Roma Looks Unstoppable

Roma won its sixth game in a row and is definitely claiming the right to be considered the favorite for the championship. Napoli and Juventus also won, while Inter, Fiorentina, and Lazio tied. Milan finally won. While Roma and Napoli won convincingly (Roma beat Bologna 5-0 and Napoli won at Genoa 2-0), Juventus won a derby against Torino 1-0 thanks to an offsides goal that should have been taken back. That’s two more points gifted by the referees to Juventus, and the total stands at 4 so far this season. I almost wonder if Moggi is roaming the referee dressing rooms again.

Inter tied but played a pretty good game. It scored first and was caught by a shot that was deflected. Though it was unlucky, it feels that a championship candidate would have brought home the full three points.

Roma has won all six matches, including a difficult one against Lazio. Its next match is at S. Siro against Inter. Some say that this is going to be the first real test for Roma. I disagree. Napoli is the only test for Roma, and maybe Juventus if it starts to live up to its potential. Inter, realistically, will only hope not to get crushed and hope in a tie. If Inter surprises and demonstrates to be a top-three contender, then this is going to be a very interesting championship. Otherwise, my prediction is for Roma to win the scudetto, followed by Napoli and Juventus. Inter will be a fairly distant fourth with Fiorentina, Lazio, and Milan at its side.

Sailing Into Fiscal Headwinds

In my last post, I said that the Fed made the right decision because the economy has been weak this quarter and it is going to face some fiscal headwinds. By fiscal headwinds I was really envisioning the debilitating debate in Washington over the debt ceiling. I should have been more specific and called it theatrical headwinds. Although it is easy to think that the government shut-down will be averted or at least short-lived, the specter of a threat of government default pushed to the very last minute is all too real. The other thing that worries me is that this discussion could lead to the third round of fiscal tightening in the span of less than a year. I don’t care how well people think the economy is doing: if you keep on throwing water on the fire it will begin to extinguish.

So, if rising interest rates are damping the housing recovery and uncertainty is sapping consumer confidence (at a five month low) is there any reason for optimism? Is the better growth for the second half of the year that economist have been forecasting going to materialize? The answer is yes and no. I think that there is a signal that is pointing to a pickup, eventually, in employment: the drop in jobless claims that has been remarkable during the last month. Eventually this might lead to significant employment growth (at least 300,000 jobs added per month), but I am afraid that continuous fiscal tightening will prevent this from happening.

Economists are predicting 180,000 jobs added in September. I am willing to hope for 200,000 based on the Bernanke delay, the positive jobless claims, and the fact that a shutdown and a default have not yet materialized. If they are avoided, then we can start thinking about a real recovery taking hold.

Campomaggi Writes About Artisanship

This month I selected the word “artisanship” as our Facebook short address because everything related to Marcopoloni was already taken. Artisanship is one of those words, such as artisanal, that must be so uncommon in the English language that the spell-checker underlines them. For years this led me to believe that the words did not exist in English until this month just a little bit of research on dictionary.com proved that the words do exist in English too.

If artisanship is the translation of artigianato, on Monday Campomaggi used a word in his e-mail that, although it makes sense, I had never seen used before: artigianalita`. Artigianalita` is a word that embodies the quality of being artisanal. I suppose that translates into artisanalness, but that, unfortunately, broke my spell checker. “I love imperfection as a witness to a unique product, made with care and precision, and never like another.

Campomaggi writes about artigianalita`

Campomaggi writes about artigianalita` or artisanalness as a witness to a unique product like no other.

When I was talking to Marco he said that our mission focusing on artisanship is very close to his values. He goes on to write: “artisanal objects exhude the effort and care necessary to accomplish each individual item created. As a result, the item acquires the charm of uniqueness.” This is exactly what we get when we buy Campomaggi bags and this is exactly what we are seeking. To us, Campomaggi is not a brand to sell. It is a cause to embrace, because we want to bring you the charm of uniqueness.

Inter Flexes Its Muscles

Inter played on Thursday against Fiorentina this week, a day after the rest of the league. It went into the match knowing that Roma is the team to beat (they are 5-0 now, their best start ever), Napoli amazingly tied at home against Sassuolo (maybe we knocked some pride into them last week) and missed a golden opportunity to stay at the top of the table, Juventus was losing against Chievo and then, oops, the refs denied Chievo a goal that was valid and Juventus won 2-1 (old habits never die, do they?), Milan scored two goals in the last few minutes to tie Bologna 3-3. Lazio and Udinese won.

So what did all this mean? It meant that going into the game a victory was mandatory to stay close to the top of the table, and the same meant for the opponent. In the second half Inter went down on a penalty. The reaction was convincing. In a matter of less than half an hour Inter scored two goals and defended the victory. This show of character is very unusual for the team I am used to experience and supports the view that a top five finish is in the cards. The team looks better than last year, when it also started strong but finished ninth.

So… What’s up with Roma? At the beginning of the season I did not consider them as a Scudetto contender at all. Now look at them. Maybe Totti should go to Brazil this summer.

Marcopoloni Turn 10-Years-Old! Thank You

According to Daniele (me), Marcopoloni turns 10 on October 6, 2013. Emi is not so sure about that date. What I remember is having a particularly bad Monday at work and coming home determined to move forward with the Marcopoloni project. I distinctly remember the date, but memory often fails me.

Whatever the date, we started without any products, suppliers, or customers. We started from absolutely nothing with just the goal to bring our clientele-to-be closer to outstanding artisans: artisans that we knew existed in our home countries (Italy and Japan) but were yet to get to know or contact.

We took the plunge, we explored, and we found some artisans who took the time to talk to us. We tried what we liked and offered those products on our web site. Some products really found favor with our clientele, which is what enabled us to continue to explore, for 10 years.

The first product we added to our catalog was the Heart Leather Key Chain. It was also the first item we sold.

The first product we added to our catalog was the Heart Leather Key Chain. It was also the first item we sold.

We are extremely grateful that you enabled us to keep on doing what we love. As a way to celebrate the success and to say THANK YOU VERY MUCH we have decided to offer discounts and promotions that are truly hard for me, the CFO, to accept. We are offering a deep discount on our BEST selling products of all time and we are giving away in simple contests almost $700 worth of merchandise. In addition, all orders over $50 will receive a Marcopoloni reusable shopping tote, as we hope to help you eliminate the need for single use plastic bags.

The celebration will continue all month long. As the month progresses the discounted items will become more popular and the value of the prizes will increase. Fittingly, we are expecting a baby boy towards the end of the month so we kept in mind our joy when picking our promotional items: we truly hope to bring a little happiness in your world too.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Going forward we hope that you will continue to support us and we know that our success will depend on how well we listen to you. We are trying to make it easier and easier to contact us. Please let us know how we can better serve you.

Cheers!

It Is A Different Inter This Year

This Sunday Inter played away against Sassuolo, a newly promoted team from Serie B which has only played three matches in Serie A and lost all three. In normal circumstances Inter would have presented Sassuolo with its first points thanks to concentration lapses that seem to be ingrained in the franchise I love.

That didn’t happen today. It seems that Mazzarri was able to wipe those lapses off. What we have as a result is a team that is focused and void of the many superstars that spoiled team chemistry in the past. That’s how the 7-0 victory came to be.

The two teams that impressed this week are the two teams that were already at the top: Napoli and Roma beat AC Milan and Lazio, two championship contenders, and remained at the top of the table. Juventus and Fiorentina also won so the situation at the top of the table is completely unchanged. But something has changed: Roma and Napoli, who seemed to be accidental group leaders last week, proved that they are top contenders to be reckoned with.

As an Inter fan I have to be pleased. I can get used to Inter showing some strength. We are in the top five and have only allowed one goal. I have said that arriving in third place would be a huge success, but, realistically, the expectation should be for fourth or fifth place as the competition this year is really fierce. But we do have an advantage: we are not fighting for any European cups so we should be more rested and less stricken by injuries than our competitors. Who knows, perhaps we will get lucky or we could aim for a Coppa Italia win–the trophy that no one cares about.

Fed Tapering Will Have to Wait

The Fed has spoken, there will be no tapering for the time being as “the tightening of financial conditions observed in recent months, if sustained, could slow the pace of improvement.”

In other words, the economy is nowhere near growing on its own at a sustainable pace. That is the sad truth but gives me some relief: at least it wasn’t just my analysis to conclude that. The coming debt-ceiling discussion (the third in twelve months) is enough of a head-wind for the economy that I think that the Fed will be very careful before actually beginning the tapering process.

As a small business owner I say thank you to Mr. Bernanke for being very careful and I resolve to improve our business by listening to our customers better than ever.

Inter Survives the Juventus Test

This year Inter and Juventus played the derby d’Italia unusually early. Both teams arrived having won their first two matches in convincing fashion. During the summer, Juventus, already the strongest team in Italy, acquired Tevez and generally seemed to get even stronger and ready to make a run for the Champions League. Inter, on the other hand, made a few minor acquisitions and seemed to be waiting for its injured players to come back. Inter is not playing in any European competitions this year as it arrived in 9th place last year.

Given the context, and the fact that a strong Juventus has a knack for winning at San Siro, Inter fans were probably worried about the chances of a disappointing defeat. At least I was. But the match ended in a 1-1 tie in which Inter scored first and Juventus tied within two minutes during the second half. Inter showed that it is capable of rising to the challenge, but it couldn’t go past that and dominate a strong opponent while playing at home. If Inter doesn’t lose its focus like it usually does, it can reach one of the top three spots this year (the third spot is the one I have in mind).

In the meantime, Roma and Napoli had a strong start this year by winning their first three games. They are sitting at the top of the table with nine points. Napoli is definitely a championship candidate that is poised to do really well: they look unbeatable. Fiorentina, like Inter and Juventus, is in third place with seven points and will give everyone a run for their money. Lazio with six and Milan with four got a slower start. Milan has a strong squad that doesn’t seem to get it together and their acquisition of Kaka was soured by an injury in his first game that will keep him on the sidelines for more than a month.

I think that this is going to be a very interesting campionato to watch. I enjoy that there are no big expectations for Inter: I am almost guaranteed not to be too disappointed this year.

The Campomaggi Camouflage Bag That Struck My Heart, Twice

When the new Campomaggi bags finally arrive, some of them always impress me, but I usually have a good idea of which bags are going to do that. This time there was a little unexpected surprise.

GALVANI Camo Print Canvas Tote with Distressed Studs

GALVANI Camo Print Canvas Tote with Distressed Studs

The GALVANI. I made the mistake to try it on and to put my laptop in it. The laptop fits perfectly and the bag blends in with my clothes but subtly stands out in a beautiful way.

AAAGH! Someone just phoned to buy the last one!

I was starting to think that this bag was it. Four months of searching could finally be over. The reason why I did not secure it for myself in time is that I had assumed that after a few days I would stop liking it and that I would regret my choice. Grrrr…

Well, let’s hope that the blue one that is coming in the next shipment is even cooler. I did this before when I passed on the perfect SANTARELLI almost four years ago. I don’t think that I learn lessons very well.

Campomaggi’s Newest Creations

Since we received the new Campomaggi Fall/Winter 2013 collection last week, we have been franctically doing quality control, taking photos and adding new products up on the website! It has been very busy here at Marcopoloni, but it is worth getting all the products up for the wonderful customers we interact with. In this collection, we’ve received several new styles. After personally handling and QC’ing the new collection, the two new features that I’ve found to be the most striking are the studded turn-lock closure and the distressed canvas bags.

What’s so special about the turn-lock closure? In the past, customers have mentioned that certain closures weren’t as secure as they would have liked. I do believe the turn-lock closure may be the solution! The studded turn-lock closure features a patch of studs surrounding the turn-lock mechanism. In a way, the patch of studs act as added security in that it really clamps the bag’s flap down when the turn-lock is engaged. When you try to pull up the flap while it’s locked, it simply won’t budge! Compared to other turn locks on some older bags such as the Caboto, there is a lot more “heft” and definitely more surface area to keep the flap closed with this new studded turn-lock. Not to mention the studs do add a fair amount of flashiness to the overall bag, if you’d rather be a little more subtle. Also, you can have a bag with studs on it but not so many that it adds a significant amount of weight. You get a classic distressed leather bag with the addition of a brilliant new studded turn-lock closure!

Onesti-Lock

The distressed canvas bags that came in are definitely different from the stonewashed canvas bags that we’ve been keeping in stock. Maybe it’s just me, but the fact that the canvas bags are now distressed the same way as the leather bags adds a whole new dimension to every aspect of canvas. For one, it feels a bit more “broken in” from the start but not necessarily softer. I think it will take years and years of using the canvas bags to get them to be really soft. They are made of really heavy duty canvas after all! The dye on the canvas also looks more dynamic compared to the stonewashed canvas bags, almost as if there is a certain liveliness that was added in the distressing process. I’m unsure at this point, but the Campani Bis looks very tempting…