All the vigor and creativity of a family business lie behind the BG equipment that is exported from Rossano Veneto to a wide variety of customers worldwide. This beautiful story started out in the garage of father Guerrino and is now brilliantly carried on by son Daniele
Phone call from Sri Lanka to Rossano Veneto. There’s a topper that needs to be adapted to Sri Lankan trousers. The step from the mobile phone display to the computer video is so fast, that in the space of one day, the topper is adapted as needed and the deal done. Battistella covers the 8,000-km distance in real time and, with its BG-branded ironing equipment, is even more at home in Sri Lanka. The same has been happening in New Zealand, Brazil, Poland, Egypt and 40 other countries scattered around the world for years now.
Sacrifice, talent, adventure, family, an entrepreneurial spirit, a “global” vocation, interacting with people and markets. This simple parable about the Sri Lankan topper gives an idea of how flawless the “Battistella Ironing Equipment” story is. It is made for people who can find the story engaging, but also to explain the importance of the ironing industry along with the major changes in the textile industry, the developments in the laundry industry and, more in general, how a key area in the Italian economic landscape called the North East has changed over the past 20 years.
This important fact came up when Battistella celebrated 40 years in business one weekend by opening the doors of the Rossano factory, in the province of Vicenza, to invited guests from all over the world: customers old and new, importers, businessmen and managers from other laundry and textile companies. All fans of a company whose history revolves around female names, starting in 1975 with the adventure of Eva, the first glorious ironing board, to the present-day pomp of Circe, a standout in professional shirt-ironing, where ease of use, accuracy and fast ironing can be admired in a video on the company website.
These 40th anniversary celebrations were an unmissable opportunity. Firstly, because of the magnificent event planned by Battistella with a morning visit to the factory for invited guests, and evening entertainment with fine dining at the nearby, medieval castle of Marostica.
But also an unmissable opportunity because of how this exemplary and enthralling story of a unique company brand was told to a large audience of trade people. The company’s present-day was perfectly summed up by the current helmsman, Daniele Battistella, who works alongside his wife Angela. “The way we design and produce in 2015 would have been unimaginable when my father Guerrino set up shop in the 70’s. Now it’s like working in this immense virtual open space, where anyone can connect with anybody. Planning is a must, but so is remaining adaptable, because the overall picture as well as the details, are always changing”.
“It is fundamental to always be connected and ready – continued Daniele Battistella – because an e mail, a call on your mobile phone, or a video trigger procedures that need to be carried out quickly, as well as a consulting approach not just a sales one. Seeing, understanding and resolving are the three steps that usually lead to new deals”.
These production methods and timing were simply unheard of 40 years ago, when this beautiful fairy tale started amidst difficulties and sacrifices. “Memorable days – remembers Guerrino Battistella, Daniele’s father as well as the man who founded of the company – when I took the big step. I was already working in the sector, but for a company which was not doing well. So I thought I could set up my own business by using my experience as an employee. I shut myself up in my garage at home and starting designing and building my first machine, doing all the steel sheet cutting and bending, assembly and painting myself. Meanwhile my wife Amabile, whose contribution was always invaluable, machine-sewed the fabric covers for the first prototypes”.
After a few weeks, Eva was ready for market launch. Success came soon after and the fact that the courage demonstrated by Guerrino Battistella was rewarded, is because from the very outset the family credo was reliability and customer service. Guerrino and Amabile’s son, Daniele Battistella, realized this immediately when he proudly went with his father on the first deliveries. As a result, he grew up with all the family and company DNA that were needed to work in the company that he now manages.
“In the 80’s and 90’s – Daniele remembers – our company was perfectly integrated in a north-east Italy whose textile production still dominated the Italian and international scene, very structured, creative, and a business generator. We began serving the sector which, as everybody knows, is located mainly around the Treviso and Vicenza areas near us. Only when the textile industry was hit by a downturn towards the beginning of 2000, did our attention necessarily move to laundries and we, or rather I, inevitably started travelling more, and further afield”.
This is how Battistella as we know it today began to take shape. The BG brand brought its own fresh touch of creativity and marketing push to the ironing industry where Italian tradition has always been the undisputed leader worldwide. “We immediately learnt to act assertively and carefully – explained Daniele Battistella – knowing that we could bring our typically north-east entrepreneurship, as well as our readiness to explore new markets in the southern hemisphere, to the topnotch long-standing Italian brands”.
The results were there to see during the 40th anniversary celebrations, inside a factory where 8,000 sq.m speak for themselves, as does the wide array of products for industrial and semi-professional sectors, with an ever-growing range of ironing boards, steam generators, spotting tables, toppers and ironing presses. All this has given rise to the current, magnificent and ever more envied BG catalog of equipment with mythological names like Andromeda, Argo and Sagittario, showing the technology that has been masterfully applied to suction/blowing boards, steam generators, electronic panels, and versatile and efficient boiler systems. While always considering the real working conditions of the laundry or textile workshop whether in northern Italy or Sri Lanka.
Detergo Magazine – November 2015