La Sportiva is not merely a workplace. It was a place to hang out, make new friends and it offered the opportunity to travel.
by Floriana Deflorian
I am really happy to write about some moments during my early years at work, which I consider unforgettable. In spring 1959 I joined La Sportiva, which was at that time a small company. I was the first woman apprentice and Pia, Francesco’s cousin, was my teacher. During my first attempts I was so eager to learn and improve that I remember once telling her, ‘When I am as good as you at stitching, I will be the happiest girl in the world!’.
Opening my first pay slip was a great source of satisfaction: besides the money earned I found a note, written by Francesco, saying, ‘The average pay would be 10 lire an hour, but since you are talented you deserve 15 an hour.’
Here is another story: Francesco asked me to finish within the same day three new models of walking boots that he needed for a fair. At that time work was important, but going to church was as important and my two colleagues and I had a function to attend that afternoon. So we decided to do both things and after praying in church we went back to work and finished the three pairs of boots with great precision. We displayed the boots on the table and left. Francesco’s ‘Thank-you’ the following morning still rings in my ears.
All of this took place in Tesero, then we moved to Piera. I became supervisor and taught many girls how to stitch boots. The company was gradually expanding and improving its products. We worked hard, from Monday morning til Saturday afternoon, but I really enjoyed my job. I loved to be in touch with so many people as there was always a lot to discuss, create and talk about. Francesco sometimes gave us surprises like driving us to the fair of Milan, where he had his own booth or we went skiing together. He sometimes gave us a good discount on the sportswear and shoes he had in his shop and every year we used to celebrate San Crispino, the patron Saint of shoemakers. On that day he always offered us dinner followed by a dancing evening which would go on til dawn: it was really unforgettable!
I must not mention Narciso, whom with all his advice, and his reprimands too, was constantly present and caring. I worked at ‘La Sportiva’ from 1959 to 1970, when I got married. As I had the chance to live the first steps the company took and its initial progressive growth, seeing the level it has reached now brings me immense satisfaction. I have lovely memories of this working experience and Francesco was on one side my employer and on the other a great teacher and friend. He was always present and alert whenever there was a problem. His memory is unforgettable to me.
A souvenir photo during the San Crispino party.
One of the first times La Sportiva takes part in the MIAS fair in Milano.