Sustainability is also about buying quality: Silvana Rossi [Video]
Buying quality in itself is sustainable because it has longevity and ages gracefully. True luxury hotels understand this, says Argenta Project’s Silvana Rossi
Originally studying Fashion and History of Art in her native Scotland, Silvana Rossi moved to London in 1995 to embark on a career within the interior design industry, initially starting out in project management as a buyer with Turnkey Projects before specialising in the furniture, fixtures and equipment (FF&E) procurement for 4 and 5-star hotels.
Silvana had a very clear idea of how interior procurement should be managed — with both integrity and transparency, leading her to establish her company Argenta Projects Limited in 2002.
With teams based in London and Paris, Silvana continues to personally oversee Argenta’s vast repertoire which consists of national stadiums, residential properties and luxury international hotels, not only in the UK but throughout Europe, Asia, South America and the Caribbean.
Silvana’s eye for detail along with her talent for intelligently sourcing all elements of FF&E and operating supplies and equipment (OS&E) makes her a leader within the industry.
On the sidelines of TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR London 2019, Rossi spoke to TOPHOTELNEWS on the challenges facing the procurement industry and why investing in true luxury also means sustainability.
BIGGEST CHALLENGES IN PROCUREMENT FOR LUXURY HOTELS
Rossi: I think the biggest challenge is a budget. Realizing exactly what you’re getting for a budget and what design that you have, and the client being informed or misinformed, which is a lot of times the case. So we do an open book tender. We look at ethics, sourcing and local community.
Some people believe that buying things further afield, in Asia, whatever and bringing into Europe is more economical way of doing things. For us, we then look at it plus-plus. Items that come further afield ultimately need to be warehoused.
What we like to do for our clients is show: “This is what this item will cost this from this area, this is the quality of what you’ll get, this is their financial standing and this is how the item is constructed.” So you can see the difference and ultimately, what the item costs when it is then put into a hotel, then we’ll understand which is the correct route to do it.
THE TRADITIONAL VIEW ON SUSTAINABILITY IS HIGH QUALITY
Rossi: Sustainability is also buying quality, because quality in itself is sustainable because it has longevity and that is what a lot of people are not looking for. For us, it is very, very important. So yes, we are looking at it ethically, how is this being produced, are the people being paid fairly for what they are doing, compared to the other parts of the market, and is the product going to last?
We did the Ritz in Paris. There was a lot of that property that was restored and renovated, so hugely sustainable. These are items that are in there 15, 20 years and all we needed to do was to renovate those to put them back in. Not going and spending a huge amount of money to buy new.
So, again, there’s different ways to look at it. I know everyone looks at it in a very modern way, but there’s kind of a traditional way of looking at it. Buying quality in itself has longevity, and therefore it ages gracefully and therefore that is what luxury, true luxury hotels have in them.
WHY MARKUPS ARE A NO-NO IN ETHICAL PROCUREMENT
Rossi: I’ve got some incredible clients, and our clients understand that what we have brought to them is actually how to truly buy luxury. We’re not about markups. That is another thing, a big sort of taboo in our industry. There’s always some rebate going here, a rebate going there. We don’t work on that principle because we want a client to understand that to buy this, this is truly what it is. Therefore, they’re marveled that in fact their hotel didn’t cost the earth that everyone thought it did.
THOUGHTS ON THE TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR
Rossi: Well, actually, it was my first time and I loved the intimacy, personally. I go to other events and they tend to be very big and you can get lost in it. So, sitting around the table, chatting and meeting people on small tables with a maximum of eight — I really did appreciate that.
I really appreciated listening to the talks, and the panelists as well, the little Q&As, and so I think it’s really informative. So, for me, it was really lovely.
Silvana Rossi was a delegate at TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR London. To attend future TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR events around the world, contact TOPHOTELPROJECTS Head of Global Events & Conferences Kayley van der Velde.
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