It’s evident that Munper will survive the economic crisis. The Mallorcan leather goods factory has been in existence for 34 years and its economic base is sufficiently deep-seated to overcome two or three poor years of trade.
”We are not concerned and we know that our slogan ‘High quality at a reasonable price’ means we’ll inevitably stay successful,” executive director and company founder Antonio Muntaner firmly remarks.
The warm-hearted native founder has a good sense of reality. In 34 years of business activity he experienced many ups and downs in the market. As a self-made man, who was not born to rich parents (“My only wealth was a magnificent childhood”), he knows that success is based on huge effort. Antonio went to study tourism and didn´t expect to be in the leather business. At the beginning, leather was not a passion but part of a promising business concept offered to him at the right time. Now it is an essential part of his life.
His recipe for success is a mixture of experience, reliability, service and well-placed advertising: “We never depended on the tourist buses organized by tour operators, but we do have the contacts to bring groups of interesting clients to our shop. Russians, especially, have been big spenders recently.” Many eastern European women like to treat themselves to sexy leather clothes.
Munper – the name is a compilation of the two founders´surnames Muntaner and Pericas – is one of the last original Mallorcan companies which produce high quality clothes with local dressmakers on the island. Other famous home-based brands sell their products here, but manufacture in the Far East. Muntaner: “We also experienced production abroad in India, but abandoned the practice.”
Muntaner knows that shifting fabrication to low-wage countries can be very beneficial: “One worker from India gives you double the output for one dollar a day, compared to a European worker who costs 60 euros a day.” However, for him the ‘made in Mallorca’ label is the main selling point, along with customization. Muntaner: “On request, we tailor-make individual leather trousers and jackets to the customer’s specifications.” Extra pockets, services like shortening or tightening are carried out in the twinkling of an eye. The ready-made clothes are even delivered to the customer´s hotel room. For approximately 300 euros (trousers) and 500 euros (jacket) you can have the garments of your choice within three days. Specialized staff produces button fittings, quiltings and fasteners on top-of-the-range sewing machines.
Known as the heart of Mallorca, Inca is not only a residential city, but also offers Mallorca’s best leather goods and a very special weekly market. […] Inca
Global sales and spending power slump even affect a long-established company. Munper´s financial condition is still healthy, but the golden times are over for now. The in-house production of textiles has been reduced and staff cuts were necessary in this area. The current CEO assures that “our own leather fabrication will be maintained”. Muntaner´s son Jaime (33) and his daughter Maria Magdalena (28) are prospective successors to the Munper throne. As long as Antonio and his wife Montserrat steer the ship, some 14,000 Munper garments a year will continue to leave the sewing room in Inca.
In boom times 45,000 garments were produced every year. Actress and ex-Miss Spain Norma Duval posed in the 1980s for Munper leather in magazines like Elle and Cosmopolitan. The company flourished, exporting garments to Japan, the USA, France, Germany, and Great Britain. Muntaner, now 58 years old, travelled the world, doing business in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Hamburg, and London.
In 1991 he launched the factory retail outlet, with important price reductions for clients. At the same time, he edited a luxury green-covered presentation book, recounting the company’s history. It´s published in English, Spanish and Japanese. Muntaner: “It was amazing, being able to export garments to Japan during the boom. The Balearic government always helps with international trade.”
Help is necessary for producers based on an island. Currently, the worldwide recession has reduced our exports. But this can change quickly.” Nowadays, only fashion boutiques in Spain are supplied, but Munper still has an international presence at fashion shows such as Pitti Uomo (Florence), Mifur (Milan), Spain Fashion Fair (Tokyo), CPM (Moskow) and CPD (Düsseldorf).
On difficulties the company proves solidity and tenacity. Munper always overcame one unavoidable business obstacle: Selling the “wrong clothes” on a Mediterranean island. People sunbathing at Es Trenc beach don´t need a chic fox fur coat – which Munper sometimes produces for rich Russian ladies. Muntaner: “It is difficult for us to gain native customers, because we operate in a bikini zone.” Thus local sales depend on the peak season. Foreigners are the defined target group.
A fine leather aroma drifts through the 1,100 square metre shopping area, built around a unique wellness tower with a spiral staircase, fish pond and ivy. Materials found here are mainly nubuck – lamb leather – but also skins from goat, rabbit and cow are made into jackets, scarves, skirts and coats. Over 500 home-made Munper designs are available. The sleeves of the nubuck women´s leather jackets, for example, are soft like velvet. There’s not one article made of synthetic leather on display in the multi-brand store. Apart from the Munper current collection, customers can find Italian and Spanish shoes – for example brands like Bay, Lotusse, Callaghan, handbags and smart wallets from the Argentinian cult brand La Martina.
The leather for the Munper garments – whether it comes from sheep, cow or rabbit – is bought at tanneries in Valencia and Barcelona, sometimes in Africa or Italy. The materials mainly derive from Spanish, but not explicitly Mallorcan, animals. “We do use some skins from the Mallorcan goat,” Muntaner reveals. Of course, there are people – some of whom can be considered fanatical – who believe that animals should not be slaughtered purely to provide the raw material for garments.
To those, Antonio Muntaner defends his factory and shop. “We only use furs and skins of animals slaughtered for meat consumption. Our leather is a by-product in the end,” the smart Mallorcan businessman replies with a smile.
Monday to Friday, 9.30 a.m. – 7.30 p.m.
Saturdays: 9.30 a.m. – 2 p.m.