«Never stop, always have a new goal, have no limits, be able to experiment.»
Those who know him well - namely his three sons - describe him as a reserved man, with his feet on the ground, of few words, who prefers to let the facts and results of his life as an entrepreneur speak for themselves. Paolo Alessi is the chairman of Alessi Domenico Group. A life dedicated to work, to the company and to the people who work in this company. A continuer of the family history, he has always given his contribution of talent and concreteness in the development of production, creating not only innovative techniques in the processing of chains but also engaging in the research of methods and technological solutions to produce chains that have the highest quality.
An extremely creative person, with an ability to interpret moments in the market and business that has allowed him to always be one step ahead, living the present but also planning for the future. This attitude to look beyond has led him to invest in the generational changeover at the helm of the company, which has been led by his three sons Filippo, Alice and Tobia since 2000. Today Paolo Alessi is the “captain” at the helm of a ship that is firmly on the route laid out by the new generation of Alessi.
Paolo Alessi, what does the Alessi Domenico represent to you?
«It is difficult to express in words the feeling of love that I have had, that I have and that I will always have for this company. I have never been afraid to roll up my sleeves, to work non-stop and I have dedicated my life to this company. I got into it as a kid, I was just 15 years old. I took my first steps in what was my grandfather Domenico’s workshop in Bassano del Grappa, working alongside my father Giovanni. From a very young age I was attracted by the art of goldsmithing and even though I was a beginner I liked to be involved, also from a manual point of view, in the discovery of workings and in the research of new components to develop new products. A bit like my son Tobia does today. So I began my journey. Let’s say that what today is called “Research and Development” has always been a concern of mine and I have always tried to contribute to the technical evolution of our production.»
Then how did the story continue?
«Then it happened that after the death of my grandfather, my father, Giovanni, opened his own workshop in 1969, starting Alessi Domenico’s transformation from a workshop to a company. I followed him to help him with this new project. I began to devote more time to work, or rather, to dedicating all of myself. I also came to work from 6 am to 10 pm. But it didn’t weigh on me, because I liked it. My older brother Nico, namely Domenico, who was given the same name as my grandfather, also worked with us, and that’s when the development of this workshop began, which was already becoming a factory. We already had a lot of collaborators, we dialogued with international markets and we had the best technology of the time, which could satisfy an already substantial client base. In 1980 the company moved to Fellette, becoming a real factory.»
Those were the “golden years” of goldsmithing, weren’t they?
« Yes, the 1980s were a great decade for our company. My brothers and I, together with my mother Bruna, stood beside my father in running a factory that continued to grow in business volume but also in the challenges with the competition, with demands becoming more and more numerous from all over the world. Our family business has invested heavily in machinery and I personally was particularly committed to always looking for new ways to produce. Now the market was getting bigger and bigger and we needed to find new techniques to produce more quantities. Then came the nineties, which represented the summit of growth. In 1991 we inaugurated the Prè district plant in Bassano del Grappa, in what is still our headquarters today. I have always continued to invest in Research and Development, looking for machinery, plants and new technologies that would support the production quantities that had now exploded. A story that has continued and still continues, with the company that today is run by my three sons.»
But it wasn’t always all roses and flowers...
« Certainly not. There have been difficult times and unfavourable circumstances. But I have never let myself be discouraged by the ups and downs that this sector has suffered and I have tried to deal with every situation in the right spirit. I have tried to do this not only as an entrepreneur, but also in life. »
You wanted to invest in the generational changeover in the running of the company...
« I always thought it was important to build the future of the company, guaranteeing the continuity of a long and important family history. I wanted to focus on generational change and this is not a foregone conclusion. Luck has made all three of my children feel “at home” in Alessi Domenico, they have always felt it was theirs. The first to enter was Filippo, as young as I was in my early days, who has worked his way through all the production departments. Then Alice and Tobia came in. They all grew up in the company, they understood the complexity of all aspects ranging from organisation, production, research and development, financial management and market evolution. All three, over the years, have matured the skills to be able to take the “big step”. The generational changeover to the leadership of the company took place at the right time and now, as they say, make way for the young.»
What do you think you have taught your sons?
« I don’t know, you have to ask them. For my part I have always tried to set an example, for them who have chosen to walk in my footsteps. I have tried to make them understand the importance of working hard without strange or silly ideas in their heads, of being concrete, humble and committed people. I wanted them to learn not to be afraid to leave their “comfort zones”, trying to measure themselves as people. I urged them to never stop, to always have a new goal, to have no limits, to be able to experiment. And I have always told my children to have faith in life anyway, knowing that what comes somehow is an opportunity for our evolution, both personally and at work.»
You say you have made your sons understand the importance of being “humble people”. Do you think this is a really necessary quality for those who do a job like yours?
« Certainly. For me humility is a value and it is a value that is part of me.»