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Reply #23: Economic crisis tests Italy's luxury market [View All]

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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-05-11 08:05 AM
Response to Reply #13
23. Economic crisis tests Italy's luxury market

Sara Cassetta is a painter at Ubaldo Grazia, a 500-year-old ceramics maker in Italy that has seen business plummet. (Don Lee, Los Angeles Times / November 14, 2011)

Reporting from Deruta, Italy
"It's been a disaster, a disaster," bellows Ubaldo Grazia.

The owner of his family's 500-year-old ceramics business isn't talking about the financial meltdown in his country or the Eurozone debt crisis, but the weak U.S. economy that he said had cost him one customer after another. Saks, Tiffany, Nieman Marcus, Williams-Sonoma his list goes on.

Grazia's company, now in its 25th generation, is one of dozens of ceramics makers struggling in this picturesque medieval town known for its handcrafted pottery. Business has fallen so low down to just five painters from 75 a few years ago that he's worried about whether it will make it to the 26th generation.

A half-hour's drive away in central Italy's Umbria, in the hilltop village of Solomeo, Brunello Cucinelli seems a picture of contentment inside his 14th century castle, headquarters for his thriving cashmere clothing company named after himself.
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