COEX originates from the intuition of two historic textile companies, Torcitura Padana and the Zanolo Group, who merged their professionalism and energy to create a new product: the first technology that can transform from within the structure of the natural fibres, making them completely fireproof, without changing its characteristics.
The development of this ambitious project has been aided by the tenacity and enthusiasm of Simona Pesaro, now the driving force behind Torcitura Padana after taking over from her father Franco, who passed down his passion for this work to her.
Your family has worked in the textile industry for several generations, has joining the company been a natural transition?
It has been a natural on, but not an essential one. The idea of devoting myself to family business came about right at the end of secondary school when I came here to work as a factory worker during the summer holidays, but until I was sure, I never mentioned it to the family. I wanted to feel free to make a decision without any outside influences. In the end, I made up my mind after graduating in economics and trade, and today I am really happy with the choice I made and I am madly in love with my work. I couldn’t see myself doing anything else.
How had this “female” generational succession has been received at the company?
It was actually a very gradual process, I came in back in the early 90s and my dad was still working at the company until a few years ago. So there was a long period of shadowing, which sometimes got confrontational, we have two very different personalities! - Where workmates have gotten to know me judge me “on the pitch.” I have never felt any sort of distrust or resistance towards me for the fact that I’m a woman: it’s probably because we are real people, who look at the facts rather than the labels.
In the textile industry, women are strongly represented at labour level, which is the energy that moves everything; but the managerial roles, as often happens, unfortunately, are almost exclusively the preserve of men. It had happened to me so often that I find myself in a situation where I am the only woman in a male-only environment, but I must say that I have rarely experienced any prejudices against me. And even if there were, I would have gone on my path, without being bothered by it. I believe that people should be judged for what they do: whether they are a man or woman should not come into it, the important thing is to work well and with passion and to take home the results.
How do you reconcile your work commitments and your private life?
It is not easy - and I say this in a particularly busy time for my professional life - but you have to do it. Being able to carve out the time to devote to oneself - even if it’s only fleeting, but quality - is critical to working well. If you don’t recharge the batteries every now and again, you risk burn out: even those who, like me, are very passionate about what they do.
What added value do women provide in business?
Diversity creates value. Having multiple points of view is an extraordinary source of wealth for companies, the engine for creativity and innovation: it would be foolish, as well as anachronistic, to not harness its potential. At the end of the day, even COEX was born from the merging and contribution of different people, each with their own specific characteristics: companies, research institutions, the customers themselves that have led us to experiment and innovate so we can meet their demands. Without all of these factors coming together, the project probably would never have seen the light of day.
What does the future hold for you?
My ambition is to spread the COEX brand in Italy and abroad and develop its full potential, because I think it is a truly innovative technology, which can revolutionize our industry and our lives. There are so many possible applications, from furnishings to clothing: not only for work, but also, for example, for children, where naturalness, comfort and security are essential values. In short, it is a story yet to be invented.