COVID-19 stories from the crisis: The Santini Factory
Santini was born in the Bergamo province – one of the hardest hit in Italy by COVID19 the pandemic. Since the beginning of the outbreak in end of February, the province and its neighboring areas had reported over 13,600 coronavirus cases, with more than 3,000 deaths, according to official data. So imagine going about your usual day and waking up to a crisis the next. What was it like to run a business in such chaotic state? Some of the Santini employees look back and share their experience through it all.
What was it like living and working through the center of the pandemic?
The global health crisis has been a traumatic and difficult experience for all of us. For many, there are moments when they felt empty and unproductive, with difficulty sleeping most nights and anxiety going through the roof most days.
It has definitely been unusual to spend so much time at home without getting out. Household experienced restlessness and people get high-strung from time-to-time.
Paola Santini, Marketing Director, found herself in the same state. “It’s been interesting to say the least,” she says.
Paola has two small children, which would normally be heard in the backdrop of most of her work calls. Both Paola and her husband were required to work from home, and they had to take turns looking after the kids. “Imagine doing three jobs at once: leading Santini’s Marketing team, mother, and looking after the home. I have never felt so tired in all my life.”
“Cabin fever is real”, says Stefano Devicenzi from the Santini Marketing team.
Stefano also recalls how the marketing department experienced strong adverse impact at the virus’ first strike. “All the plans we had laid out for the year went down the drain. The marketing team had to start all over again, but all while working remotely. Virtual calls and meetings became an everyday norm. “
Anna Colombo who works on the International Sales team, has been working with the company since 1994. In all these years, she has never experienced anything like it. She describes the experience as a mixture of surprise, disbelief and fear. “In almost three decades of working in Santini, I never imagined such an experience could would come our way.”
As you can imagine the production department was also affected by the crisis. Giuseppe Maier, Santini Printing Manager has worked for company since 1979, he explained that much of the production processes needed to be modified to respect the social distancing measures that were put in place. “We must pay particular care with regards to avoiding personal contact. The company installed sanitizing gel stations throughout the plant and in my opinion, in spite of everything the situation is going well.”
There is a silver lining
Paola mentions a lot of changes in Santini’s marketing plans amidst the crisis but also stresses the importance of being agile. Given that things changed every day and the Marketing team had to react fast. She saw this as a true test of ingenuity and creativity.
As a result, Santini launched the #dontstoptraining #trainindoor campaigns. With the help of Santini’s professional athletes, the brand carried out the campaign for weeks.
The outcome has been positive, and the team enjoyed everyone’s contribution and enthusiasm. This has fueled the fire and motivation for her to do more.
All in this together… albeit being apart
With enough strength and support from people around us, one can see the positive in the situation.
This is especially true in the case of Anna. The pandemic has shown her the important things in life, and how she should spend more time with things that matter.
Stefano also feels proud of Santini and its employees. It warms his heart to see what the company has been able to do amidst the crisis, how people in the company have overcome fear to do something for others. He recalls how the #dontstoptraining campaign coupled with the company’s pivot to producing masks to provide for Bergamo have fueled his passion to do more not just for Santini customers but also for his fellow citizens.
For Paola, working from home also means being able to spend more time with the family. She recalls unforgettable moments with the people who matter, like seeing her son learn how to walk – going from crawling to walking right before her very eyes. Paola realizes that something so precious wouldn’t have been possible with her being in the office.
As the company looks ahead optimistically to 2021 signs of recovery can be seen everywhere. Pro cycling is back with a compressed UCI World Tour calendar which is in full swing. The UCI Road Worlds are confirmed in the Italian city of Imola September 24 – 27 and we are looking forward to seeing the Santini made rainbow stripes jersey on the backs of all the newly crowned world champions!