relationship can positively impact the business.”
  • Edited product drops. Sarah Flint shifted to limited-edition footwear styles; M.Gemi moved to preorders with longer lead times.

Ready for takeoff

Millennials traveled to Italy for their shot at a Lizzie McGuire Movie moment; DTC brands went to Italy for local craftsmanship and materials. But tying production to a single region limits flexibility, causing some brands to collect new passport stamps.

Flying out: Where Senreve finds organic growth, Chung said supply chain ops follow. “In the last year, our business has shifted dynamically with 50% outside the US, so it's more important than ever for all of us to have a global mindset,” Chung told Retail Brew.

  • Meeting demand for new product categories required partners beyond the Tuscan sun—first, a new factory in Cádiz, Spain.
  • Senreve is also building its team in Asia, reflecting rising sales on the continent.

Staying put: Beech told us Sarah Flint has “retained our commitment to 100% production in Italy.”

M.Gemi isn’t planning to leave Italy either, out of loyalty to the local workshops—often multi-generational family businesses—that make its products. “While other people are leaving, we'd rather find ways to work with these artisans,” Kaplan said.

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