Rino Ghielmetti fur fur broker the interview
Rino Ghielmetti is the founder of SF Collection, one of the most important Italian companies specialized in the wholesale of fur skins.
I had wanted to interview him for years and finally I succeeded.
My questions are in bold type and Rino’s answers in italics.
How and when did you get into the fur world?
I fell into the fur sector by chance in 1976, having had the opportunity to meet important players of the sector, one of whom offered me a job in his firm.
Many fur and fashion brands buy skins from you. What type of mink and fox are most sought-after by the European market?
Generally they are interested in nearly all types of female mink, all colours. They don’t buy male mink. As for fox, nearly all mutations, except for blue fox.
Could you better explain your work to my followers? Exactly what does a broker do and what makes you competitive, unique and better than the others? In other words, why should a brand trust you? Brands must have a lot of faith in you.
The work of a broker consists in helping the client who is unfamiliar with auctions, or who prefers to be represented, rather than attend himself. You have to inform him of the dates of the various skin auctions; advise him in which market it is possible to buy the best goods based on his requirements and the various delivery times of the final product. On the broker’s side it is important to inspect the merchandise very carefully, many times, even in the presence of the client, and try to push for the best price during the sale. To do this you need to have lots of experience, and command respect both from the other brokers and from the auctioneers during the sale.
A few days ago you told me about a typology of mink loved by the fashion world. Doesn’t it exist any more? How come? Did the auctions focus on the Chinese market and give little importance to the European market? Can you tell me more about this type of mink?
Long-nap mink (classic mink) before the year 2000 was the most sold item above all in the European auctions. For velvet or short nap mink you had to go to the American market. With the opening up of the oriental markets (China, Japan, and Korea) given the great demand and, above all the bigger profits, the European farmers started to produce velvet mink, copying the mink produced by the American farmers. For this reason they reduced the production of classic minks, to favour velvet mink. It is important to know that today the oriental markets consume most of the annual production of mink and so it is logical that the farmers favour that type of clientele, benefitting more greatly.
Do you think that given the lowering of prices this is the best moment to buy skins? Has the price of mink skins ever gone down so much?
I believe that the current market prices are very low, in relation to the farming costs. For the various buyers I think there is a great opportunity to buy at these levels, but still carefully because the markets are very volatile and influenced by external factors (currency Exchange risks – see Turkey / Russia) hyper production of unsold made-up leftovers, quick changing fashion trends etc).
Do you think that furs have lost value? What can be done to give fur garments back their value?
To give furs value, the production of mink skins should reduce drastically. Reducing the production of skins on sale, automatically the price would increase. Fur should go back to being a dream for women that desire it.
What is the part of your work you like most and which least?
I am very happy with my work, because it has given me the possibility to go all around the world, appreciate the beauty of important cities, meet people from whom I could learn a lot about life.
What do you think about the future of fur? Auctions, furriers, suppliers, producers. A global vision.
It is very difficult for me to predict the future. Already today you can buy goods via internet. I think however that it is very improbable that we will be able to do without the professionality of some components of the sector.
In France a fur skin tannery was bought by a big French group not so much to shorten the chain but to maintain tradition because the tannery had problems and you know how much the French care about protecting their companies and traditions – some big groups are buying who produces furs to shorten the chain and consequently production times as recently happened with Valentino that bought Ciwifur. Do you think that also Italian tanneries or producers can be bought by groups? What would that mean?
I hope above all Italian tanneries remain as they are, also not to lose all the technical baggage and experience we are provided with today. That would be a big mistake. Valentino (Qatari group) did buy Ciwifur but left everything in Italy, appreciating what the Italian masters, at the cutting edge in the world, do well.
Do you think that the prices of skins will go back up? How does the market trend usually work? 5 years good 5 years bad? In London a fur expert claims 10 years good 10 years bad. I didn’t find this data, doing research.
For some years to come prices will stay as they are, with few variations. To see a rise mink production costs with have to be cut and we will have to wait for the market to get rid of all unsold items.
Your son Christian has a fur brand Christian Ghielmetti here is the link of his Instagram, Sasha your other son works with you supplying skins to clients. You have managed to hand down this work just as in furrier tradition. And that’s really difficult especially today.
Follow the Instagram ofChristian Ghielmetti he has splendid furs made with the best skins you can find on the market
Do you plan to retire or continue? When you don’t have your beloved work any more what will you do?
Indeed I have two sons involved in our business and I am very happy about that. As for me, as long as I am stimulated I will go on.
Do you know who the first furrier in the world was acoording to the Bible? If you don’t know I can give away the answer :-).
Please help me out. =)
I want to thank Rino Ghilemetti for this interview and for having taught me so much about the fur sector.
Clicking on Pellicce e Moda you will find a very interesting video interview from 2012 with Rino Ghielmetti.
Samantha De Reviziis