To help make the fashion business sustainable by offering products and services that promote respect for the environment and people. This is the mission of Centro Accessori, a Marche Benefit Company partnering with footwear companies
Centro Accessori, Teknochim, Lab Moda: three stories with a single source. United into a single entity by the Castricini family, now in its third generation, the three companies based in Monte San Giusto, in the heart of the Marche footwear district, are one of the leading Groups operating in Italy and abroad in the design, production and distribution of materials, components and fashion accessories for the footwear and leather goods sectors. Alessio Castricini, Business Development Manager, tells us about the many facets of a company able to provide customers with a 360-degree service, according to an all-round sustainability project.
Alessio Castricini, how did your family business start and evolve?
“Centro Accessori was established in 1973 from the initiative of my grandfather Mario, to create a sort of ‘supermarket’ of accessories for footwear manufacturing, and today it brings together three companies that operate in three different but complementary areas: Tecknochim offers consulting and laboratory testing, Lab Moda deals with prototyping, processing and third party manufacturing, and Centro Accessori, the operational holding company, manages the distribution and the development of alternative sustainable materials. The three companies have always worked separately, but with the evolution of the market and the centralization of clients – most of whom work for brands that in turn demand more and more services and guarantees – we began to present ourselves as a group capable of performing different but synergistic functions. As a multifaceted single point of contact able to provide an all-round support, we have become even more reliable.”
What are your specific functions?
“Tecknochim was founded within Centro Accessori as a chemical laboratory for the production of anilines, dyes, finishes, waxes, etc. intended for custom leather finishing. Subsequently, the business expanded to performing both physical- mechanical tests, validated by the national body Accredia on the materials that make up the footwear and on the finished shoe, and chemical analysis, for the determination of substances managed by the Reach regulation and other specifications. On the other side, the subsidiary company Lab Moda, a true workshop of ideas, was established with the intention of reaffirming the production role of Centro Accessori, known almost exclusively as a retailer and service provider (prompt delivery, warehouse, stock availability, etc.). Only one year after the operation was launched, the feedback has come quickly.”
What are your proposals according to environmental sustainability?
“Each of the three companies is able to support customers also in the area of sustainability. Centro Accessori – a GRS and GOTS certified company – does this by offering recycled and recyclable materials, and ecofriendly products with a special focus on natural, organic, non-toxic, biodegradable raw materials that can guarantee minimal environmental impact at the end of their life cycle. Lab Moda does it by giving space for example to printing techniques with water-based or vegetable-based inks, free of solvents and harmful substances. Teknochim, instead, carries it out through consulting and finalizing products that meet certain sustainability features (e.g., dyes of all-natural origin, without anilines and synthetic mordants), up to the development of specifications for sustainability based on the single needs of the footwear manufacturer or brand. We also organize training courses on different aspects of sustainability addressed to employees and stakeholders of our clients.”
How did your internationalization process begin and develop?
“The process of expansion abroad began in 1992 with the opening in Poland of a center serving local footwear companies, which was followed over the years by three other logistics, distribution and sales facilities in Romania, Portugal and Bulgaria. In Italy we opened the Monsummano office in Tuscany, a warehouse in Grumo Nevano near Naples and one in Trani; we’ve also developed a widespread network of agents.”
What are your main reference markets?
“In Italy, a market in strong recovery after the decline due to the pandemic, we are working a little bit everywhere: Marche and Tuscany are the main areas, but also Puglia, Veneto and then again Naples, Parabiago and Nerviano in the province of Milan. Abroad, we are where main production hubs are based, so to ensure operators to save on supply costs and raw material management: Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, Portugal, Morocco, and Tunisia represent our most important markets. We are about to open a new company in Mexico, a reference manufacturing country for North and South America. We also supply the safety sector with materials for toe caps and buttress, reinforcements, eyelets, insoles, puncture-resistant foils, etc. This is a cheaper, but high-volume market that has boomed due to the growth in occupational safety awareness caused by the persistence of the Covid 19 pandemic.”
Alessio Castricini has worked in companies of the Group since 2009, managing development activities, new markets and new product lines. He is president of the Young Entrepreneurs Group of Confindustria Macerata for the three-year period 2021-2024