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Italian Angelo Carillo & Co. Expands to 30 Percent Exports as It Creates a Design Identity

February 13, 2019


Giuseppe Carillo, CEO, left, and Alessandro Carillo, brand manager, at Angelo Carillo and Co. in Naples, Italy.
Giuseppe Carillo, CEO, left, and Alessandro Carillo, brand manager, at Angelo Carillo and Co. in Naples, Italy.


NAPLES, Italy -- Angelo Carillo & Co. wants to expand its exports by 20 percent in the next three years, according to Alessandro Carillo, brand manager and third-generation owner of the Naples-based drapery, bedding, and upholstery wholesaler.

He says it is part of an ongoing strategy for the company. Five years ago, its exports were 10 percent, but that has grown to 30 percent today.

“Our goal is to be 50/50,” Carillo says. “We will do it in the next three years. The next step is America, the U.K., China, and the Middle East.”

Carillo adds there is another change for the company. Three years ago, it added its in-house design team: “We are not a converter because we make our own designs.”

At the company booth during Heimtextil, Carillo spoke about the family’s strategy for the company, the industry, and the company’s textile designs that will be shown during Proposte (April 15-17). The collection will include a stronger “burnout” effect, be fire-resistant and outdoors.

The company has a 30,000-square-meter facility in Naples with 120 employees, as well as 100 employees in other countries. It has annual sales of about 30 million euros ($38.5 million). Its brands are Reever, Riviera and Linea Oro.

Another trend involves Chinese sourcing. The company sources less than 20 percent today from China, down from 50 percent a few years ago. It sources mostly (55 percent) by Italian commission products, or long-term leases, according to officials.

Carillo’s answers may have been edited for clarity.

What’s your goal for exports?
“So, now what is Carillo? It is not converter, it is not producer. We create our own design. Carillo is the company that can solve the customer’s problem, because you can just come, choose your collection, you can pick up, and we can give you service also. To the small editors around the world, this is what we want for the export business.”

You are a fan of Apple founder Steve Jobs, so what lesson do you think he taught?   
“Sometimes, we are on the machine, making a new kind of article, and the man from production says, ‘No, impossible.’ I respond, ‘Let’s do it once more, let’s try to change this.’ For instance, we made a kind of burnout with linen, and already we introduced burnout with silk. So, we are the first one to do this. This is something different. We don’t know if the market will be, but when customers come here, we can say this is something new.”

How has your company strategy changed?
“The market is full of textiles, so we have to sell not only textiles to the world, we have to sell something more: service, price, and the story about our family. This is very important to describe because everyone can be cheaper than us, especially the Chinese, but if we tell our story to the final customer. To do this is not easy. We have to put our face in front. In the last three or four years, we are coming out with what we want with Carillo [designs]. What we want is to be a reference point for our customer.”

What do you mean by family story?
“When I say story, there are two ways. The first, each article we create, our designs, so each article coming out from Carillo, we build up step by step, from the color to the design. Each one of these has a story, together with the story of the company. To build trust with the customer, so they know they can come here and find a good product, with good service, with price, with a good family history. So, trust.”

How do you see the industry in each country you’re exporting to?
“We started last year introducing in the US. Why the US? Simple, it’s the biggest market. China is big. The UK, because in my opinion, it’s more fashionable now.”


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