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.

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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.

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The Campomaggi Camouflage Bag That Struck My Heart, Twice

GALVANI Camo Print Canvas Tote with Distressed Studs

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.

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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!


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…

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9 New Campomaggi Products from The Fall/Winter 2013 Collection

GALVANI Camo Print Canvas Tote with Distressed Studs

The shipment with the new collection arrived on Thursday. By Friday, we had already added 5 new Campomaggi products to our catalog and we added 4 more on Monday (we are so excited!). We are really trying to add them as quickly as we can while we are responding to all the inquiries as fast as we can. To help you  get a preview of the latest Campomaggi bags that we received, Emi and I shot a video showcasing all the new models. It doesn’t go into great details but we know from prior experience that a short video is worth a thousand words.

Click here to view the video. It is less than 3 minutes long.

As usual, Marco Campomaggi, being the Cupid that he is, fired many arrows in all directions and at least one is likely to strike your heart. In my case, the Galvani did it. I never thought I would be so struck by a canvas bag, but this one is really rugged and I like it!

GALVANI Camo Print Canvas Tote with Distressed Studs
GALVANI Camo Print Canvas Tote with Distressed Studs

The GALVANI is part of a an amazing array of new distressed canvas bags that are really attractive. The new distressing adds that je-ne-sais-quoi (I don’t know what) that makes you go: “wow, that’s nice!” If you never considered a canvas bag, now is the time to give them a second look. Actually, not now, when we are done posting them!

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Not Entirely Surprisingly, Payrolls Disappoint

I follow economic indicators like a hawk because they help me forecast inventory. That’s because I have to always figure out demand six to nine months in advance. The unemployment report that comes out on the first Friday of them month is the one indicator that I need to follow even if I ignore everything else. It is simply the most timely indicator of how the economy is doing right now.

For me, it is not an indicator that helps me forecast. It simply helps me figure out if my forecast was correct or it needs readjusting because it tells the story of how the economy did last month.

Payrolls rose by 169,000, less than the 180,000 forecast. But what is most telling, and confirming of my theories, is that July was revised down all the way to 104,000. I attribute this to the Fed’s announcement that they are going to begin tapering and the expectation that they are going to begin the tapering in September by $20 billion.

I think that the Fed is going to look at all the economic data, including the fact that there is another debt-ceiling discussion on the horizon, and realize that the continuing fiscal tightening is making it very hard for the US economy to find its footing. In addition, they are going to realize that their announcement (and before that the rumor of an announcement) has caused enough of a rise in interest rates that the housing recovery is definitely not booming, and that it has caused consumers to rush into purchases of houses and cars at the expense of other categories. As a result, it is hard to think of this recovery as broad and self-sustaining.

I think that tapering should wait until payrolls rise by more than 200,000 on average per month, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Fed decides not to taper or taper by a tiny amount such as $5 billion so I will be watching that announcement very closely. I hope that they realize that tapering and fiscal cliff negotiations might provide a one-two punch to the economy that we are going to have to scale back GDP growth projections that, according to economists, see the second half of 2013 growing at more than 2%.

Having said that, I think that the shock of the announcement is largely absorbed by now. I expect September to be a good month for jobs and I realize that QE cannot go on forever. I just wish that the Fed and our Congress treated the economy more gently and more predictably. In reality, I am more worried about another round of fiscal tightening in October than QE tapering.

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First Time in 10 Years Inter Wins Its First Two Matches of The Season

If you are born in Italy, soccer (calcio) is the sport everyone cares about. Before you can read you can recognize the written name of your favorite team and what turns out to be a lifelong relationship is started. Very few people abandon the team they care about: the majority suffer with it to the end (that is except if you are a Juventus or Milan fan–those fans gets nearly constant gratification).

I picked Inter, I don’t know why as I can’t remember making the choice, and I have suffered through year after year of disappointments with very rare exceptions.

Inter fans

This year is very interesting. Last year we arrived in 9th place: one of our worst performances. Many people blamed the frequent injuries that plagued the entire squad. I think that is an excuse for a team which had lost purpose. But this year we have a coach, Mazzarri, who really seems to have the right touch and two nice victories in our first two matches seem to support that. I write now because next week we host Juventus, the reigning champions, and they like to remind us of their superiority.

It had been ten years since last time we won the first two games of the Campionato. That year we ended the season in 4th place. This year there are many contenders: Juventus, Napoli, and Milan, followed by Fiorentina, Roma, Lazio and Inter. We did not spend a ton of money buying any famous players, but it seems that we covered all positions with respectable players, something that Inter often doesn’t seem to be able to do. Let’s hope that this year it will be interesting. Vinca il migliore! (May the best win) and let’s get a spot among the top three teams, preferrably the top spot.

What do you think? Is a top-three finish in the cards this year?

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Handwriting? Who does that any more?

We live in a technological age where everything is digitized; blogs, e-mails, instant messages, text messages, you get the picture. Because of all the digitized data we send and receive, we no longer have a need to use the old school method of solid pen and paper documentation. It is very telling to even use the term “old school” to describe it. When you think about it, people rarely ever write letters to their family and friends or keep a handwritten diary for their private thoughts. Even filling out a job application now is mostly through the internet. If electricity gets cut off for good without a chance of return, a majority of our recorded historical data would be lost! What will we have to show for all the progress we’ve made in all fields of research then?

As a child, I have always had an affinity towards writing. Whether it be creative, academic or technical, writing is one of my best attributes. I’ve kept everything from handwritten journals and short stories to literary analyses and personal notes/reminders. I used to bring a small notebook on our family road trips to document ideas that I would have for future projects and take note of interesting places I’ve encountered. Going to college has changed everything for me though. I stopped handwriting everything and just used my computer for…well, everything and anything possible. Lecture notes? I have my computer. Need a shopping list? My iPhone can handle that! I kind of feel like ordering take out tonight. I hope they have an online ordering system! We live in dark times, my friends…dark times indeed.

Working at Marcopoloni and being in the “handmade” mentality in general has reintroduced the whole concept of handwriting my thoughts again. What is more personal than writing down your thoughts by hand? How about a letter to that friend you haven’t talked to in years? E-mails are fine and all, but it inevitably is a lot more distant. If you haven’t already seen the journals we have available, you should give them a chance. I use a blue medium Diario on a daily basis to write down notes at our meetings and reminders for little things that I need to do later. I also have a small dark leather Diario in my car to keep general notes on things such as gas mileage and grocery reminders. I took it a step further by personalizing my diary a little bit; I added a ribbon as bookmark so I can easily find where I left off. I am in the last quarter of pages in my blue diary though so I will have to choose a new one soon enough! Maybe I’ll even start keeping a handwritten journal again for my personal thoughts and reflections as well as short stories! I really miss doing all of that on paper.

So, what was the point of all my rambling in this blog post? Well, I simply wanted to point out that even in our day and age, we should remember the importance of pen and paper documentation. Yes, putting a reminder in your phone’s calendar MAY be more convenient but it lacks that personal connection and association. In fact, writing things down will help if you have trouble with your memory. Just my two cents.


Started out as a brighter blue but the leather darkened with constant use. This is what your leather diary will look like in a year!



My personal touch to the Diario.
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There is Leather and Then There is Campomaggi Leather

There is handmade Campomaggi leather and then there is canned-made leather. Can you see the difference?

After 10 years selling leather products and 40 years wearing them I still can’t say that I know everything about leather. But a recent experience reminded me of the material difference between handmade and canned-made leather. What do I mean by handmade and canned-made leather? It’s pretty simple and it is at the core of why we are in business at Marcopoloni. I grew up experiencing what I call “handmade leather” the leather selected by a skilled craftsman who seeks a quality ingredient that will determine the quality of the end product. “Canned-made” leather is a term that we made up to describe the material that is the result of the pursuit of profits. It is the product that doesn’t not want to last, that does not want to reward the owner, that aims to look like high quality so that it can be sold for just a little bit less than the “handmade” leather product and yield excellent profit margins.

There is Leather and Then There is Campomaggi Leather

The bracelet is a CARLINO by Campomaggi. The wrist band is a generic wrist band from super-thin leather stuffed with something to give it thickness (usually paper or a mesh fabric). I could not get a better example of the stark difference between handmade and canned-made, and it was right there on my wrist. The Campomaggi leather is beautiful and getting better with age, the canned-made wrist band is peeling, cracking and ready to look and be something other than leather.

A leather rose bracelet by Gianni is another example of handmade leather.
A leather rose bracelet by Gianni is another example of handmade leather.
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Nuances of the Forlanini

When it comes to Campomaggi crossbody bags, the long straps made for them are, well, extremely long. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the length of the strap makes the bag that much more universal. After all, not everyone is 5’3″ like I am! When I first got my Forlanini (by the way, we finally have this in stock!), I had to punch a few extra holes into the strap just to not have the bag hang below my hips. What can I say, I’m a short person with a short torso, haha. Like on a belt, having the extra holes made the end of the strap longer as well. Although it didn’t get in the way or anything, it was just something I was a tiny bit bothered by. If you are familiar with the Forlanini, there is a side pocket on the left side (if you are looking at the front of the bag), with Campomaggi’s signature fish rivets on it. Even though I use my Forlanini everyday, I never once found a use for that tiny little side pocket! However, I recently discovered that the end of my strap fits RIGHT in that little pocket. It’s almost as if Campomaggi designed the pocket so the strap end will tuck nicely into it. Having that said, I have some photos to show you what I mean.

The strap arrived with only four holes. I punched in six extra just to accommodate my height. Look at how long the strap end is!


The end of the strap tucks right into that little side pocket I never found a use for! Voila! The strap end no longer bothers me.


Handy, isn’t it? I am so glad I finally found a use for that side pocket. I’m sure it has other uses such as temporarily storing your train or bus pass but this is how I’m using the pocket! Anyway, this was just something useful I found out about the Forlanini and I thought I’d share it with you guys! Especially with all the interest surrounding the Forlanini, this will come in handy for everyone else who is around my height! If I find any other nuances of this bag, I won’t hesitate to share it with everyone. Keep an eye out for more posts!

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