by Susan Reed on Sep 10, 2019
Elastomeric Material Solutions
Would you be surprised to learn that high-tech and high-fashion are often closely linked? One unique company, Italian-based Omnipel Technologies, makes it their mission to address global footwear trends with high performance material solutions. For more than 20 years, Omnipel has been partnering with Rogers Corporation to do just that. We recently spoke with Dr. Jessica Schlaefer, Managing Director of Omnipel, to get her perspectives on the company, material trends, and the secrets to her firm’s global success.
A UNIQUE COMPANY: WHAT IS OMNIPEL TECHNOLOGIES?
INTERVIEWER: Tell us about OMNIPEL, how it got started and what your core business is today.
Schlaefer: ;Omnipel has been in business for more than 40 years. It was actually founded in 1975 by my father, Rolf Schlaefer. He started as an agent for shoes and bags, then began importing and sourcing specialty materials and converting them for customers. We are considered converters as we source specialty materials and then we add value to those materials through printing, perforating, slitting, adding backings, etc. Today, we specialize in offering worldwide high quality materials combining technological innovations with the continuous evolution of fashion trends.
INTERVIEWER: Where is OMNIPEL located and what does that mean for your business?
Schlaefer: My father started the business in Italy, and eventually grew the business throughout Europe, but we have remained headquartered here in Italy. We are located in a beautiful town on the shores of Lake Garda in Northern Italy. Being in Italy has helped shape our target business towards the shoe and fashion industries. Italy is the leading shoe manufacturing country in the European Union, and has always been the world leader for the manufacturers of luxury and high level shoes having a high fashion content.
INTERVIEWER: What markets do you target in your business?
Schlaefer: The shoe industry represents about 80% of our business. Handbags make up another 10%, and the rest is a wide variety of different niches including apparel, architectural, and sporting goods such as gloves, saddles, and helmets. We have been known for many years for technical, functional materials, but now we are known for fashion fabrics, as well. I have to say it was really hard to break into the fashion world but we now serve all the major brands.
For more information on Omnipel Technologies, visit http://www.omnipel.com.