Nothing could have prepared me for how differently Italians view age and women, compared to the progressive and modern Canadian society I had grown up in. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t note a sense of discrimination against women in general, and especially young woman in the workforce here. When I moved here, the fact that I was already a Manager in my mid-20s was UNHEARD OF.
In your mid-20s in Italy you are still considered a “kid” for the most part and if you are a woman you would be hard pressed to be managing anything.
Every time I was met with another comment like “You were a Manager in Canada, but your so young, you can’t have much experience” I felt so down. I felt as if I had taken ten steps back and my ideas would never be taken seriously again. But it is very difficult to fight a society that is old, slow and set in their ways. So imagine my surprise when I met Sofia Malagoli (pictured above). Sofia is in her mid-20s, so by Italian standards she would never be capable of managing a business, let alone for completely transforming a historic company, spearheading it into a new era of growth, distribution and renewal. And yet, that’s what she’s doing!
This week I will be posting an interview with Sofia who will speak about her family’s “Acetaia”, the Acetaia Malagoli Daniele. The word Acetaia, in Italian refers to a place producing “aceto” – vinegar. Before Sofia was born, her father started a hobby project of creating Balsamic Vinegar. He later had his Balsamic Vinegar certified as “Traditional Balsamic Vinegar” which is protected under Italian law and certified, it must follow a set of rigorously antique production methods and testing.
As it turned out they have one of the largest collections of Balsamic Vinegar Barrels in the WORLD, and Sofia is transforming her father’s hobby into an award winning, international producer of Balsamic Vinegar D.O.P.
Every time I speak with her it is a pleasure. She is so professional, motivated and entrepreneurial that she inspires me to be courageous. Yes, we are women and “young” and in Italy, but if we have a vision we can attain our goals.
Between reviving her Acetaia’s brand, managing International distribution and studying for her degree in Engineering, she also manages to host incredible Fashion Events in her family’s restored antique farm house! Later this month I’ll be attending a brand launch at one of her events!
Strong Women Raise Strong Women
I’ve always been inspired by my own mom, who raised her three daughters and one son to believe in ourselves and our self worth and not be afraid of investing, taking risks and making bold decisions. It takes a strong woman to raise strong children, especially daughters, who risk being called negative labels the bolder and more self assured we are.
It is no wonder that Sofia’s mother, Barbara Piccinnini is a entrepreneur herself, with a “do all” mentality and a fearless spirit. She once owned and operated a hotel, which the family also lived in, and Sofia grew up watching her mom manage the family’s business! With the arrival of Sofia’s younger sister they bought an antique farm house, and completely renovated it, with Barbara doing all of the decorating. Later this week I’ll take you on a tour of their incredible space (hello spa washroom with a lounge couch!)
A lover of good taste, Barbara has always loved luxury Italian bags and belts, the more particular or special it was the more she had to have it!
Sofia is a beautiful woman. Her style is sexy without being overly so. She love skirts with interesting details and infuses her everyday look with a lot of femininity. I love her glasses and the fact that she can go from leather riding boots to wellingtons and still look fabulous. I’ve mentioned last week that fur in Italy is viewed in a completely different manner than it is in North America. There is much less “waste” here, with many fur coats being handed down from generation to generation. And YES there are fur repair shops EVERYWHERE here, in fact, in Modena alone there are 7!! The humid, wet cold of the “pianura” (this area of Italy which is a long, flat, damp plane) has historically made fur a comfortable option to stay warm, and the tradition remains.
The Balsamic Giveaway
This month’s giveaway is inspired by Modena, Italy’s “Oro Nero” – “Black Gold” with a chance to win a certified bottle of aged traditional Balsamic Vinegar from The Acetaia Malagoli Daniele and a 3 piece jewellery set created in Murano Glass, inspired by the slow and long decent of a drop of balsamic vinegar. From the “Mutina” collection created by Susanna Martini, Murano glass jewellery artisan and owner of the boutique La Gioja in the centre of Modena. Read an interview with Susanna, part of HAND MADE – The Artisan Series on Reasons to Dress here.
And The Winner Is….
And the winner of the Vacchetta Grassa hand made leather rucksack is …..SARA TROJANIELLO!!! You have been emailed, congratulations and thank you for entering!
To everyone else who entered the giveaway, thank you so much for showing your support for this series, there will be a monthly giveaway for an artisan hand made prize.
I know that not everyone celebrates International Women’s Day, but I do. I think of it as a time to reflect on the importance of women in every aspect of Society, and although we should appreciate women 365 days a year this isn’t always the case. A day to refelct on how we can and do contribute to this World is a fine day in my books. So….. HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY to you ALL ! Now onto YOUR style…
#REASONSTODRESS Real Mom Street Style Linkup
Thank you to everyone who linked up last week! If you would like to co-host the #reasonstodress linkup I would love to have you, please feel free to email me at email@example.com !