Interim Managers worldwide contribute to the success of their clients. Who are these clients? What are their needs? And why do they choose SMW and its partners when it comes to Interim Management? This time we spoke with Andrea Gottardo, Manager at Prestige Italia, an international specialist in the manufacture of horse saddles.
How exclusive is this Prestige Italia brand?
Prestige Italia was established in 1974 and is the most important European saddlery. We produce more or less then 16,000 saddles per year and also accessories for horses. We are really the leader in the equestrian industry, not only in Europe.
You wanted to conquer the US market. What was the ultimate goal?
The story of the company is very curious, because the initial challenge is linked to a dream of Mrs. Stocchetti, the founder of the company and todays chairwoman of the Board of Prestige Italia. She created a company in the USA in 1994. The goal of this company was to serve the most important saddle market in the world: the United States of America.
We started a new project to strengthen our presence in the huge American market with a new commercial network. Starting point was the organizational structure, but we put the people at the center of our project. And then we transfer the headquarters from New Jersey to Wellington in Florida. We realized that it was very important for our president to transform her American dream, that many of us European companies have in their drawers, into a solid and competitive reality. Together with Maurizio Quarta from TMC, the Italian partner of SMW to analyze the market, with a brief to find together a solution in a manager, a person who helped us to develop and to accelerate the growth of our market in the USA.
About the product, what makes the Prestige saddle stand out?
The key word of our product is craftsmanship. We produce the saddles with our hands. All the saddles presented in the US market, are produced in Europe or in South America or in the Far East, but not in the US. It’s a good opportunity for a saddle maker, in particular for Prestige Italia to introduce an Italian product in the most important market in the world: the US.
And the specific requirements for this new professional that you were looking for?
You know that our market is a very particular and a really interesting niche. So, a professional who knows the world of the horse is hard to find. However, the project was very challenging. We have created a structure and done the homework well here in Italy. We needed an accelerator, capable to get everything off the ground. We created a suitable profile for Prestige Italia US, based on a good experience on international business but also on medium large companies and on start-ups.
How did your SMW partner pick up these requirements?
During the summer holidays I contacted Maurizio Quarta from TMC Italy describing our needs, and then he put in touch with Pamela Wasley from Cerius Executives in the US. That was the milestone of this project.
Milestone? What role did Cerius play in this process?
Cerius Executives played an essential and strategic role, both in the scouting phase as in the presentation of the candidates. Pamela received our briefing, in which we focused on not only the technical skills of the candidate, but in particular in the soft skills of the candidate.
It’s so difficult for us in Europe to fully understand the logic that are culturally distant indifferent. We needed an American professional, an American manager, to manage the American company.
You found your dream candidate to realize your American dream and conquer the US market. What would be your final conclusion?
I would definitely recommend contacting Cerius in the US, in particular Pamela Wasley, because from the first meeting we found in her the person who is very capable of identifying the client’s needs and executing the subsequent actions well and on time. I also recommend maintaining a very open attitude. The way business is done in Italy and in the US is very different. It therefore takes a lot of courage, and therefore courageous people and trust in the other. With good reporting and effective checks, we managed that just fine.