Behind the brand

Amplifying brand values

Nicola Del Din, CEO at Blackfin, talks to OT  about re-starting manufacturing after COVID-19 and the importance of the brand’s core pillars

Blackfin frames

What makes Blackfin’s eyewear unique?

The eyewear itself, because every Blackfin frame is a piece of art. It is the result of a mix of elements and values, which can be summarised with our concept, ‘neomadeinitaly’. Every Blackfin frame is state-of-art in terms of design, quality, innovation and material – the best titanium from Japan.

How did the outbreak of coronavirus affect Blackfin as a business and how did the company respond? Did the outbreak affect any launches over the past few months?

We were supposed to launch the new Blackfin Razor line at Mido but we put it off. Our sales reps have started selling it recently.

During the nationwide lockdown in Italy, we stopped manufacturing from the second half of March and resumed in mid-April. In June, the factory was working at 40% of capacity with staff working three days a week. The company’s warehouse and customer service remained operational during the crisis as the eyewear industry was exempt from closing down during the lockdown; glasses are considered a medical device. Commercial activity resumed from the beginning of May, but we had to wait until the end of July to see activity restart in earnest.

Blackfin recently released a statement on ‘restarting’ – could you tell us about the company’s approach to restarting operations as countries ease restrictions and embark on a ‘new normal’?

We are very proud to be an independent company and we consider it as a key point for our restart. But it is not the only element. We are a real Italian and completely in-house manufacturing company; we work with a passionate team of people and we live in one of the most beautiful places in the world. We have a strong expertise in titanium craftsmanship. All these values, which have always been the background of our company, could have been considered sentimental until a short while ago, but they are incredibly positive assets now.

We just simply need to keep on being ourselves and working on amplifying these messages to help more and more people understand who we really are and what we can offer.

Nicola Del Din
Nicola Del Din, CEO at Blackfin

The company is nearing completion of a new production and corporate headquarters building. Can you tell us about this project? What will it mean for the company to complete this sustainable building project, set to be the first certified ‘CasaClima’ in the Veneto Region?

In exactly in the same place as the older headquarters and in the same small village in the Dolomiti valley where the company was born almost 50 years ago, is where we are building the new production and corporate headquarters. This building – Blackfin Black Shelter – is very futuristic in the design and recalls the image of the Blackfin brand. In the new building the production area will be more than double the size, and the total area will be almost three times the surface of the present building.

We are also very proud of the CasaClima certification as it represents a step forward in our philosophy.

Are there any new products in development that customers should be aware of?

We have recently launched a new line of optical frames, Blackfin Razor. Made from 1mm titanium sheet, the styles are crafted using special micromechanical processes we custom-engineered for these frames. It’s a step forward in our research and development. It’s a line where you can find all the Blackfin features in terms of quality, design, innovation, but in an even lighter version.

What are the company’s main plans for the next 12 months?

I always think positively, but at the same time I’m realistic. The lockdown and the general situation dramatically affected the business all over the world. We suffered, and we had to review our business plan, but our company is totally independent and we can trust in our financial stability. These two assets, in my opinion, will make the difference in the business.

This is the reason why we decided to present the Razor Line, the whole new Autumn/Winter collection, in July and to speed up the construction of our headquarters. We want to spread a positive message to our clients.

How do you think the coronavirus outbreak has affected the eyewear sector? What might the next few months look like for the sector?

We are still facing the crisis and living the uncertainty but, realistically, we expect the market will take a year to recover from the blow of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the ongoing talk that the crisis will favour the digitalisation of the economy, we still believe that human values, true stories, tangible expertise and reliability can make the difference in the relationship with clients.