"Our long history has taught us to be patient"

Nidhi Gupta | July, 2012

Starting  his professional career in a manufacturing business, Paolo Bertazzoni entered his family business under the tutelage of his father. Using the top designers from Milan, Paolo has expanded the company's international presence to more than 60 countries worldwide.

You are running a business which is the world’s oldest family-owned company (130 years old). How easy or difficult it is to run such a business set-up?
Our company is the oldest Italian manufacturer of home appliances, it is still owned and managed by the same family through six generations, I represent the fifth one. It is our pride and at the same time it takes a great responsibility. The responsibility of each generation is  to understand and interpret the times they are leaving.
Europe is going through a very critical condition but what make you think that you can achieve a revenue growth of 18% this fiscal year 2012?
Well, I do agree to the fact that the European economy is going through a slowdown and is at a very critical stage but amidst all the difficulties, we are putting all efforts in achieving by year end 20 per cent growth backed by our niche marketing and brand value. Having a strong export base we are confident that this excellent result will be achieved.
Were there any design or functionality changes you had to bring in particular if we speak about India before launching your products here?
We have our presence in lot of countries. The basic designing of the entire kitchen appliance range remains the same which also includes its functionality. The only changes which we are required to incorporate when we launch an appliance in another country outside Italy, are based on the different legislations on gas and electrical standards. Pricing of the appliances could vary according to the custom and logistical aspects typical of each country.
What is it about Italian design that consumers worldwide find so attractive?
Italy is a country with a rich culture and heritage attached. The picturesque monuments and architectures around the country had been witnessed by the entire world. With the world’s best designers present in Italy, everything we make comes with style and elegance. And, that is longed by the consumers worldwide.
Your products are meant for high-end customers and Indian market comprise of middle class people. What was the aim behind coming to India? How much research was done before launching your products in India?
Approaching a big and far away market such as India needs the support of a strong local partner. We have found it in Hafele India, and we have shared with them the right amount of our and their knowledge to make this venture work. 
What are the various challenges that you face in this industry?
There are many challenges now-a-days for the appliances industry. Competition is very strong in the lower end of the market, our challenge is to keep our positions in the higher segment, where the end users are more and more exacting and knowledgeable. Of course, product performance, exclusive finish, tedious attention to detail and quality are also must.
What are your future plans with respect to expansions in India?
We plan to be displayed in the most exclusive showrooms and high-end building projects across the Indian sub-continent. After all, our long  company history has taught us to be patient and do things properly rather than taking haste decision.