This is the classic space where the editor-in-chief opens up to tell his/her readers the reasons why we started the magazine, and why you should go read all the articles in the issue.
It won’t be that kind of piece ― we do something different for our magazine.
First off, I’m 28 years old and I’d get bored reading such a corporate article. Further, no one in this office has the mentality of telling our readers how to think, or what to read ― we like to think you are a little more forward-thinking than that.
I’d rather write a piece where I explain my journey to here, and how, little by little, I entered Velasca’s radar. Keeping on pushing is necessary ― persisting and trying to see the whole picture (Larry David is always in my thoughts).
I’m Matteo Todisco, born in Milan. Between my second and third year of middle school, I decided that I wanted to be an international reporter. You know, the guy paid by journalist offices (back in the day; now it’s too expensive to maintain foreign offices) to travel the world with a microphone in his hands talking about what happened the day before in a minute, maybe two. A job that is actually ‘Better than working’.
Right, if you’re already a bit bored by my cliche dream, I can tell you that I’ve never actually been on TV or have been a reporter of any kind. The story is much more complicated.
As I wasn’t interested in tiring collaborations or internships at magazines, I figured out how to culminate all of my interests into something more substantial. I flew to Australia ― more precisely to Brisbane, the Sunshine State ― for two years journalism school.
This was a very important experience for me where, besides surfing, I got an internship at the Australian national radio. For the very first time, I understood what it meant to give up your whole life for someone else’s hands While working there, I began to get more and more inspired by so-called “lifestyle” stories.
So, I went back to my hometown and tried to get a job. An editorial crisis didn’t help, and the publishing industry was experiencing a situation that was way too complicated. Trapped in this environment, I needed to do something differently.
I founded Pine & Tree, a brand that came out the love for Handmade in Italy and surf culture ― to me, it strongly referenced Australians. I used this job as a playground in order to learn skills like online marketing, PR, photography, and copywriting.
The idea was very simple: to make very tiny wooden boards by hand. The mini-cruiser skateboards were created thanks to a woodworker friend’s knowledge and high-quality materials for interior design. The whole thing worked out and, thanks to this small project, I got to know some international and national journalism offices because they started writing about Pine & Tree.
That year corresponded to Ludovico Bertè’s commission ― Velasca’s art director, as well as my rival basketball player for years ― to film some shorts about Italian craftsmanship. He propositioned me to film the way we make skateboards. The relationship with Velasca began.
The video clip was my main marketing content, and Ludovico started working at Velasca as the very first employee, after the two co-founders. A board is displayed at their first Temporary Shop in via Tortona and at Bottega in Piazza Sempione (both are Milan-based).
Meanwhile, I moved to Berlin to start my career in startup companies ― I found out they were looking for journalists to write content. I stayed one year in Germany, where I worked at two startups. At this point, I began to realise I had strayed from my original goals; I was losing the bigger picture.
I can still vividly remember the day I quit ― it was the first time I had left a job, it was such a weird feeling. I had gotten onto the Kreuzberg underground towards my home (in Mitte) and noticed the new Velasca digital campaign I had worked on via my iPhone. I wrote to Ludovico, telling him I was about to come back to Italy and was looking to work on an exciting project, something that I really believed in. One night, we met up at a carpenter’s shop. He said:
“Don’t look for jobs
because Enrico (Velasca’s co-founder)
needs someone like you.”
From the first chat with Enrico Casati ― one of two Velasca’s co-founders ― I realized that I could write so many lifestyle stories that we brainstormed together. You know, all of these stories about Italianness, Velasca’s values, and behind the scenes had to be told. There was the chance to work on an online magazine (with the possibility to move eventually to paper) and open it to contributor writers.
“It’s been two years since we wanted to found our own magazine, welcome.”
On Monday mornings we meet up for a ‘Creative Coffee’, a weekly meeting where the creative team discusses what is happening in the days ahead, such as the whole Velasca external communication strategy. I had spent months in Germany, where people were talking about “startup culture”, without ever having really experienced it myself. Using buzzwords isn’t enough, you need to work together to create your own startup culture.
And that’s exactly what we’re trying to do here, using the magazine to talk about a Made in Italy for everyone, and be able to tell a compelling story.
Chief Editor at A Million Steps