Ilaria Blarzino is working at Brentaflex, an artisanal company producing high-quality mattresses.
After several experiences in important companies like Safilo and Geox, she decided to go back to the origins, of her family business, where she concentrate on Sales, Marketing and Development.
Along with his brother, she is trying to bring her innovative ideas to this industry, and the use of 3D visualizations, not only for the catalogue but also in the production draws, is part of this vision.
At Brentaflex the keyword is quality, and it cannot be different for a company Made in Italy who works in this field for more than 50 years.
Wanna know more about Ilaria and Brentaflex? Take a look at the interview below, and visit the website www.brentaflex.com
“I was looking for a 3D visualization service for our new product catalogue, and a friend of mine recommended Paolo. After I send him a brief, he gave me proper feedback and his quotation was inside our budget. Having 3D realizations for the product catalogue helps a lot and it’s very modular.”
Marketing & Development Manager @ Brentaflex
Paolo: Hey everyone, Paolo here and today I have Ilaria at Brentaflex, ciao Ilaria, she is in Cittadella here in Italy, and we are going to see how Ilaria promotes their products using 3d visualization. So could you please, introduce yourself and your company?
Ilaria: Yeah, absolutely. Hi, this is Ilaria, I’m actually 38 years old and I just joined my family business, in the last year. So it’s a new challenge for me. I’ve been working for 10 years in, uh, let’s say bigger companies and mainly into product development and business development. So these are the two, uh, let’s say competencies, I’m trying to bring to my family business. Brentaflex is a family business since 1968. It’s a small artisanal company. What has changed the most in the past, let’s say more than 60 years is the thing that, artisanal Workshape in the past was something like rural or rudimental. And now it’s something getting more sophisticated and very keen to details. This is mainly the description of myself and the company.
Paolo: So who are your clients? And, how long have you been working for Brentaflex?
Ilaria: Actually one year and a half, even though it has always been my family business. So I actually, I grew up, listen about mattresses, beds and all this kinds of stuff. I work with my brother that he also joined the company one year and a half ago. And so we are starting to, you know, see if we can face this challenge together. We are still working with the family, so my mom and my uncle still manage the company. What the Brentaflex stands for is producing and delivering for mainly B2B. So I’m talking about furniture resellers. I’m talking about hotels and contract suppliers. All the things that are related to mattresses and bedding solutions. This means that, 80% of our business is B2B. Half of it is related to hotel and contract, so fireproof materials and the rest to, let’s say kind of home collection for the resellers or mattress shops, because sometimes the vast majority of mattresses you see in mattresses stores are produced by other suppliers.
Paolo: So, there is something unique about your products, different from the others?
Ilaria: It’s very hard to say in the sense that as you may suppose, in all the categories there are very little point of differences nowadays, the thing is that, the problem is you make to your, let’s say customer. We are trying to keep, essentiallity as our main feature. So we try to granted the best value for money product and positioning ourselves in a medium to high, segment in terms of price and product positioning. This is because we, let’s say we give up on a super vast, variety of products, trying to focus on a smaller range, not that small, but actually a smaller range and try to maximize our let’s say impact on product giving, essential, but high quality solutions.
Ilaria: Okay. So I got a degree in foreign languages and then I’m moving to a master’s degree into, innovation management, because I was trying to merge different competencies, trying to move into a more company kind of approach. So I have my first five years in Geox, the profile was merchandising area and I was managing the footwear, the women’s footwear business. Let’s say this job was mainly related to, brief, analyze develop, and then present and support the collection development and support the inside staff for retail stores in merchandising selections, and then ensure all modifications to the collection for the future collections in order to meet either the strategy goals or, economic results. These five years were very, very important, but mainly focus on marginality product and let’s say merchandising. The second part of my experience was five years in first licensee business in Saphilo was managing the eyewear line for Fendi. And then I have a kind of double responsibility. And then I joined completely and lead the cross-functional team of Polaroid eyewear. And so that, that was much more into communication marketing. Also, the product development was within, but still the majority of activities was in let’s say, uh, managing the manufactural team.
Paolo: So you have a really great background, that go in different directions, so you can manage a bit of everything also right now I think.
Ilaria: Yeah, there are still challenges because, you know, when you lead the company are a lot of other stuff that I didn’t have the opportunity to meet, but I have good supports. And then I have decided to invest money rather than try myself to do things that I don’t know, this is the main reason why also we actually had the opportunity to work together for, because what I really understood in my 10 years of experience was that there are things that you need to pay to be done and to be done for good. So this is the main differences and the thing that I will try to change in the approach, the artisanal company works here.
Paolo: Yeah. I also think is a really good approach, so. I would like to better understand what are the problems you face daily, like the bad parts of your work, if you have some frustrations.
Ilaria: First, culture. Culture is the main difficulty, because, the place where I would love to work in is a place where mistake are something you can adjust, is always something that you can fix, it’s not something about looking for who’s guilty for that mistake. The second part is about, investing money. I think that we are much more luckier, lucky today. than what our parents were, and there are so many independent, small businesses that can support you from marketing to safety, from insurance to, I don’t know everything. And so it’s a really a matter of investing time and a little bit of our, I don’t know, uh, mind to, look for suppliers. We can use the relations, we can use other’s feedback. We can use the web, we can use actually everything, but I think that we have these opportunity to look for partners, to reach our role in reach our product and reach our services. And this is something we must do. So the thing about the culture itself is that I will love to influence that culture, that we have the room and time to find help and be helped by others. And then, you know, start new relationship that could be like, doublest, no? So we can exchange the competencies and money and stuff.
Paolo: Do you remember how you find my service?
Ilaria: Yeah, absolutely, friends. That’s why I was telling about relationships. So I have a friend that is a graphic designer and I will ask for a specific help for this kind of 3d visualization for our new product catalog. And then I just chatter. And then she dropped me your address so that I think she was given by another friend. So friends like.
Paolo: Okay. So, we speak and why you decided to give me the job?
Ilaria: I think that it’s always a bet. I mean, you can select your supplier. You can decide to choose a partner through, let’s say a reliable relation like mine, but at the certain time you have to bet. So I send you a kind of brief, you give me a very proper feedback and this is always very reassuring for me because the, one of the strongest thing is when you, I mean, I invest my time to be very specific in my brief, and they get a super general feedback, this is not reassuring at all. So if you come from a connection of my relation and then I send you a brief and you give a proper feedback, and then I think I can afford the budget, and this means that is not too low, not too high, because the biggest problem, the other biggest problem, is when you receive, a too low budget. This is something that is not again reassuring for me. So it needs to be like these three checks are three good checks for me.
Paolo: Okay, great. So now let’s speak about the results. Were you happy about the results and working together?
Ilaria: I think that I would have the opportunity to start earlier, because when we got in connection, we, I was very, tied to the deadline that I need to send all the materials for, because I was enthusiastic about the job we did together. So I would love to have more time to get more assets. I think that it’s a great tradition in mattresses to have a 3D realizations for product catalog, because it helps a lot and it’s very modular. So you can really, sometimes mattresses really shares a lot of components. So it’s very helpful rather than have pictures to have this kind of work in your catalog. In the future, I think it would increase these part of components. And also I think I would invest more time, because you know, you can work on, in my opinion, you can work on two levels. One is symbolic. So you get a kind of a tier one level of 3D visualization. And then you can work on really qualitative effects to reach textures, to reach, you know, the fabrics to reach thousands of other things. And I think that in the future, I would invest more to also get this kind of assets because they are very, very important in our job. And then they can help you throw out a year to build a lot of other materials. And this kind of quickness, this kind of elements gives you really a competitive asset.
Paolo: So can you tell us just a bit more, where and how you use the 3d visualization?
Ilaria: Yeah, I was ready for that now, but I would just give you an example. Okay. So this is not the only place where it is, but for example, So we had the opportunity to, use these 3D ones in our product catalog and in all the product chart we have. Then we have some technical sheets that are, for example, for production. Because we always use very traditional stuff, like old photos and pictures. And then we decided once we had these 3D visualizations to improve, also the visualization for the production. So we build a kind of product manual to help better understand each product, because what sometimes happens is that suppliers can change like colour of things. This is super strange for other industry. But for example, for our industry for foam products, big companies can change the color. So sometimes you have your product that has been shouted, and then they actually changed color you’re in production. And now with these kind of representation, we don’t have this kind of problem. We can always have all materials up to date, with no post production and blah, blah, because I know you can also work on photos, but work on photos is much more expensive and time-consuming than change the colors of the part itself on the rendering.
Paolo: Yeah. Okay. So would you recommend others to work with me and do you think I will be a good fit for a particular figure?
Ilaria: I think that I would recommend you to work with companies, and also with our, that is one small to medium companies. The person always in my opinion, needs to have some, capabilities and some features. First of all, one is reliability. I would say that you Paolo actually meet always the deadline, both in terms of budgeting than in terms of delivery. The second one is that you need to be legally available. I mean, I think it’s very important to agree with the partner, a certain number of review. So if I give you a work of, i don’t know, thousand Euro, okay, and I would suppose to have a couple of review. So once we have set a number of review, then the person on that specific number of review needs to be available and you were extremely available. And the third thing is that you need to understand that the person is working for that specific project, but has the ability to overseas a more complex project. And this is some of the feedback I got you from your work and also the attention to detail. So when you work with product, it’s very important to have like the sensitiveness and try to understand what for the client is important and what is not. So absolutely yes.
Paolo: Thank you. So, okay. So now tell me what is going on at Brentaflex. You have some new project or something is coming.
Ilaria: Yeah. I have in front of mine our kind of combine and I think I’m gonna cry. Um, you know, This is the other thing. I think a professional need to understand, um, when you meet a professionals from our kind of companies, that person is managing thousands of things from building stuff to people stuff to marketing stuff. So, now we have B projects because we are introducing new production machines. We are changing organizations and we are trying to invest a little more in distribution. So we have plenty. We have started a new test for digitalization of all the order because we have been working on paper for years. So there’s a lot to do. It’s working, it’s working good. But I would say that it’s very, very important. That’s why I was saying that it’s very, very important to find managers, not only professionals, technical professional, because you need somebody that helps you understand if
something is a small work or big work. And if it costs a lot or you are asking good things or bad things, it’s very, very important to have the partner. And I think, you were one of those.
Paolo: Would you have any advice for persons that are trying to start the business or something like that.
Ilaria: This advice I would give specifically on my main area of competence, that is marketing product development
and business development. So if you want to run a business, you need to be very cross functional. And this is first, but specifically, if you want to work on marketing, leading product development and business development, you need to work on briefing people. The most important thing is to understand, which is your objective. And then to try to declance from that objective the request you made to your colleague or partner and try to understand that if they got your brief, because otherwise you’re working useless. It’s very, time-consuming at the beginning when you are not used to stop and clarify with yourself with these, your object and where are you going to, but it’s going to be a super, super wasting time not to doing it. So what I would recommend is to slow down, focus on objectives and, you know, it needs to be bullet proof. So your explanation of the objectives and where are you going to, or where you want to go, needs to be very understandable for everybody.
Paolo: Good. Could you tell us where can people find out more about you and your company?
Ilaria: Absolutely yes. We have this website where you can find all the information about our products and stuff that is Brentflex.com. So Brentaflex.com, Brentaflex, so like the river. And so there you can find all the details. My name is again Ilaria Blarzino and you can easily find me on linkedin.
Paolo: Perfect. So it was a pleasure to speak with you. Thank you very much.
Ilaria: Thank you for this opportunity, it is very, very impressive that you’re doing like this job. Very, very impressive.
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