INTERVIEW WITH GIOVANNA BARZAGHI – EFFEBIQUATTRO Milano

“I have always believed in the creativity and sensitivity of women”
Giovanna Barzaghi, Commercial Director of Effebiquattro, is lively, expansive and with clear objectives: here is the
story of her success.
A little girl always on the move and a sensitive, extroverted and dreamy woman: Giovanna Barzaghi has a very clear idea of
the future of her company, because the doors inside the house are not just a carpentry product, but a design object able to
improve the quality of life within the home.
Good morning, Giovanna. Let’s start our chat: would you like to tell me a little bit about yourself? As a child for example.
Ah, ha! I was a very lively girl, I never stopped … My mom had to take me to the First Aid sometimes because I hurt myself by
playing. But in reality I have never changed: even today I am expansive and playful and I don’t know how to stay still, so much
so that my husband wonders how I will do if and when I will retire…
You work in the family business: a case or a conscious decision?
I want to be honest: as a young man I dreamed of becoming a hostess! A dream that unfortunately broke down very soon,
because I’m shortsighted and I wore glasses, something that was forbidden for flight attendants at the time. On the other
hand, in addition to accounting studies, I never lacked the desire to work, which I definitely preferred to study, and so I started
to get closer to Dad’s company.
A company that was certainly no stranger to you…
Absolutely not: my mom and dad often brought me and my two sisters to the lab; we started to learn about the production
activities from an early age, so we always breathed the air of the carpentry, let’s say so.
How was your company placement?
I started from the bottom, paying my dues. I immediately enjoyed the respect that the people who worked with my father paid
to him, but I had to learn a lot. The biggest difficulty was getting me accepted as a woman, more than anything else.
Why this difficulty?
You see, the world of doors has been closer to the world of construction, and in that world producing doors, therefore carrying
out an activity linked to woodworking, has always been the prerogative of men. It was difficult for me to be recognized
by suppliers, as by customers, but I did it. Indeed, it has been a success for all of us sisters, because we are all involved in
Effebiquattro: one is an architect, one deals with the production and I with the marketing and sales activities. In short, we are
a pink company.
But she was the maker of an important change.
Yes, it was tiring, but we did it. This is a cultural change, because today the door is not just an accessory, but becomes an
important piece of furniture much more related to design and fashion. We don’t just sell doors, but we sell emotions and above
all we anticipate solutions to future needs. I have always believed in the creativity and sensitivity that we women can bring to
production and design and, even when the crisis hit hard, I never gave in to the idea of stopping, but on the contrary I had the
courage to go ahead, placing and setting myself goals, even in numerical terms, which proved me right.
I would like to know more about “Trendology”.
Gladly, it’s something we care a lot about. It is a neologism that wants to put together the “trends”, the new door proposals in
line with market needs and able to improve people’s quality of life by becoming fashion and design objects with “technology”,
therefore the attention to production, which must always be of the highest quality.
Moreover, advanced technology has always been our strong point since the beginning, around the 1980s.
You are always on the move: tell me that you can even reconcile family commitments.
Of course yes! I got married very young and I had two children, Davide, who is now 22 years old – and who recently joined the
company – and Francesco, 19. I have always been a class representative, ever since the boys were at the elementary school and
sometimes I took them with me to the office to help them doing homeworks and to stay with them. Every morning, even now,
I prepared breakfast and lunch before going to work even if I go out at seven in the morning. I spend every free minute with
my family, but obviously I can only thank the grandmothers who have always helped me, and my husband, who has always
supported me and he has been able to encourage me in difficult moments.
A very close family, I think.
Absolutely! One thing we have always believed in is that on one hand there is work, and on the other hand we have affections
and family.
My father was a visionary and a great worker, a mentor to me. His greatest merit was to let me make mistakes even as I remained
close to him, aware that we can learn from mistakes. Furthermore, he taught us to respect people and their work: we have the
responsibility of 85 families and this is a further incentive for us to do better, improving and innovating technologies in respect
of customers, suppliers and – lastly, but no less important – the environment. As for my mom, she is the one who has always
held everything together, working “behind the scenes” and trying to help us as much as possible, even with our children.
She is from Seregno, a small town in Brianza: could you tell me what are your favorite dishes?
That’s right, I live in Brianza and I love braised beef that my mom prepares, absolutely unbeatable! But I love cooking fish: I do it
au gratin, or I prepare spaghetti with mussels or shrimp. I like it a lot and find it easier to cook.
Do you go for some shopping sometimes?
I like shopping a lot and … you know what? Sometimes my son come with me, together we can have fun even going through
shops!