Maglificio R. Scaglione Srl is a family-managed company founded in the 1960s in Bergamo, Italy. The business mainly focuses on the production of knitwear with a major expertise in cashmere wool. While targeting a top-quality level market. Maglificio Scaglione is a small and creative environment with a long-term experience in a luxury niche of the textile industry.

What Maglifico Scaglione does and what’s your role in the business?
Maglificio Scaglione includes two different businesses: on one side it is a knitwear supplier for many high-level brands while, on the other, it manages its own fashion collection called Scaglione, which is distributed all over the world through its own shops and in partnership with other retailers.
I just joined my own family business after many years abroad and I am now part of the third generation, together with my sister. Talking about my role in the business, I consider myself absolutely multitasking at the moment, even if I’m mainly working on coordinating the two souls of the company, being a knitwear producer and a recognized fashion brand at the same time. I am still leveraging on my recent working experience in London as it allows me to be detached from the family dynamics within the business and to be able to keep an external perspective and highlight potential issues to be solved.

Family firms differentiate themselves from non-family firms as they value not only financial but also socio-emotional wealth? Do you agree?
Absolutely! In our particular case, as a family, we feel constantly emotionally involved in the business. Indeed, our name is connected to our brand so we can’t allow any brand dilution as it won’t just affect the brand, but also the company reputation.

When you think about your business, can you talk about a long-term perspective?
We strongly believe in a long-term perspective as we are investing efforts and money in our future. My recent decision of joining the family business is connected to the firm continuity, a strong value for us. But again, I want to stress that my experience outside the company was crucial to gain managerial expertise and to improve my capabilities of looking forward, strengthening our core competencies while spotting new business opportunities.

Let’s switch to funny questions! Casoncelli* o Scarpinocc*?
Casoncelli, for sure. Even if Casoncelli and Scarpinocc look very similar, the meat inside Casoncelli makes the difference!

Polenta Classica o Taragna***?
Polenta taragna, the cheese makes the polenta taragna tastier than its classic version.

Family firms are considered more risk-adverse if compared to non-family firms? In respect to your experience, do you agree with this statement?
I strongly agree. I perceive the risk aversion from two different points of view. From a financial perspective, every single investment is pondered as we want to use our own internal capital. It means that we will directly bear the consequences of a potential wrong investment, and when I say directly, I mean that the family will make sacrifices to re-invest the capital within the business.
On the other side, the communication perspective already mentioned above is very risk-sensitive as well. As I’ve already explained, we expose ourselves constantly with Scaglione, the name of our family, as the image of our fashion collection. We rely on a strong brand identity and we love to communicate it, but, at the same time, we need to protect it over time from potential dilution, not exposing it to an excessive amount of risk.

Connected to the above question, family firms are also considered owners of a higher innovation potential but with less willingness to innovate. Do you agree?
Actually, when I first joined the family business, I noticed an incredible innovation potential to be exploited, but, at the same time, a general aversion toward using it. Linked to the previous question, in family firms the decision-making process goes at a lower speed. You just need to deal with it, even if it is paradoxical sometime.

Berghem de hura (upper part of the city) o Berghem de hota (lower part of the city)?
Berghem de hura, even if the lower part is beautiful in some of its colours.

Val Brembana o Val Seriana****?
Val Brembana, as I love skiing and I can easily do it in Val Brambana, leaving in the morning and being back for dinner.

A question that today you still haven’t answered… Something you would like to ask to family business scholars.
I would love to deepen how scholars look at the innovation paradox that we mentioned, and which are the practical implications for organizations. Basically, how can we solve it? I would like to know the answer.

We can share some material with you!

*Casoncelli: Stuffed pasta with mincemeat, parmesan, amaretti and other secret ingredients served with butter and crispy pancetta

**Scarpinocc: Stuffed pasta with breadcrumbs, cheese and other secret ingredients served with butter and parmesan

***Polenta: corn-based porridge served hot. Polenta Taragna is a cheesy version of Polenta Classica

****Val Brembana and Seriana: The 2 main valleys, one is shaped by the Brembo river the other by the Serio river (there is some competition going on here…)