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Natuzzi, king of the sofa
Rome - (Adnkronos Multimedia) - A history lasting for 45 years, which began in a workshop in Taranto then went on to make a landing in Wall Street and consequently to make its appearance on markets all over the world. This is the background of Pasquale Natuzzi and his entrepreneurial adventure in making sofas, today among the most popular in the world.
Pasquale Natuzzi, President and Managing Director of the Natuzzi Group (www.natuzzi.com) began his career at a very young age. A cabinet maker's son, in 1959 at the age of 19 years he opened an artisan's laboratory in Taranto where, together with three helpers he began to make sofas and armchairs for the local market. In 1967 he initiated production of sofas and armchairs at an industrial level in Matera, immediately introducing some organisational and processing innovations which allowed him to keep the quality level of products high and with competitive costs. In 1972 Natuzzi Salotti srl was established, but its life was, unfortunately, very brief. One year later a fire completely destroyed the factory in Matera, and Pasquale Natuzzi decided therefore to transfer production to Santeramo in Colle, in the Province of Bari, where the head office of his Group is still located.
But the turning point arrived at the beginning of the Eighties, during a trip to the United States. Natuzzi's intuition was, on the face of it, very simple: to make a leather sofa "for the people", a product, at that time, very costly and reserved for an elite group of consumers, but which thanks to the development of an integrated system of production on the territory, Natuzzi was able to offer at very competitive prices. And it was thus that Natuzzi sold his first leather sofa for 999 dollars in the US, distributed by the Macy department store chain. In 1985 Natuzzi Upholstery Inc. was established, with offices in New York. Its production was addressed to North American clients.
The success of this American adventure was then confirmed in May 1993 when Natuzzi shares were quoted on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
And so began the conquest of other markets: Europe and the Far East, where, over a span of a few years the Group consolidated its leadership. In 1998 a building with a futuristic appearance was inaugurated in High Point (North Carolina). It was designed by the architect Mario Bellini and today houses the offices of Natuzzi Americas, with a huge showroom measuring 8.000 square metres.
But Pasquale Natuzzi was not yet satisfied. He wished to repeat his American success with the "people's sofa" also in Italy. And so the first shop in the franchising chain Divani&Divani by Natuzzi emerged. It was yet another success: today there are 160 outlets in Italy and abroad, to which can be added the 80 Natuzzi Stores in Spain, France, Switzerland, China and Australia, 13 Kingdom of Leather shops in the United Kingdom, and 300 Natuzzi Galleries, mainly in the United States and North Europe.
In 2002 a new challenge appeared: instead of trembling before the made in China expansion, Pasquale Natuzzi dived into the water and opened a factory in Shanghai, then doubling its capacity the following year to one thousand employees, making sofas for the Chinese in China.
Today, with the same enthusiasm as before, Pasquale Natuzzi personally follows up the strategic activities connected with underpinning the trade mark through investments in product research and innovation, marketing, communication and a huge effort in the development of professional training for staff. This all led in to the University of Bari conferring on him, in December 2001, the Laurea Honoris Causa in Educational Sciences.
After facing 45 years of continual challenges, the Natuzzi Group is today world leader in the leather sofa sector and the top Italian producer in the furnishing sector, with eleven factories in Italy and three abroad (China, Brazil and Romania), with sales of 800 million euro and more than six thousand employees.
Pasquale Natuzzi was born in Matera 64 years ago. He lives in Santeramo, is married, and is the father of five children.