If you think of retirement as when you feel lost or where people have nothing to do, read what Giovanni Badinotti did. This gentleman, now senior after spending his life working in the offices of the City, reached the fateful moment. Instead of setting aside, he opened a net store in the area of Porta Vigentina in the heart of Milan. We are in the early twentieth century, Giovanni is not limited in selling only fishing nets but also fishing lines, floats and all that is needed for a fishing passionate of the lakes close to where he is.
Usually not all the passions of the fathers are passed to their children, Carlo, son of Giovanni does not want to know anything about fishing, as a matter of fact he began working as an engraver. Probably his father would have let him do this job if he had seen him make a living out of it, but that was not the case.
Giovanni decides to wait five or six years then tries again to urge his son. Giovanni suggests to his son, to take over the shop in order to make a bit of money. Carlo replied that fishing shop does not match his interest and thinks that his father has finally surrounded in persuading him to take over the shop. Mistaken. the father still has a card to play, the decisive one. Because he liked fishing so much he knew which fishing stores were the best equipped in Milan. The store which was best equipped and had a vast variety of stock was located in Agnelo St., just behind the Duomo of Milan.
At that time the store was directed by a girl, which was very unusual during those years. She is called Annunciata Colosio, she comes from Monteisola an island on Lake Iseo. This island is full of net manufactures which have been doing this for nearly a century; since the Emperor Francesco Giuseppe, head of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, give to his people the task of repairing the remaining nets of the Venetian fleet. From the people of Monteisola Annunciata has learned the art of manufacturing nets.
Annunciata and her family are all masters in the arm mount and nets, furthermore Annunciata, is beautiful and she is not yet married. Giovanni devises a way to bring together the two young men. A few years later Giovanni and the beautiful girl from monteisola got married with Carlo. They decided to take over the fishing store in Porta Vicentina and with the help of Annunciata Carlo starts to understand something about fishing.
In the 30’s the Badinotti was already born. From a geographical point of view the reference points are two. At Monteisola the small factory where local workers produce everything in cotton or in any other natural fibers by hand, under the control of a sister to Annunciata. Meanwhile in Milan the shop where they sell nets and other fishing supplies, managed by Carlo and Annunciata, which above all leads the company. In 1934 there is a young man behind the counter. His name is Mario, he is the firstborn of Badinotti and he is fourteen years old. He knows how to knot a thread of cotton better than his mother and his uncles and he gets along well when he has to accompany the parents to make a delivery to customers near the lakes.
Mario has other two brothers, Renato and Gianni and a sister Marisa. All of them are still very small, their time will come when they will be needed to take care of the company. The company seems to be going pretty well and orders begin to arrive from all parts of Italy, meanwhile the workers in Monteisola start struggling. One day Annunciata decides to give another impulse to the company and decides to purchase looms in order to increase production; whereas Carlo proffered to be more cautious, but nobody listened to him. In 1940 the frame arrives, but also postcards arrive to call to the arms the three brothers. Mario ends up in Russia to fight as a soldier. Renato is immediately captured by the British and sent in the prison camps in Egypt. Gianni, the smallest, manages to avoid the front but is also too small to handle the company. The company must slow the pace despite the cost incurred from buying the frame. In 1943 Mario returns to Milan, it’s a difficult period for him. He still has behind the massacre of Italian soldiers in Russia. He managed to survive hunger, the cold, and the bombs. The war is finally over, the country is in difficulty and the economy is not going well. In this year the father dies, but the fisherman still go fishing and still are making orders to Badinotti. Now it's up to Mario to help of Annunciata with the company and teach little Gianni, which is seventeen years old.
...... they go on their bicycles along the streets of villages around the lake in order to deliver the nets to the carriers that would then send them to the clients. But times are different and between employers and employees sometimes the differences are not well understood. Annuncias’s advice seems to have been very successful, and it seems that machines allow a fast growth for the company. After the first frame, others are purchased. After the orders from Italy, orders come from all over Europe: Finland, Denmark, Norway, Greece; all countries with many lakes, seas, and strong fishing traditions. Fortunately Renato in his six years of prison in the fields of His Majesty has learned English well.
The revolution starts to come from the United States, along with rock and roll and 3D glasses in the late fifties. It's called nylon, it is durable and economic and immediately attractions the attention in Italy. Badinotti is really interested in this new fiber. However, it presents only one inconvenience, it does not hold well the knot. Many complaints from customers and suppliers came. Mario and his brothers are doing everything they can in order to resolve the problem, but they do not want to go back to producing nets in cotton as they know that nylon is going to be the future. They then make an agreement with Orsi Mangelli, which is a manufacturer of socks in Forlì to purchase at a discounted price some of their waste and use them for the nets.
One day the owner of the company reveals that he knew an engineer how recently returned from Venezuela with something new; a net without knot. It does not require much labor and would resolve the problem once and for all. The technique is interesting; Mario and his brothers contacted the Hawaiian engineer to make a negotiation. Everything seems to be going well until the man makes a request: 100 million for the sale of the patent.
Badinotti at does times did not have 100 million, and also if they had that amount, the probably would not have made the deal. Mario takes some time, he replies that he has to think about it and starts searching for alternatives. To build the knotless nets he saw the engineer use a Raschel loom, which is the same one adopted for the lace. In a period when internet did not even exist, he manages to find the german company that builds the machines.
He goes to Germany to see the machines, he test them and he bought them; they definitely were the ones that produced the lace and the knotless nets. The engineer decides to sue them, but in his other discoveries he discovers that the technique was also used in the 1850’s and that there was a U.S. patent, but it had expired. For Badinotti is a good point in favor. A few years later the other companies followed, but Badinotti is the first company to enter the knotless net market. With these new machines Badinotti could lower its production costs, produce more volume, and have the possibility to expend; in this way it becomes easier to make nets for fish farming but also others, like those for protection, volleyball, and tennis.
Giancarlo, Mario's son, is four years old, he is sitting at the table in the kitchen. It is 1962; in the room there is also the father and mother, the baby hears for the first time the sound of an unknown word, meaningless for him at that moment: Peru’. The father announces that it is necessary for the family to move to Peru’ for some time. It had been already some years that Mario was in Peru’, he had started receiving orders and discovered that there does not exist a factory which produces nets in a whole country. It is a country in which a vast amount of the people fish, labor is cheap, and land is cheap. Annunciata gives a positive attitude on the country. In the subsequent memory of Giancarlo there is a small port - probably Genoa - and a ship. After many days on the sea, messing with the sailors, playing with ropes, joking with his brother Roberto, they had finally arrived in Panama.
There their father awaits there with a plane to bring them up in Lima. You cannot say that their accommodation is a palace; it is a small house within the grounds of the factory. The factory still had to be finished. But in those years there are problems that relate to the father. Giancarlo especially thinks about playing between frames, ropes, nylon of the future nets. After a full year in Peru’ their mother decides puts her children on a ship to return home. Giancarlo has turned five, it is time for him to go to school and his parents prefer him to be in an Italian school. The father stays in Peru’ a while longer, and then the brothers start taking turns to go to Peru’, three months each.
The net market was growing thanks to the boom in fish farming. The decisions seem to be the correct ones, but Giancarlo knows well that his father and his uncles before they left for Peru’ have left him a little gift. The small factory on Monteisola was sold; it was essential for them to sell the factory as in this factory the nets were mainly manufactured by hand. In that factory there was no more space available for expansion, furthermore the costs of transportation were very expensive. The Badinotti plant was moved in Franciacorta, near Iseo. There is a shed of 6 thousand square meters where they can accommodate many more machines. In the seventies in Italy there are about fifteen companies like Badinotti, meanwhile today there are only two. In the early eighties Badinotti produces about 250 tons of nets a year, today Badinotti produces at least five times more of nets, and it has the largest market share of knotless nets in the world.
In the early nineties Carlo Badinotti, the son of Renato joins the new structure of Franciacorta. Then even Paolo come along, whose real name is Gianangelo Tizzoni; he is the son of Marisa which was the last child of Annunciata. Once the mother had passed away, Gianni, the youngest of three brothers, the one that had managed to escape the call to the front during the second world war, decided to adopt Gianangelo. In this way Gianangelo which everyone calls Paolo, becomes a Badinotti in all respects.
These four are the ones that today manage the company globally. Giancarlo is responsible for strategy of the company, he is the vice president of the Peruvian plant and president of Chilean plant, which was the last to come. It was founded in 2001 and it is the only one that produces nets in the country. Carlo takes care of the sales of business and is director in Italy and Peru. Paolo is CEO of the company in Chile, its three years that he is being living in Chile.Roberto, Giancarlo’s brother, lives in Peru and is director of Peruvian companies.
But in all this, what happened to Mario? We recently talked to him, as he had just come back from Peru’ where he follows the net factory created in the sixties, but also the new activities of Badinotti; a factory for the production of fishmeal for aquaculture, and a fleet of vessels which bring the name of the family around the waters of the Pacific. He was 84 years, he has the title of President of the Peruvian companies, and he had no intention of retiring. Just like his grandfather Giovanni.