When Andrea Boragno took the position of CEO at Alcantara, the company had been through some tough times and he was tasked with turning its fortunes around. “There was an issue of credibility, together with a problem of brand positioning, so there were several things to do. The first was to reduce costs, which is easy. However, repositioning the brand takes time. In that first year, in 2005, we saw a reduction in costs, but we didn’t increase sales. In fact, our sales continued to drop by about 15 per cent. In 2006, we started to see the light at the end of the tunnel and sales began to improve. The brand at that stage was positioned as a functional brand, but that turned out to be a big mistake, as we were missing a huge opportunity.”

Andrea could see the potential to reposition Alcantara as a unique product. “There was a demand in the market for something exclusive, fashionable and also beautiful in an emotional and sensual way.”

“At the same time, we adhered to the concept of sustainability. Obviously implementing this concept was a revolution for the company, involving the whole organisation: the manufacturing, technical and R&D structures at the first stage, and then also sales, design, marketing and communications.”

A key point is that Alcantara views sustainability as an opportunity, as opposed to just a cost; which is pretty much the view of the industry. In fact, it has been a key part of Alcantara’s competitive strategy; a significant part of the added value of the brand comes from the company’s serious commitment to sustainability.