The entrepreneurial adventure begins
I’m Alfredo Ramponi and I’m the founder of Ramponi SpA.
My company was born in 1988, from my great passion, precisely the passion of minerals. Since I was a child I have always collected minerals and at the age of 24 I started to transfer my passion into reality, reproducing the minerals in precious stone, in synthetic crystal. The company after the first few years of work, specializing in the world of stones and “rhinestones”, keep in mind that with regard to the term “rhinestone decoration” we mean the application of stones on a fabric. At the time this operation was carried out completely manually, at present we instead have completely robotic machines which, by means of a design requested by the customer, are placing precisely the stones, the rhinestones on the drawing previously agreed with the customer.
The company started its great career in 2008 in the production of ABS studs, precisely the metal studs are imitated and applied using a metal nail. We were lucky enough to work for a very big brand in the world of luxury, mainly in the world of footwear and leather goods and since 2008 we are still their suppliers. Over the years we have become suppliers of other important “Maison”, following both the production in the world of footwear and in the world of clothing.
As for the company, over the years it has expanded more and more, incorporating various departments within the company, namely the embroidery, laser and stapling department, and above all the application department that has become a bit like the flower all eyelet of our company. In particular, they can be declined in various finishes: stapling, embroidery, hand embroidery that we have just inserted and embellishing the clothing and leather goods with the latest novelties of our productions.
The company currently occupies 5,000 square meters and employs around 80 people. I note that in 1988, when I started, I started in the garage of my house in 50 square meters, I say that 5 is a number that brings me particularly luck.
The money to start
When I started in 1988, I had little money. So it was my great desire to undertake the entrepreneurial activity that encouraged me above all to make great debts and through these debts, which have always been fortunately repaid, the company has begun to increase its productive capacities, always investing every year the various profits that the company has always made.
This is probably one of the successes I can say, in short, of having always recognized a small personal emolument, but the profits of the company have always been invested, reinvested precisely in the acquisition of cutting-edge machinery, as far as our work is concerned.
I remember that in 1988, when I began my first steps as an entrepreneur, one of the big problems was the cost of money, the money was paid around 23%, currently the rate is considerably lower. So a hope that could be given to those who want to do entrepreneurship, could be to try to have their own idea and invest it with rates that are so favorable at the moment.
A negative and a positive event
A beautiful positive event that I remember was right at the beginning. A very big company in the clothing sector in my area called me, asking me to put rhinestones on 800 meters of fabric, using a technology that they thought I had. I was summoned and I didn’t have the slightest idea where to start, but I said I was able to do it, but I didn’t have the money to start. Then, this company of great name, gave an envelope in my hands, in which was inserted a check of 50 million of the old lira (about 25000 €) for the purchase of the raw material. They were stones of the “Swarovsky” and we say the greatest satisfaction was precisely that of seeing the trust that had been placed in me.
I experienced a negative situation at the very beginning of my life, when as a good salesman I used to go from company to company, no one knew me and often the appointment was not even fixed for me, also because, precisely, my name was unknown, so they didn’t pay attention to the article I wanted to offer, to propose. But probably it was my, let’s say, desire for revenge and to show that I had a very valid product, I really continued for years and in the end I managed to arrive, to be a name in our world, it is said to be very important and known.
Doing business in Italy
My company is located in Carbonate in the province of Como and we are a few kilometers from the Swiss border. Years ago I had proposals to go with my company across the border, because there are very big tax breaks. As a good Italian and above all in the world of fashion, where Made in Italy is fundamental, I felt and still believe that I remain in Italy precisely to give that value that Made in Italy is recognized worldwide. During the year we do 14 fairs around the world and the pride I always bring home, referring to my collaborators, is to hear abroad that we Italians have that extra value, that added value that fortunately in the fashion world we are the only ones to have.
The key traits of an entrepreneur
The characteristics that an entrepreneur must have, in my opinion, are the immediate decision and above all to be very imaginative, very daydreaming, I have always said. Thinking about being able to carry out a project and in the moment in which it is talked about, see the possible realizations already and even see the finished article. This is a, let’s say, prerogative that I think all Italian entrepreneurs should have. Often and willingly you have to risk yourself, but in my opinion it is, let’s say, being the fulcrum, it is the fundamental part of a real entrepreneur.
The future for the new generations
A message that I often leave to young people is to believe in their ideal, a desire to do in the working world, a very precise dream and daydreaming. The desire to create an article, the desire to enter the world of work must absolutely not limit them in their choices, but above all they must have that spur that will take them, if they will logically commit themselves, for their journey to excellent results, as fortunately it is happened to me.