Her fragile and tiny figure makes you want to cuddle and protect her. Annick Mollard is discreet, and her sweet eyes convey an aura of femininity.

The good old saying ‘never judge a book by its cover’ could not be more appropriate here, because this is a fearless, bold woman. Let’s get to know her better. She is an exception in the big Meglio Mantova family, where skills are transmitted from father to son. Annick can be proud of her uniqueness.  She was born in Paris, fourth sibling in a family of seven (of which five were boys!). Her father was an army commander and taught her discipline and a quintessentially French pride.

She arrived in Mantua in her early twenties as a young bride and mum. Her life was hard from the very beginning, when she had to experience a very painful separation. But she got through it and, despite never forgetting her roots, she stayed in Mantua, a city which gave her more than it took away from her.

Through a twist of fate she met the man of her life, and formed a new family with him, had her second daughter and gradually built her business. Mario worked in the leather business and prompted her to open her first shop, in 1982, in via Verdi 35. Soon her femininity and pragmatism led her to specialise in the field of accessories, and particularly shoes. Very soon, this young lady realised that her taste was met more by niche international brands than by the popular Italian products: she opted for high quality and exclusive products which made her shops unique. She developed a network of trusted customers and always followed her instinct in making the right choices for them. Always paying attention to prices, to be able to serve a wider range of clients.

This how Annick set up her business, which she would pursue for a long time thanks to Mario’s support. A sad destiny awaited her, when Mario sadly passed away. But she had the genes of Filiberto Mollard, the Maréchal de France, a general who led the French army in the Solferino victory of 1856, and this must not be forgotten. She was able to overcome the pain and carry on, for the sake of her two young children and her clients, who relied on her. Annick picked herself up despite having no family around to help her and fought for the women-led businesses of Mantua, deciding to represent them and advocate their rights. In 1990, she joined the Confcommercio board; in 2008 she became a councillor in the Chamber of Commerce and in 2009 she became president of the Women Entrepreneurial Committee of the Chamber of Commerce. She worked on important projects dealing with credit, life-work balance, the role of women in institutions, the revamp of the old town centre, smart working. She always fought and always won. And she did it in her style, with sweetness and yet determination and professionalism, and maybe with a little bit of rebellion that characterises a real woman warrior!

by Mara Pasetti


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