With Giuseppe Tisci, current owner of the furrier’s shop bearing his name, this age-old family of furriers has arrived at the fourth generation.
The workshop was founded by his Giuseppe’s father, Mario, who opened this shop in Via Pacini after gaining experience in Switzerland; it is still there today. Even though there have been many hardships, the shop has grown over the years, yet maintained the same craftsman-like characteristics that have always been a part of this family’s business.
How did you come to this trade?
"Our home was always above the shop, and so it happened that in my comings and goings to the University, I stopped in to help my father. I learned by watching, or better, by stealing, as some say – stealing by looking at what others were doing. In the end, by hanging around, I started to get interested. I left the university and came to the shop to learn full-time"...
Do you use new technology to create your tools, or have techniques and technology remained the same?
"The type of production is always the same – we have not invented anything different. I acknowledge what others have done and I do my own; but they do not vary much. Someone in our trade has launched a new method called cheratura: the hides are cut with special machines that riddle them with holes on the leather side. These innovations were mainly followed by the fashion industry and a few artisans who wanted to do something different."
What the major difficulties and hardships that you see in your sector?
"As far as my trade is concerned, there are many problems.
With respect to when my father ran the workshop, there has been a drastic fall in sales, mainly due to changes in society and our potential clients. Once upon a time, a fur, especially in the provinces in Italy, was a status symbol. The clientele was average/well-to-do, and could spend two or three million lire for a fur. Now the same social class does not have the same buying power. So my clientele has thinned out. They prefer big brands, or they simply do not buy that item of clothing any longer.
Another cause for worry is the loss of craftsmen’s know-how that is taking place in my sector: in fact the production is focused on just few items, hand-crafted, but that lead to the standardization of what is produced.
How do you perceive the role of the institutions in managing, promoting and protecting your trade?
I believe that the government and my Associazione Pellicceria could reach an agreement to make the transmission of know-how possible in this way: let’s give young people the opportunity to do internships or workshops abroad, in such a way that both the City and the Region take on the burden of these apprentices’ salary. I teach, and they take care of the expenses, making it easier for me. In this way, I have manpower, and can take work away from big business by making them manufacture in Italy and not abroad.