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The firm Benetton was founded in 1965 in Ponzano Veneto, a small town near Treviso,
by four brothers’ initiative. In the beginning, Benetton was only a small company that
was producing sweaters for local independent retailers. The keys to the success
consisted in some innovations related to the product and its distribution and to an
efficient production organization based on the work of a large network of small local
subcontractors specialized in knitting, cutting and sewing garments. In the 1970s it
expanded in the Italian market of sweaters and soon of casual apparel in general. In
fact, shortly after the production of knitwear, followed the production of shirts and
jeans. In the beginning Benetton sold them under different brands (Tomato, Jeans
West, etc.) because the quality of these new products was not yet comparable to the
one obtained for the sweaters and there was a fear that it might damage the
reputation that the firm had achieved as a knitwear producer. The first Benetton’s
shop opened in Belluno in 1966 and in just few years Benetton’s stores covered all
Italian’s provinces. In the beginning of the 70s, there were about 500 stores under
different Benetton’s brands (as well as Benetton, also Tomato, My Market and
Merceria). It is estimated that in the second part of the seventies around 60-70% of
the overall Benetton production was made by a hundred of subcontractors located
mainly in Treviso and in the surrounding provinces of Veneto. The activities such as
design, quality control and the manufacturing stages which required greater
investments (such as knitting, cutting and dyeing), were instead undertaken in the two
factories of Villorba and Monzambano which employed about 1000 workers. From the
very beginning, a tight control was imposed on subcontractors, to whom raw materials
and precise technical details...

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