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GET TO KNOW DE RIGO

EMILIANA AND ENNIO DE RIGO: A LONG STORY OF SUCCESS

 

Emiliana and Ennio De Rigo met when they were little more than children. She is from Cadore, while he is from Comelico. They are only a few years apart in age. But very different in character! Ennio is disarmingly mature for his age. He has only just come of age, but is already in charge of a construction company; he has a strong sense of duty and brings an earnestness to his work that can only be found in someone who knows what it means to achieve important milestones. Emiliana is beautiful, perspicacious, extroverted, and incredibly full of energy. Emiliana’s brothers, who attend college with Ennio in Vittorio Veneto, introduce the pair. It’s one of those encounters between two very different people in which two things can happen: either they don’t get on at all, or they come together to generate an extraordinary energy. The second is the case of Emiliana and Ennio.

After an engagement of a few years, they get married. And while Ennio continues to work with his construction company, Emiliana starts what is to be their most important professional experience. She and her brother start a small company making eyewear. This is in Pozzale di Cadore, in the municipality of Pieve. An Alpine hay barn with four rooms across from it. These four rooms are the company’s home. It’s the start of a dream come true. Like any kind of business, the company needs money to buy new machinery and grow. Ennio and his brother are asked if they would like to join the company. The De Rigo brothers agree. The dream becomes reality. A new factory is built in Pozzale. It’s so nicely built, it looks like a villa rather than a factory. The three of them share the same office, and start out making plastic frames only; they outsource the metal ones. Ennio gives up his construction business. He realises this business venture will need all his energy. They work hard. Everybody does a bit of everything. They “roll up their sleeves”, aware that the only way to give work dignity is to do it well. Then comes the turning point. Featherweight glasses. Eyewear much lighter in weight than it has ever been before. With this De Rigo style, the company gains three important new customers in Italy, Germany and the United States. A great success! But the real turning point comes a little later. Direct sales. Switching from making eyewear on contract to making their own glasses and selling them directly to retailers. This successful intuition is the product of Emiliana and Ennio’s dedication to their work. In the meantime, a new company opens in Limana. New machines, new technologies, and above all, new people. People are and always will be another important asset for the company’s growth. Dedicated people. Because dedication is contagious.

The De Rigos sometimes clash in their work, but this constructive tension always gives rise to new ideas. The time has come to invest in sunglasses. De Rigo leads the way in this field. The company is the first to sell sunglasses to opticians. And with the right glasses and the right communications, luck is on their side. They design and make a new style of sunglasses. They call it Police, because they look like the sunglasses worn by New York policemen. And the rest is history. Police sunglasses are a world-wide success. More than two million pairs are sold in Italy alone.

 

But dedication to your work means making dreams come true. Like Emiliana’s dream. Her favourite style of glasses has always been the Lozza Zilo. Lozza is the top in eyewear for someone from Cadore, like Emiliana. She still remembers passing the factory on the bus on her way to junior secondary school. Emiliana feels the way the people of Turin used to when they went by the FIAT factory in the ’60s. In any case, De Rigo buys Lozza. It’s 1983, and the De Rigos are about to write another important chapter in their history. Their dedication gives them energy and creativity. On what seems like a perfectly ordinary evening, Emiliana, Ennio and their daughter Barbara are on their way home from Belluno after watching the Venetian town’s volleyball time, which they sponsor, play in Italy’s top league.

On the way home, Barbara suggests a name for the new house brand of sunglasses her parents are about to launch: Sting. Emiliana and Ennio wonder if it is feasible, but in addition to their dedication to doing things well, Barbara has inherited the De Rigos’ determination. Sting, like a bee’s sting. It’s done: it’s a registered trademark. The glasses are on the market. Another success story. But it’s not a matter of luck. A lot of work went into it. On-going investment. Gradual growth and total control of costs. Ennio insists on it. Financial solidity is what allows a business to grow, and in 1993 the company requires larger premises. It moves from Limana to Longarone.

Dedication is still the foundation of what De Rigo is today. A company that has given and still gives work to so many households in the area. Emiliana and Ennio now simply give instructions, drawing on their experience, but the company continues to move forward under the direction of their children, Massimo and Barbara, with their extraordinary team and trustworthy managing director, who has been working for the company since the age of twenty-three.

This is why De Rigo’s fortieth anniversary represents the lives of Emiliana and Ennio! A long story of success, that must go on! 

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