An important history that has evolved alongside the bicycle, or rather, with bicycle saddles.
The bicycle, instead, has been around for 200 years, a number that also represents an evolutionary path, without eras, generations or boundaries. Many things have changed, but some of them are like permanent features that have always been around, and the saddle is one of these. They have certainly changed, but saddles are a mainstay in the centuries-long history of cycling.
In 1947, in the immediate post-war period, Italy was a country in need of reconstruction but, as we know, misfortunes can also lead to opportunities. Strength and tenacity were required in order to deploy the spirit of initiative. There was a desire to give shape to ideas and this is precisely what inspired Martino Schiavon, who produced bicycle saddles in an attic in the centre of Padua. Our history began right here, with a bold and fearless craftsman.
Craftsmanship and handmade, courage and devotion to our own land, all these concepts are in our DNA and are part of the way we work. But the path of a company is like a cobbled street made of many porphyry stones, which are all different yet all necessary. In 1970, for example, we produced one million saddles, and in 1990 we reached the six million mark. However, the fundamental aspects still focus on our family, the principle value, and our devotion to high-quality work, which does not fear a globalised market.
Even today, one of our greatest successes is having maintained and consolidated the entire Selle SMP production in the Veneto region. Our company is part of an economic system that represents the driving force of Italy and Europe. This is a source of pride and satisfaction for us.
Today, Selle SMP is headed by Franco and Maurizio Schiavon, the sons of Martino, who remained in the role of president until just before he died in 2006.
Both Maurizio and Franco have clear memories of their career paths within the company. Such memories are not easily forgotten because they dwell in the heart:
Maurizio Schiavon “Everyone calls me an entrepreneur, but if I look back - and looking back is certainly essential to being able to look ahead - I still remember my father’s words, the phrase, when he told me: “Look, if you want, there's room here for you too”, referring to the workshop we had below our house. I began by working my way up and making deliveries, and even today, although time has passed, I feel a bit like a shop boy and still a craftsman, certainly a skilled craftsman but, nevertheless, a Craftsman.”
Franco Schiavon: “I joined the company at the age of 22, after my language studies, although during the school holidays my father always called me because he needed help. I was happy to help out. I worked my way up to learn the job, and then I started to deal with the business aspect. The best memory I have is of my first customer in Salzburg. In addition to a professional relationship, we have developed a good friendship.”
And following in the footsteps of Franco and Maurizio are their offspring, the third generation of Selle SMP. Because for us it is a tradition, a family passion and there is still a long way to go in the saddle.