Jewelry brand from Turin, MUTA
The new wave of Italian businesses. They don't rely on the heritage from their families because they were not so lucky to have them or they just didn't want to continue with old ideas. Young Italian businesses are experiencing bad economic situation in the country added to extraordinary conservativeness of locals. Economic prosperity (GDP per capita) of Italians nowadays lies in between Puerto Rico and Israel, which is below average European level. So young entrepreneurs are up to work with a new Italian reality. Muta is a great example of it.
A family from Rome creates modernist accessories made from bits of picture frames and silk. Muta looks like a specific homage to the vivid Italian past. They relocated to Turin in order to be closer to international markets through Milan and also because it is a capital of modern Italian art scene. We went to their craft-shop to speak about how business is done in modern Italy.
Both founders, Ginevra Panzetti and Sergio Salomone, graduated as visual artists and were inspired to work with "ornamental pieces for the body". Thus they created a brand in 2014 after many years of efforts at Roman markets. Their main sources of inspiration are architecture and the visual arts. Also they work as artists: Panzetti's artisic research interlaces dance, performance and visual art, while Samolone work in photography, videos, performances and installations.
"We don't have iconic products but we attach great importance to meticulous, handcrafted work. We take the time that is needed to express our know-how and produce beautiful objects. It's important to convey an idea without creating a standard of beauty." – Ginevra Panzetti
"We are fascinated with the sculptural freedom that silk offers. It allows the designer to create geometric volumes that combine expecially well with the filament-like, metallic structure of brass. As for the frames, they lend themselves to rational cuts. We like to enhance them with color. Lastly, the brass veneer gives the object a perfect finish and a unique reflection of light." – Sergio Salomone
Start from Roman fairs and go international
Ancient Roman market culture continues well today. Markets are regular, well-visited by locals and is place where buyers of Italian shops dig out new concepts. Ginevra Panzetti has been exhibiting on Roman markets for ten years before she met Sergio Salomone and decided to unite their minds into a full-scale brand. She had a very important time to interact with market many times. It's a good way to fit your product to market needs. You can see immediate reaction and chance future design accordingly.
During selling only on the markets founders have got Italian customers who made regular orders. That created the feeling that a real business can be done here. Next step for Panzetti and Salomone was to go international.
MUTA takes part in art and jewelry fairs in Milan, Paris and Amsterdam. Quite successful expositions created a steady stream of demand from abroad. Now MUTA is fully booked for orders.
Invest smart in a new home base
Need to be closer to the international markets and a wish to be in a less conservative city pushed MUTA to find a new place for craft-shop. Turin was an easy pick because it hosts many important events of Italian art, and it is only an hour away from Milan, which is the hub for Italian connection to the world.
When Panzetti and Salomone where walking in Turin looking for a good place, they found this place near the center which had a large space on the first floor and a space in the basement. And the price was so good that they decided to take it and make not only a craft-shop here, but also a showroom and an art-space for personal projects underground.
Engage with the local community
As Turin is a city that breathes with art, small businesses work with artists to make specific event for locals. There are many opportunities there because many young artists are also seeking to do something. MUTA makes exhibitions in its space, invites friends and, of course, buy food for guests. It is still impossible to imagine Italian event without delicious food and wine.