The entrepreneurial adventure begins
I am Federico de Majo, I was born in Venice, I have always lived the warmth of the paternal furnace in which I worked until the early ‘90s. After that, I moved to the mainland and started my own business in the field of blown glass lighting. After ten years, this reality of ours has been acquired, it has been requested by an important Italian group that is currently involved in furniture and lighting and we have been acquired. We had great satisfaction in selling the company. I worked with this group for three years as a consultant and of course I also had a non-competition constraint, but since glass is my whole life and I had collaborators, I also had spaces that we occupied, but were not acquired, have not been sold.
I decided to continue an activity concerning glass, intended as glass for the table, starting a collection of wine tasting glasses that spoke Italian and therefore opposed a predominant situation that was occupied mainly by German and Austrian producers. This “Zafferano” was born just like a bit, as a pastime, but in reality the appetite comes with eating, success has accompanied us and, since I have profound knowledge in the subject, in the processing, I decided to extend the production also to colored decorative products. Therefore, we started the production of tumbler glasses, glasses, small objects, table components, always facing the Ho.re.ca market, which represented the maximum of our expression. However, we then said that the products had to become usable also for private individuals and we started the distribution of the Italy-world retail. The company is getting better and better, we have strung together a series of successes over the last five years that have led to a four-fold increase in turnover and therefore also thanks to the idea of selling lighting again, which was my natural origin, it is developing an excellent movement also on this channel. The table lamps that we have recently brought to the market have been an extraordinary success and we have come to export to 48 countries in the world. The company is a publisher in practice, we have 22 employees, we are quite happy with what is happening in recent times.
The money to start
So, the financial energy to get up to here came mainly from the sale of the shares I had in Murano from the glassworks. From there I started in solitude and continued the journey. It is clear that the subsequent sale of the company I had created on my own was a great injection of energy, of liquidity, to then continue with Zafferano in all serenity. This is a bit the way I did, I have always believed in my abilities, have always invested in the company, because, I repeat, we always invest in our knowledge that are those that really have value.
A negative and a positive event
There have been practically many positive events. We’ve come this far. One that I remember with extreme sympathy, in inverted commas, concerns that blue glass that I call “pearls” which then takes up an old Muranese work of the sixteenth century, which I brought back to a modern glass. A large company in Austria so liked to make a promotion with this glass and within six months we had to produce 800000 pieces. This was an extraordinary event for the company, because it clearly brought a very important flow of liquidity into the coffers and then allowed us to leave even more serene towards the market and the competition.
There are always negative events in the life of an entrepreneur, what I remember is the great crisis of 2008-2009, where the company sank, losing 60-70% of the turnover, but I believed in our possibilities, I invested again and we went ahead and got here now.
Doing business in Italy
It is difficult to do business in Italy, but it is a good bet and we have put the “chip” in it, in short, we remain here even if in reality we have received several times requests to move to some other neighboring country. Doing business in Italy also because I am Venetian, I continue a tradition that is millennial and therefore the glass, if you ask a Japanese where you stay at home and you say I am in Venice, it is something that certainly has an effect and then we have to tell stories , our stories are born here, continue here.
The key traits of an entrepreneur
An entrepreneur, what must be in reality, must be a visionary, this is the first thing, he must look where others cannot see with the eyes. We always have a hedge in front, if the vision of your eyes exceeds the hedge, you have already reached the goal, this is the main thing, in my opinion, for an entrepreneur who cannot have the limit of not seeing what must be his target.
We must never give up, we must also have a great ability to choose employees. I always say, when I do interviews with people who want to come and work with me, I look for someone better than me, not someone who wants to learn from me. Clearly then we help each other, we collaborate, I always listen to everyone and then I make my decisions. In principle, in this way, I always listen to everyone, I make a nice “pot-pourri” of the opinions of others and then I draw the conclusion that I consider most appropriate.
The future for the new generations
What I feel to say about precisely the young people who are now facing the world of work or who intend to become entrepreneurs, want to embark on a vessel that hardly navigates in calm waters, because it is not easy, the entrepreneur is always at the forefront never has a goal achieved.
The important thing is the passion, the first thing is that: if a young man starts with the passion, with clear ideas he can certainly get there. Money is also needed, but if ideas are valid, there is also the system of financing them. In my view there are various situations that have manifested themselves in recent years, where young people have managed to express themselves because they had the winning idea and had the passion.