Last time I went to Italy to spend some time with my mom she suggested that we do some artisan hunting in our hometown of Milan. I thought that was a great idea because one of the reasons why I devoted my life to promoting the products of highly skilled artisans is that I am always pained when I see an artisan close up shop. In the small street where I grew up there used to be a Bonera outlet where we would buy our leather goods and luggage and I got to know the artisan that worked in the back–until it closed just a few years ago. Bonera is still around, of course, but that little island of authenticity is gone.
Ready to do our part to buck this trend, we made a plan. To come up with a list of places to visit, we made sure to ask all of our friends for suggestions and did ample research. Armed with a beefy enough list of artisans to visit, one early morning we set out on our walking tour of Milan, unsure of what it would yield.
Most places we visited were very interesting, but the right combination of handmade quality, design, prices, and ability to carry out International transactions, quickly made it look like finding someone with whom to do business was going to be a challenge. I was starting to think that finding the right fit would be very hard and that I might not have anything to show for my working marathon. Then, luckily, I came upon Maxima. Once I entered the wholesale outlet, I met Tina who was very nice and showed me all the latest models and described the craftsmanship and inspiration behind their products.
I normally take my time before placing orders and would never buy handbags without my wife’s input. But I really liked what I saw and like the story behind Maxima bags so much that I decided to take a plunge. I bought six handbags, stuffed my suitcase and got on my plane back to San Francisco the next day. We have just finished posting them to our web site and am very curious to hear what you think. Let me know!