An Interview with Antonio Llobera
Mikolaj Pawelczak (Blue Loafers): Antonio, can you tell us a little bit more about your story before
you acquired Yanko?
Antonio Llobera: From when I was very young, during holiday and weekends, I used to go with my father to his belts and handbags factory to spend time with him. From the very begining, I only wanted to be around him and see what he did.. after that, he used to teach me some basic steps in the production line and after many years I started to understand all the manufacturing processes and be able to make all the steps myself too. When I was 23 years old and after finishing the University course, I started to work with him on a daily basis.
After having worked for him for two years, I decided to start my own business and I opened a new company. My job was to manage and keep control of different stages of production for different brands in different countries.
MP: I am also very interested in the history of Yanko starting from the 60’s, when it was founded by Juan Albadalejo Pujadas, until now. Can you tell us a little bit about it?
Antonio Llobera: In 1961, Jose Albaladejo Pujadas started the YANKO business. It was one of the biggest footwear companies in Europe during the 80’s but unfortunately due to the bad management of production and terrible management of the company, in the 90,s company started a long bankruptcy.
MP: What is the root of the name Yanko, what does it mean and is there any story behind naming the firm this way?
MP: What is it currently that you do in the firm? How do your daily tasks look like?
Antonio Llobera: When I am in Mallorca, first thing I do everyday is to turn on the electricity 45 minutes before the factory opening time, in this way when workers arrive in factory, all machines are hot enough and workers can start the work easily. After that, it depends on the work we currently do. If factory is in a very busy time or in the samples time, I am very close to the production line all day. Only when the work in the factory is finished and all staff go home, I start my office tasks and answer any urgent e-mails or other office work that there is for me to do. So i.e. if during the week, I was busy in the factory, during weekend I am going to do my office work. In case when factory work is stable and operating normally, I work with banks, suppliers, new materials, preparing some business trips and different meetings etc…
MP: Where Yanko shoes are currently being made? Is there any relation to
the previous Yanko brand in terms of construction and quality from the
90’s? Is it different now?
Antonio Llobera: All YANKO shoes are made in Mallorca, Spain. Previous YANKO brand used to make lot of shoes in cemented and blake construction and only very few % in goodyear welted. Being perfectly honest, today the quality is much better than before. We only use best materials, have developed better processes, we control the production more efficiently and the shoes will last you more than before.