Fabrizio Falciani turns wooden barrels and ancient vats into unique furniture pieces. With eCommerce, his art looks to the future.
Has fingers accustomed to recognizing the texture of different woods and removing the dust of time to give new life to an abandoned object such as an old winepress. Fabrizio is one of the last of the Chianti carpenters who work with such exceptional materials, in his workshop creating furniture and home accessories from ancient wooden casks, some dating back to the nineteenth century. Today, thanks to e-commerce, Fabrizio's workshop is open to customers around the world.
“The moments of greatest satisfaction are those in which you establish contact with the customer.”
An art learned in the family
"These woods are full of history and, for people from this area they have great sentimental value, they’re part of the territory," says Fabrizio, who was born in Chianti. The raw material for his creations comes from wineries and farms in the district, barrels and vats with patinas from the wine that have built up over time. He learned the craft from his uncle: "After school, during the summer, I was in his shop. I'm passionate about it, but I didn’t imagine that it would become my job for the next thirty years."
Now he is the craftsman. "Historically, artisans have always worked for their neighborhood, for people they knew," says Fabrizio. "Over time, though, this has been disappearing. There’s little demand for creations from scratch." Over the years tastes have also changed: "Priorities have changed. For us artisans, who create quality produce, it’s a problem. If you don’t explore new frontiers there is no future. Last year, I was about to close everything."
A new virtual frontier
One of the antidotes, for Fabrizio, was e-commerce. When we became aware of the section for dedicated Italian craftsmen, we felt it was a good project." Of course, a new frontier means new challenges: "We’re used to interacting with customers, so having to explain what we do through photos and descriptions was a novelty," says Fabrizio. After opening their online store, orders began to arrive. "Amazon gave us a big hand to increase sales in just one year," he says. Today the online channel represents approximately 25% of sales, but in Christmas 2015, that percentage rose to 50%: success that encouraged him to continue.
Beyond Tuscany, looking to the future
The woods of “Le Porte del Chianti" have far passed the borders of Tuscany, into Europe and as far as the US and Japan. "To think that our creations are appreciated even in places so far away is surprising and we enjoy that."
"The moments of greatest satisfaction are those in which you establish contact with the customer. to customise the design and create something new ... it's a part of a craftsman's work to create. The Tuscan artisan has clear ideas of what he wants for the future: "To keep doing this work, which is a passion," he says, "and to be able to pass this on to my children one day."