Angela Cetani works in the Fratelli Borgioli finishing department. According to her, the care for details is essential to have a final product of high quality. Discover more!


A few weeks ago we interviewed Barbare Cesare, a Fratelli Borgioli artisan. Today we’re going to have a talk with Angela: a passionate artisan who has been working with Fratelli Borgioli since 1993.

Angela is specialized in cleaning and ironing the leather, and lining. What she likes most about her job is to be part of the creation of something beautiful and unique.

We asked her some questions about her work and what it means to work for Fratelli Borgioli. Read the interview to find out more about Angela!


QUESTIONS FOR ANGELA

  1. Hi Angela. Could you please introduce yourself and tell us something about you?
  2. Why did you decide to become an artisan and how long have you been working for Fratelli Borgioli?
  3. You work in the finishing department. What does your job consist in exactly?
  4. You are highly skilled in cleaning and ironing the leather and lining. Could you explain to us in detail what you do exactly?
  5. Which are the most intricate techniques?
  6. How do the finishing techniques change according to the material of the shoe?
  7. Which type of machines do you use? Does the manual part of the work count a lot?
  8. How important is, in your job, the care for details?
  9. How did the work change with the time? Did the technology influence this work a lot?
  10. According to your experienced artisan’s point of view, what are the main distinctive features of Fratelli Borgioli footwear? What is the added value of your techniques?
  11. What would you recommend to someone who wants to undertake this job?
  12. In a short time, you will retire. What are you going to miss the most about your job?

#1. Hi Angela. Could you please introduce yourself and tell us something about you?

Hi, I’m Angela, I’m 56 years old and I’ve been working for 42 years.

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#2. Why did you decide to become an artisan and how long have you been working for Fratelli Borgioli?

When I started to work, it was a flourishing period for the shoe industry, so I would say that the job market chose me. When I finished middle school, my family needed me to bring home money, so I started to work in a shoe factory. I’ve been working for Fratelli Borgioli since 1993.

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#3. You work in the finishing department. What does your job consist in exactly?

The hand finishing of productions consist in bringing out the beauty out of the shoe.

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#4. You are highly skilled in cleaning and ironing the leather and lining. Could you explain to us in detail what you do exactly?

In fact my work consists in cleaning the shoes before they are being boxed. When the shoes are at the end of the production cycle, they may have the marks and leftovers of different production processes, like glue etc.

In addition to cleaning, I iron the lining and the leather with special irons that remove the wrinkles and folds. I put creams or waxes on the shoes so that we can polish them better, or I just brush the shoes with special brushes to bring out the beauty of the material.

Every shoe and every type of material requires different techniques.

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#5. Which are the most intricate techniques?

Regarding my job, the techniques are not complex, I would say they are relatively simple. The difficulty is to find out which type of treatment and product should be used on the specific material to obtain the best result.

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#6. How do the finishing techniques change according to the material of the shoe?

The techniques depend on the leather and fabric used, for example:
For leather that should be ironed, we require the iron, shining creams and brushes.

For suede leather we need to be very careful because it stains easily, this material needs to be handled with care. We use specific products to remove the traces of glue.

For patent leather we use solvents that help to clean the shoes and special grease to shine the shoes. The most important ingredient is “elbow grease”, i.e. rubbing the surface manually with the cloth until it becomes clean and shiny.

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#7. Which type of machines do you use? Does the manual part of the work count a lot?

The manual work in the finishing department counts a lot. I use the iron to iron the shoes, the blowing machine that blows hot and humid air to unfold the leather, and a rotating brush that can be combined with an abrasive pad or wool for polishing.

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#8. How important is, in your job, the care for details?

Caring for details is very important for the final result. You need to be able to recognize small features that sometimes can jeopardize the quality of the hand-made product.

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#9. How did the work change with the time? Did the technology influence this work a lot?

This job didn’t change so much. The main changes are in materials used for shoes and in the methods how to treat these materials. Gradually we added more products that help us to clean the shoes.

In the finishing department the technology doesn’t count a lot, the difference stands in the manual work of the artisan.

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#10. According to your experienced artisan’s point of view, what are the main distinctive features of Fratelli Borgioli footwear? What is the added value of your techniques?

Fratelli Borgioli’s products stand out because of the quality materials, because they are designed for people who love beauty and comfort. Their added value is the hand-made and unique shoe-making-process.

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#11. What would you recommend to someone who wants to undertake this job?

My advice is to always give your best at work, even if there are problems, and to listen to the suggestions that more-experienced colleagues give you.

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#12. In a short time, you will retire. What are you going to miss the most about your job?

I’m going to miss the satisfaction of creating, with my own hands, something beautiful and special, and the satisfaction of seeing someone wearing the shoes I worked on and thinking “I made those shoes”.

I’m also going to miss the close relationships with my colleagues, because sometimes you also find friendships at your workplace, as you spend a lot of time with them.

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We thank Angela Cetani for giving us the opportunity to better understand how the Fratelli Borgioli shoemaking process takes place.

Are you interested in meeting another Fratelli Borgioli artisan? Here’s the interview with Fabiola!