The future of leather? It’s called “wet cleaning” by Biar
by Stefano Ferrio
The growth of this Milanese company that for nearly forty years has produced biochemical products for professional laundries to use in cleaning fabric and leather garments is based on the concept that “small is good”. And today it’s also teaching that art to dry cleaners in European and non-European countries.
Biar was founded in 1975 with the aim of providing products and services for cleaning leather and fabric garments to the laundry industry. With more than thirty-eight years in the business Biar, based in Senago (Milan), in via Francia 7/9, has evolved both technically and commercially. Years of experience in the industry and choosing highly-qualified partners quickly endowed Biar with a reputation, among its customers (and suppliers), as a truly capable technical and practical provider that excels in problem-solving and skilled assistance. Over the years, Biar has re-imagined itself by keeping pace with (and even anticipating) changes in the market. Thanks to some key commercial agreements, and by setting its sights on a balanced expansion strategy, Biar is able to provide complete solutions from products to application processes. Today Biar is a cutting edge company that places customer satisfaction at the core of a strategy that is of mutual benefit. Biar is a modern company whose corporate philosophy is focused on high reliability and technological innovation. In-house labs allow the company to pursue chemical research and analysis of raw materials geared toward new product development with particular emphasis on environmental issues and high quality standards. In addition, thanks to its in-house application testing center, Biar primarily tests its own products, providing detailed instructions on application methodology. Training and updating courses on the use of products and new technologies are conducted regularly at the application center.
Based in Senago, in the Province of Milan, Biar shows us what the present moment of cleaning looks like for leather – ranging from the use of hydrocarbons to water wash, and from dry cleaning to wet cleaning, up to the finishing process for the garment ultimate treatment and care.
At the same time, at a recently-organized seminar for the owners of 20 Russian laundries, Biar also pointed the way to the future of leather and how it is cleaned. New products, new methods, and top-of-mind priority applied to the concept of public health that no private company can afford to ignore.
But, not surprisingly, Biar also celebrates the collective memory of leather’s past that belongs to generations of world citizens. How could we forget Fonzie’s unmistakable jacket in the iconic television series “Happy Days”? Or the provocative mini-dresses popularized by Raffaella Carrà on Italian Saturday night television? Or even the polished leather costumes in which the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin writhed to the beat of the purest ‘70s rock and roll?
Times have changed, as they point out at Biar. Yet there is still a market for leather, populated by tanners and professional cleaners who are sensitive to how production processes, trends and distribution systems affect sales, tastes and use by consumers who still love to wear suede, nappa, or studded leather jackets, or trendily chic leather cover-ups over evening clothes, and shearling or “nubuck” coats to stave off the toughest winter temperatures. Garments that require cleaning by professionals specialized in cleaning leather goods and equipped to meet their specific needs.
This is the increasingly selective and diversified world of today where the brands that stand out are those with a perpetual ability not only to adapt, but also to manage change through inventions, variations, and solutions that embody creativity and cost-effectiveness, with an eye to safeguarding the environment and the needs of a global community increasingly focused on consumer product safety.
It’s all part of the DNA at Biar, whose products for the care of leather clothing have narrated, for almost forty years, the story of an entire manufacturing sector, from the perspective of a company that continues to invent and patent, formulate and market biochemical auxiliaries – technically, that’s what they are called – capable of breathing new life into clothing because they exude radiance, durability, wearability, and long life.
With special attention dedicated for many years now to the tanneries and their specific needs, Biar has consistently developed and supported leather garment cleaning professionals. In fact, technical assistance has always been a key factor in the company’s philosophy.
At the same time, at a recently-organized seminar for the owners of 20 Russian laundries, Biar also pointed the way to the future of leather and how it will be cleaned.
This kind of corporate insight originated with Biagio Arrivo (his initials form the company name) who saw the potential in 1975, during the boom era of leather — equally popular in high fashion and ready-to-wear garments. Today that insight continues to be a driving force at Biar, handed down from Biagio, now retired, to the capable hands of his daughter Monica Arrivo, and son-in-law Alfredo Castelnovo, who are responsible, respectively, for the company’s general management and sales. Their success still operates on the premise that “small is good” which, in addition to family, also means a family environment. One that relies on the expertise and the humanity of tanning division manager Giovanni Gola, also known as “The Prof”; technical-sales manager Moreno Torra; research and development manager Anna Maria Fasoli; and sales office manager Katia Beraldo. Last, but certainly not in order of importance, the team in the production department, including warehouse and shipping, who all work together to complement and support the corporate lifeblood that is the manufacture and sales of a product designed for excellence – down to the finest details of packaging and labeling.
“If we want to define a symbolic starting point – says Monica – everything began with the creative insights of Pig Pel, a specially-designed line of water-based dyes and pigments for nappa and smooth hides. Since then our production range has expanded considerably, but still applies the tenets around which our corporate philosophy revolves: the concept of health as a priority, our customers seen as a partners with whom we work to find the best solutions for their specific type of business, and undivided attention focused on new processes for finishing and marketing leather.”
Ideas that constantly drive development at Biar, which currently boasts a catalog that reads like a condensed encyclopedia of an entire industry. Stand-out item is its specific leather “wet cleaning” water wash product called “IDRO BIO WASH” that uses very eco-friendly ingredients to cover an almost universal range of combined needs: degreasing detergent (Delavon Sol 50), polishing-finisher (Ledermatic), softening fattener (Biofat), sequestering and unifying agents, liquid dyes (Tin Leder), a powerful emulsifying leather detergent (Bioclin 59), dye-fixer, and water repellent treatment (Hydrostop).
Without, however, failing to mention other product lines that make Biar a kind of a one-stop partner in providing biochemical auxiliaries, ranging from specific products for carpets to reconditioning fabric softeners, from special aids to specific spot-cleaners, soap builders and fabric softeners. With dedicated production specifically for tanneries as well as professional leather cleaners.
“Spectacular growth, sometimes paid dearly in terms of sacrifices, but nonetheless exciting – concludes Monica Arrivo – accomplished not only by investing in ourselves, but also with what I’d call unwavering hope in the kind of progress that is crucial to this entire industry in terms of quality of work, public health, customer care, and respect for the environment”.