Casalinghi Mambriani, the traditional "bottega"

Casalinghi Mambriani, the traditional "bottega"

Milano Home meets Daniela Ubaldi Verga, owner of Casalinghi Mambriani. A range of about 30,000 items, with everything you could possibly need in the home and especially in the kitchen. A historic store that also makes creative use of tiktok

Casalinghi Mambriani, at No. 14 Via Belfiore in Milan, is a historic Milanese store founded in 1920 by Ettore Mambriani and now in the fourth generation with Tommaso Vertemati. It has been awarded the "Bottega Storica del Comune di Milano" (Historic Store of the City of Milan) and the "Negozio Storico della Lombardia" (Historic Store of Lombardy) in recognition of its work and daily commitment to serving customers for 104 years and as a testimony of culture and tradition for the entire city.



How would you define the style of your store?


Ours is a bottega, meaning a store selling many items, all of which connected to the home. We sell everything from moka coffee machine gaskets to plate and glass sets, basketry and small electrical appliances. We currently have around 30,000 items, with everything you could possibly need in the home and especially in the kitchen.



Who are your customers?


Our customer base is diverse, we don’t target any particular category because we have so many items that we can serve so many customers, from individuals to restaurants. In recent years, many young people have become passionate about cooking, driven by the media and the time they spend at home as a result of the pandemic



You have e-commerce store and social media, how do you use them?


We have an e-commerce store that we use mainly for wedding lists and we have noticed how this tool has helped us in recent years because so many of our customers live abroad or all over Italy and this allows us to reach them easily. We have always had social media, and during the pandemic it was a great way for us to reach a lot of customers who had no idea who we were. We mainly use Instagram, Facebook and tiktok to help people understand what certain tools are used for, and we ask customers to write about their interesting stories or how they use different accessories



What characteristics do the brands and products you select for the store need to have?


First, we always look at how an item is made, i.e. robustness and reliability. We try to favour Made in Italy items even though, especially in recent years, this has become increasingly difficult. We test a lot of things before we offer them for sale, especially the whole world of cooking, and we test pans to understand their strengths and weaknesses and then bring them to the end user



Which product category do you sell the most? Which new product categories would you like to include in the store?


Definitely everything in the cooking category, we are specialists in pots and pans and we always try to keep ourselves up to date to understand what the market has to offer. We do a lot of travel to trade shows and events to launch new products, even if there is no specific new product category.



What do you do to attract customers?


The use of social media has helped us a lot to make people understand the depth of our product range, which was initially aimed at younger people, but then we saw how many customers who did not know who we were came to see us, especially customers from outside Milan or from the other side of the city. We often do demonstrations, where space allows, to show how to use accessories or to allow customers to ask chefs or promoters coming to the event questions.



What is the biggest challenge a store faces today?


There are so many challenges every day, from the pandemic to the closure of Suez, from the cost of raw materials to the problem of companies running out of stock, but now perhaps getting people to understand the quality of a product has become more complex, also because today there is more competition between companies than in the past and, unlike in the past, there is greater use of the Internet, which is not always used in the right way, often dwelling on reviews or misleading articles. 


How could you improve your relationship with suppliers?


We have around 200 suppliers and it is often difficult to establish a stable relationship, for some, but not all, perhaps there has been a lack of product training in recent years. There are many companies that, in order to overcome the obstacles, have decided to expand their offer but have reduced the quality and training of agents, who are replaced too often. 



What is the thing you enjoy most about your work?


Definitely product research on the one hand and customer relations on the other, because they are crucial to the former. What helps me to find new things or solutions are the requests and questions that customers ask me.