The historic Milanese company aims at a product of excellence, in materials and design. The future is all eco-sustainable.
Making the creation of umbrellas an art, handed down from generation to generation. In Milan, the historic firm Francesco Maglia has been carrying on a family tradition since 1854, which over the years has become an Italian artisan excellence. “The umbrella maker in the nineteenth century was not a stable figure – says Francesco, owner of the company and direct heir of the founder – . There was no factory yet, but people traveled from town to town to produce and repair umbrellas “.
After studying law and a few months’ experience in London in an umbrella shop, where he learned sales techniques and familiarized himself with customers, Francesco returned to Milan to take over the reins of the company, which from 1860 to 2003 its address was Corso Genova, and then moved to via Ripamonti due to the change due to traffic.
Francesco Maglia is a luxury producer: «We have chosen to specialize and focus on quality with high quality raw materials – he continues -. The choice of materials is one of the pillars of production ».
«We use wood for 70% of our products – he explains -, which is imported from Indonesia, Japan, but also from America and Canada. These are exotic woods, but also European woods such as chestnut, hazel and ash. Not only. We also use typical Italian materials such as broom root, which comes from Calabria, Sicily or Tuscany, or elm, even if it is complicated to work due to changes in atmospheric conditions (the more acid rain due to pollution makes the wood, ed). For example, the last hundred days of drought will certainly cause a slowdown in the supply of chestnut to my supplier who bends the wood. “
«Ours is an eco-sustainable product, in every impact of the production cycle. The fabric lasts 40-50 years. By choice we use polyester which has extended duration as a guarantee, while English silk is treated with chemical products – underlines Maglia -. The product is then handmade in the Milan laboratory. To produce an umbrella it takes 70 to 110 steps by hand. There are eight of us in the laboratory. Ours is an almost zero kilometer production, the furthest supplier is in Varese ».
The company produces fabrics in Como, 10 km from Milan is the historic supplier of wood, with whom they have been working for three generations, and a second supplier in Varese. On the Lecco lake there is instead the company that supplies the metals.
The turnover is around one million euros. The production is 4 thousand umbrellas per year, which are sold through e-commerce, with a tailoring service in the company or in reference locations from Germany to Austria and the Netherlands, up to Japan, China and the United States. The sample collection consists of over 400 models and the company offers its customers a tailor-made service where one can express their personal style by choosing the fabric. “We embrace the ethics of targeted production. Since 2019 when I took over the company, we have brought the finished product warehouse to zero, to reduce waste, “he says.
The new projects are about the control of waste. Soon the launch of some products such as shopping bags, to completely cancel the fabric leftovers, but the company is also working on small products such as men’s cosmetic bags with companies in the leather sector to combine waste and create sustainability. A cobranding with Orient Express was also initiated in 2020.
As for e-commerce, the product is made in 24 hours, from order to shipment: “We have reached people in distant places without shops, such as Alaska and remote places in Australia,” he concludes. And the fabrics? They are designed on their own, inspired by the world of tailoring, like silk for ties. These are regimental fabrics, striped and pinstriped, classic Scottish, polka dots and houndstooth, but also solid colors.