Job Digital Lab: sharing stories from local communities
Manuela Paolemilio, an entrepreneur from Pescara who has created the Manùfatto brand, explains how important it is to take care of local communities, even thanks to handmade objects that can speak out, communicating through colours, odours, tastes and values. Manuela presented her story at the local Job Digital Lab Event in Pescara to other enterprises that have “taken off thanks to technology.”
With the help of Nicoletta Vulpetti, a true lover of identity stories, the second edition of Job Digital Lab, the educational programme developed with ING Italia, presents the stories of the protagonists of personal and community change.
I used to work as a flight assistant, but I have always loved creating objects and custom jewellery that I sold at my family’s jewellery shop. Then, ten years ago, I decided to bet on my creativity and founded my enterprise, Manùfatto, which means handmade or made by hand.
I create bijoux. I buy stones, design the metal casings and have them printed in Italian factories and artisanal workshops.
When I’m not at fairs, I love to be at my workshop, where I can work and search for new forms with which to capture the colours, tastes and odours of the places I have visited as a flight assistant – and where I go whenever possible to nourish my desire for new stimuli.
My adventure with social networks began about nine years ago: first with Facebook and then with Instagram. I was seeking a larger market and thought “why not try on-line, where there are so many people to whom I can show my creations?” And that is what I did. I began on my own, posting photos of my creations and how they were created. Slowly, and with lots of commitment, I reached the results I was seeking. My Instagram account is followed by over 55,000 people, none of whom have been purchased.
And I was given tangible proof that social media works for business. Three years ago, my profile was hacked and during that period I lost 30% of my turnover. However, I have also been given proof that describing oneself, authentically, is the only way to establish true connections with your followers. I’m part of a small community of caring individuals, and I try to take care of them through the objects that I create. During the pandemic, for example, I brought half my workshop home and tried to communicate a message of joy and colour during that difficult period.
Last, but not least, I always remind my clients to be their own muses, not to let themselves be defined by others, but to choose their favourite adjectives.
This digital community often turns physical: young women from Milan, from Switzerland, from all over the place, often come out to meet us just to say hi.
I takes a lot of commitment, but I wake up happy in the morning and love to go to work.”