February 24, 2022
Giampaolo Molinaro, Head of sales / Sun Division
The Italian lens producer talks about sustainability and expansion and introduces their new head of sales / solar division, Giampaolo Molinaro.
Q: DIVEL ITALIA has reported positive growth in 2021. Can you explain in the current climate how this has been achieved and is there a particular focus the company has going forward?
A: 2021 came to a successful close for Divel Italia. Despite the ongoing COVID crisis around the world, the industry has seen a clear recovery compared to 2020. Divel specifically has posted 31% growth in corrective lenses and a 49% increase (including on 2019) in solar filters. This performance is likely the result of a series of policies and commercial strategies implemented by the company, particularly over the last four years in which we have developed new products with an emphasis on innovation and environmental sustainability, and in which we have executed a plan to reposition our products and our brand through targeted marketing efforts.
Q: DIVEL ITALIA has responded to market demand in the area of sustainability: please explain this development.
A: Sustainability is a road down which the entire eyewear industry has been heading for a few years. It is an unavoidable need in today’s consumerist society, and here at Divel we want to play our part. In 2019, before the pandemic upset the market, Divel was pursuing projects aimed at the recycling of lenses. The result was a series of ideas that brought about the DIVEL GREEN LINE project and resulted in articles such as lighting, sample cases, and works of art made with waste lenses. At the same time, our Research & Development unit created our first lens made from bioplastic, and our Green Line is now 40% organic materials.
Q: How has this sustainable direction been received by customers?
A: Our Green Line has been received exceptionally well by the market, thanks in particular to the functional characteristics of the lens, which can be tinted or treated. In fact, there are many manufacturers who are mounting bioplastic lenses in their frames. The success of the Green Line has led us to focus our energies on sustainability. Without getting into specifics and spoiling the official launch, we can say that various other innovations are coming in this regard in the area of solar filters.
Q: Summarise the latest company news of 2021.
A: As we have said, throughout this year we’ve continued to work on the development of new products to offer to our customers. For MIDO 2021, we organized the online event “See the World with Us” in order to present our new collections. In September 2021, we had the pleasure of returning to the first in-person trade show after so long, at SILMO Paris, an event at which we were able to physically shake hands with our customers and find new business opportunities. In 2021, our Italian commercial network for corrective lenses added three new agents (in Tuscany, Calabria, and Piedmont), an area manager for the south and central region, and a new warehouse in Tuscany (Arezzo). We also opened four new locations abroad — three production sites (in China, Morocco, and Ukraine) and one sales office (in Egypt) — which join the existing structures in order to strengthen the market penetration of Divel Italia.
Q: What other product news can you share to date?
A: For the virtual MIDO event in June, we held an online presentation of a number of new fashion collections, including On The Line and Rainbow, the technical collection NoHEV Light and Dark, and our Sports line, the latest division to join the company, which handles the design of helmet shields and sports lenses. At SILMO, we came out with a huge new product: our glass lens Minerva Glass, developed together with Polaris Lens. This new glass lens is available in interestingly small quantities for smaller collections and includes shaping, tempering and assembly services, all carried out exclusively in Italy. Our corrective-lenses unit has also come out with certain innovations in the area of coatings, developed with the help of our expanded Milan lab. This includes Silken White, which provides exceptional transparency and beauty (even for sunglass lenses), and Performance Plus, used to apply additional oil-repellent coatings to the lens.
Q: There have also been new releases for the DIVEL CR fashion collection and a new collection featuring CR technology such as light and dark NoHEV. Can you expand?
A: In 2021, we presented On the Line, a CR39 collection featuring a combination of two contrasting colors, applied in a color bath, which are separated by a near perfect line. Our Light & Dark NoHEV lenses are photochromic lenses designed to absorb harmful high-energy visible (HEV) blue light both indoors and out, where exposure to the harmful blue light emitted by the sun is ten times greater than that of an artificial light source. This lens absorbs nearly all of this harmful blue light.
Q: Giampaolo Molinaro joined the company as the new head of sales for Divel Italia’s solar division in 2021. Can you comment on this key appointment?
A: This was certainly a moment that marked an important generational change during a period of transition brought about by COVID. The move was fairly natural, as he already had five years of experience at Divel Italia and so had knowledge of the company and our market. The trust he has earned with our customers certainly made it all easier and enabled us to surpass the initial targets we had set for 2021.
Q: What are your hopes and aspirations for the coming year – 2022?
A: 2022 is one of great expectation. Despite the global uncertainty due to COVID and the increase in the costs of raw materials and of transport, we have been able to work in synergy with our customers. Therefore, the goal for 2022 is to consolidate the work we have done thus far and to continue the growth we have achieved in 2021. In line with 2021, we will be launching new developments with regard to the Green Line project at upcoming industry events, the first of which will be MIDO 2022. At MIDO 2022, DIVEL ITALIA will be presenting new technologies and new materials in Pav. 15, booth C01 D02.