After growing rapidly in the last few years, Tasci, the company of Roberto Giordani that launched the Montura brand of clothing 12 years ago, creating a sensation with its very technical mountain climbing pants, has moved into a brand-new head office north of Vicenza and hired many new experienced managers. One of the goals is to establish the brand more firmly in Europe and the U.S., where it is generally not very well known.
New on the executive team are notably Paolo Altissimo, formerly with Marzotto, who is in charge of finance and administration, and Marco Busa, the new sales director. The latter joined Montura recently, after working for Millet and Camelbak Europe. Overall, a dozen members of the middle management are relatively new to the company.
In the last few years, Montura has been building up a more complete apparel line, including a larger number of innovative and technical Gore-Tex jackets that use proprietary seamless welding technology and that have been triggering some imitations that may lead the company to take legal action. Montura works closely also with Polartec. The company has also developed a patented new ski binding for ski mountaineering that should be introduced in the market for the winter 2013-14 season.
Meanwhile, the company's sales are expected to reach a turnover of €40 million this year, up from €30 million in 2010 and €34 million in 2011. Italy's share has declined to 36 percent for the spring/summer 2012 season from 42 percent in the past winter season. Curiously, no other European country has a share of more than 5 percent in the company's turnover, indicating its strong potential in this part of the world.
Montura recently set up a sales office in France, where it has a growing business with Au Vieux Campeur. It is headed up by a former Gore-Tex official, Imanu Barra. The brand is also sold by distributors or agents in Austria, Denmark, the Benelux countries and Spain. A change of distribution is envisaged in Germany. Montura is also looking for a new distribution platform in the U.S., where it has only a dozen retailers placing their orders directly.
Italy is currently followed by three Asian countries – Korea, Japan and Taiwan – which have come to represent 28 percent of total revenues, and Tasci is now working on a deal in China. Another 11 percent of Tasci's sales is generated by three company-owned Alpstation stores in Italy, where the group is also selling outdoor shoes and equipment by other brands. There are a total of 17 Alpstations in operation, but the majority are franchised. Eleven stores are in Italy. Another one is in Salzburg, Austria. The others are operated by three distributors in Asia, including a new one in Osaka, Japan.
The flagship store of the Alpstation chain is one of the largest outdoor specialty stores in Italy. Located near Rovereto, where the company previously had its head office, the store was recently expanded by adding one more floor. The whole complex now measures a total of 1,200 square meters, of which 900 m² are net retail space. Another 100 m² are for “communication” activities such as photo exhibitions, conferences and the consultation of the 20 books that have been published so far by Montura Editing. Another 50 m² are for repairs.
Tasci still has its registered head office in Rovereto, but its two other offices in Schio have been merged into a single complex created on the premises of a former wool-spinning factory in the same area. It was inaugurated a few weeks ago. The 12,000-m² building at Zané, near Vicenza, houses Montura's showroom and a staff of around 70 people involved in administration, purchasing, design & development, sales, the manufacture of prototypes and warehousing.
The original building has been completely renovated and insulated to use a minimum of energy, employing wood and other recyclable materials. The furniture used in the building and in Montura stores has been designed by Giordani himself and made at a 2,000-m² sawmill owned by the company.
A highly creative person, Giordani has started co-producing films, in addition to books related to adventure travel. He has also supported the development of a Track View program that allows hikers to simulate three-dimensional pictures of hiking trails on a computer, a GPS or a smartphone. The system has already been applied to three regions of Italy: Trentino, Veneto and Lombardy.
Montura has made a selection among its various sponsorships. The brand continues to sponsor individual athletes such as Fédéric Degoulet, the French ice climber, and it has become the main sponsor of the Tor des Geants, the long-distance trail-running competition around the Valle d'Aosta region.
Reflecting the personality of its owner, Montura has a special character that distinguishes it from its competitors. Giordani created his company 20 years ago, initially manufacturing sleeping bags, but sold that business in 1996, when he stopped making them in Italy. It began to develop the first mountaineering garments together with athletes and mountain guides two years later. At Montura, which he started up with three other people in 2000, he has been continuously reinvesting his profits.