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Meet Tommaso Labarile of Mosaico Signs

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tommaso Labarile.

Hi Tommaso, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Hello, I’m Tommaso. I was born in Zürich, Switzerland, where my parents lived temporarily after emigrating from Italy in the late ’50s. I’m excited to start this new business and a new life chapter in the beautiful state of Arizona; I’ve visited a few times this gorgeous state and naturally fell in love with this vibrant and energic environment, culture, and way of life. Is it very different from the country, Italy, where I lived most of my life? Yes, sure, I love every chance to enrich my culture and nurture my knowledge. One of my goals, towards which all my efforts are focused, is to become an active part of the community in the Greater Phoenix, thrive, and help other businesses and people thrive.

I’ve been a mechanical designer and consultant working for many years in the industrial and civil engineering field, initially as an employee and then as an entrepreneur. In the past years, in my spare time, I enjoyed playing bass guitar with my brother and my friends in our band, coaching, as a volunteer, American football especially youth football, reading books, listening to music, choosing from my records collection.

Thanks to my great professional and relationship experience, I had the opportunity to plan this new life project and embark on this inspirational challenge that represents, in my opinion, a natural progression within my life and career; to expand the range of my business activities from those strictly related to technical design graphics, especially industrial ones, implementing visual communication graphics for marketing and commercial branding. “If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.” (T. Jefferson). I chose the name “Mosaico” as a sincere sign of recognition for the city that has given me so much in all these years, a city which, with good reason, is considered the capital of the mosaic. Ravenna (the city I come from) is known as the city of mosaics because of the stunning 5th- and 6th-century (Byzantine) mosaics that decorate the walls of its churches and monuments. Eight of Ravenna’s monuments and churches are designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites because of their spectacular early Christian mosaics. Also, a mosaic is a primal holy form of graphic visual communication; mosaic uses a substrate, a surface and colors, and of course, human genius! So after thousands of years, the way to communicate emotions, information, and culture maintains quite the same basics: an idea, materials, colors, and entrepreneurial skills.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been reasonably smooth?
Because of the Covid issue, I had to “wait” for two years, as I created the entity in July 2020 but then the process was delayed. Finally, this February, I could relocate and begin the start-up phase of the business. Like many other entrepreneurs, I had to face some struggles, some very small, some a bit bigger, but that is the price to pay when you first walk a not-trodden path—nothing new, especially for a foreign national. The road is still very long but fascinating simultaneously; it is called a challenge for a reason. There is a lot to learn; many things are simple to plan, and often there is someone to help me, but in other cases, I need to rely on the skills I have, both tangible and intangible.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe you can tell us a bit more about your Business?
At Mosaico Signs, we consult, design, manufacture, and install eye-catching, high-quality, long-lasting indoor & outdoor signs and vehicle wraps. We ensure that each project element is custom-made and specifically curated to fit your business needs, marketing goals, and budget. We also do our best to reduce our environmental impact by utilizing eco-friendly (e.g., Latex Printer) and sustainable materials, practices, and equipment. Client satisfaction is important to us, so we always strive to go beyond what is expected of us. One thing that distinguishes us from others is our tireless desire to grow individually as professionals and together as a company. In custom manufacturing, every sign is a new one. Therefore, being driven by a strong desire to obtain constant professional growth and an increasingly complete technical knowledge base are indispensable requirements to earn the trust of the most precious asset, the client. And for me, being the owner, responsible for the direction and the growth of the company, one of the main goals is to reach the trustworthiness level that my Italian business has achieved over the years, so much so that I no longer speak of clients, but partners if not even friends.

One of the peculiarities of my Italian business, for which my partners use me systematically, is that of being able to develop projects that other competitors cannot complete or are not competitive in terms of costs. This specialization has grown over the years through slight but constant and continuous growth obtained by carrying out projects with a degree of difficulty that creates the separation between competitors and my company.

What changes are you expecting over the next 5-10 years?
In the opinion of many experts, the Sign industry is going “digital”. Industry revenue is expected to increase at an annualized rate of 1.6%. This will be a shift, maybe not big, but growing. Then the Sign industry will be relying on the historical segments that cyclically will change and adapt to the current and future reality; among them, we have outdoor advertising, including digital billboards and other displays, that has sustained strong appeal over the past five years amid an increasingly fragmented media landscape. This trend has boosted the appeal of outdoor advertising when it is becoming more affordable and competitive to digitize outdoor displays. The increasing affordability of LEDs is expected to enable industry operators to price their products more competitively with traditional signage, boosting their appeal to businesses that are already increasingly using digital products for basic signage requirements.

Macroeconomic factors such as business sentiment and access to credit, and consumer spending influence the number of U.S. businesses, which determines the size of the industry’s market. Most brick-and-mortar businesses require signs to some extent, so business formation rates significantly affect industry demand. As a result, the industry is highly cyclical.

Retailers, accommodation, and food services are the largest Billboard and Sign Manufacturing products market. The rise of fast-casual dining has likely driven some expansion in this market. These establishments tend to rely more heavily on signage to convey information to customers than single-location full-service eateries. Like most other physical businesses, retailers and restaurants require general signage to publicize their services to potential customers. In addition, restaurants tend to purchase more signage than businesses in other industries since they often list menu items alongside photographs or additional descriptions. Retailers are also a substantial market for industry services. Retail establishments tend to be close to other businesses in high-traffic areas, so signage can be important in advertising their products and driving potential customers to their stores in a competitive environment. Most retailers require fairly simple, traditional industry products. In addition, the industry manufactures some point-of-purchase displays frequently used by retailers to promote products in-store. Combined, retail and food services are expected to generate 42.2% of industry revenue. The corporate and trade shows segment includes signage related to commercial office buildings and displays and exhibits produced for corporate conferences. This segment moves partly in line with nonresidential construction. The construction of new office space goes hand-in-hand with the demand for signage for that space, which is usually a one-time expense. Corporate conferences are a steadier market, though they are still somewhat cyclical in that they tend to be a discretionary business expense in growth periods. This segment is anticipated to account for 18.5% of industry revenue. And finally, we have Businesses and advertisers, Government and transit agencies, Sports, entertainment, and no-profit venues. As the economy is an everchanging and transforming giant, the Sign industry will follow and support it.

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