As it was and as it is

While the world goes from analog to digital, La Sportiva moves from a handcrafted reality to an industrial one.

by Rosy Zorzi

My name is Rosy and my story with La Sportiva started in November 1995. I finished high school in the middle of July of that year and was taken on to work as an accounting secretary in view of the imminent transfer of the production headquarters from Tesero to Ziano, where the new premises were being built.

I can remember my first day at work as if it were yesterday. The office in Piera wasn’t very big, but had a wonderful view over the valley with plenty of light. There were seven of us altogether, excluding the members of the Dalladio family. Seven is unimaginable if you think of the more than fifty employed in the offices nowadays. I was full of good will, excited, with lots of ideas and really very little experience of the working world. I had such a will to work though and I remember feeling welcomed immediately into that great family which is La Sportiva.

I will never be able to thank Lorenzo enough for the trust he placed in me immediately and the opportunity he gave me to work beside some very special people, above all our president, Mr. Francesco, as he was respectfully known to everybody. It was a privilege to work beside him and I gradually became passionate about my work while learning so very much. His was always an example for me to follow. An example of commitment, seriousness, integrity, absolute dedication, sacrifice and passion for something which became more than a job for him but life itself.

Office work in the early years was very different from today with so many jobs done by hand, filling out registers, keeping daily records up to date. Business letters were typed out on a typewriter with carbon copies and even the address labels for despatch were typed out. The first evolution was the arrival of a photocopying machine. It sounds like a hundred years ago but in little more than twenty years there have been incredible changes.

I remember when the first computer was installed in the packing office, it seemed like science fiction. The computer was placed in the centre of the office and used in turn by those who needed it, causing anybody approaching it to feel nervous. Nowadays it is impossible to think about working without this precious instrument and some of us even have two now.

In the beginning, when the company was still small (we must have been only about fifty employees altogether) I remember lots of activities were organised for both the workers and office staff with much sharing of space and opportunities for getting together. Birthdays were celebrated in the factory and we also met up on Sundays for trips to the mountains, evening volley-ball tournaments, summer lunches in the mountain huts and at the same time building important friendships. Some of these activities continue to this day.

I think the good fortune of La Sportiva also lies in this fact: that we all felt united, connected: «Each one of you is very important and only if each of us does our best we can achieve excellence and go far. From the worker who glues on the soles of the shoes and the warehouseman who despatches them on time; to the clerk who follows the accounts and the manager of customers and sales».

Each of us felt important in a sense, a small cog in a large wheel, indispensable for its correct functioning. Perhaps this very passion meant that the products of La Sportiva have always been characterised by a high grade of quality and excellence.

I think it has been a great privilege for us of ‘the old guard’ to have lived what we have lived, to feel ourselves an active and important part of the company, managed to have had such a close and direct collaboration with our boss. This is what made us passionate about our work, a situation which could never be repeated for those starting off working here today. When I got married I asked Lorenzo to accompany me to church in his fantastic mint green Topolino vintage car. He immediately said yes, writing down the date in his diary. How many bosses would do that nowadays?

Inevitably today the situation is different. Because, growing up, some things done in the past are no longer feasible, also due to organisation and space. However, the Delladio family still organises the staff Christmas party and the annual dinner, when everybody meets up and is given discounts on products from the shop and receive presents from the family.

Finally, I remember Giulia as a little girl: she used to come into the office after school and ask if she could do anything to help, then we would get her to put stamps on the letters and file the invoices in numerical order. Her love and enthusiasm for her work was already evident and now I see her again as a young woman, who has travelled the world and carries the family business forward with pride and great skill.

I too believe I have grown a lot over the years, I have had the possibility of following various courses to improve my qualifications and I admit: I am proud to work in a company like this, as do many others. I am proud to have an employers who from the dream of a young cobbler who knew how to realise such an important undertaking, gives work to so many people and keeps the flag flying with the name of our Valley and Trentino.

What else can I say? My work over these past years has given me so much, I, too, hope to have succeeded in demonstrating my commitment and recognition over time. I wish Lorenzo, Giulia and Francesco junior to always have the courage, the farsightedness and optimism to make important choices like those which have been made in recent years and that the future may reserve for them and for us all another 90 years and more of satisfaction.