Luisa Spagnoli

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Bergamo: Luisa Spagnoli's shop

Luisa Spagnoli (Italian pronunciation: [luˈiːza spaɲˈɲɔːli]), born Sargentini (Perugia, 30 October 1877 – Paris, 21 September 1935), was an Italian businesswoman, famous for creating a brand of women's fashion clothing and chocolate brand Perugina.

Perugina[edit]

Spagnoli was born in Perugia. In 1877, with Giovanni Buitoni, she created the small company Perugina with its headquarters in the historical center of Perugia. Perugina initially began with 15 employees.

With the outbreak of World War I, only Spagnoli was left to carry on the business with her two sons Mario and Aldo. After the war, the Perugina factory grew to more than one hundred employees.

In 1923, a brand of Italian chocolate called Baci (Kiss) was created.

Angora Spagnoli[edit]

After the end of the war, Spagnoli created a new company, breeding poultry and angora rabbits.

In 1928, Spagnoli was the first person to introduce angora yarn for knitwear with the trademark l'Angora Spagnoli, including shawls, boleros, and fashionable garments. At the Fair of Milano this innovation was showcased, and the activity of the company soon expanded.

Spagnoli was unable to witness the growth of her company, which began about four years later under the guidance of her son Mario. She was diagnosed with cancer. Giovanni Buitoni moved her to Paris to obtain the best medical care available, remaining with her until her death in Paris in 1935.

Industrial development[edit]

After Spagnoli's death, her son Mario (1900–1977) transitioned his mother's company from fine crafts to a more industrialized focus in 1937. He was credited with the invention of two objects, patented in 1942: a comb for collection of wool, and a clamp for tattooing angora rabbits.

In 1947, Mario Spagnoli built the City dell'angora factory, built at the center of a growing community. In the 1960s, he also founded the playground of the Città della Domenica originally called Spagnolia, that remains a destination for visitors to this day.

Under the leadership of Mario's son Hannibal (1927–1986), entrepreneur and president of Perugia Calcio, production diversified and the family created the network of Luisa Spagnoli shops; there are now more than 100 shops throughout the world, with the headquarters still based in Perugia.

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