The New DAVIDE Studded Leather Belt by Campomaggi

When I saw Alessandro wear the DAVIDE Studded Leather Belt by Campomaggi I was struck, I have to admit it. Perhaps it was a sign that Marco’s creativity had finally won. To be more precise: I was already won over by the appeal of Campomaggi bags and accessories, but I never in my life said: “I have to get that” when I saw someone else wear something.

I have been saying how I had lost my sense of style when I left Italy more than 20 years ago and I recently started lamenting how it would be nice to get it back. Unfortunately, thanks to Facebook, a few photos surfaced that hint that I might never have had a sense of style. I’m just going to blame those photos on the Eighties and continue my quest to get my groove back–fully pretending that I once had it.

Here is a video of me, five months after having seen the belt, finally opening it up to see it. I will report how I like using it in my next post.

If you can’t view the video above you can see it on YouTube.

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The Revolution Begins! (with our Zavatti backpacks)

Daniele and Anita posing with the backpacks for Revolution
Daniele and Anita pose with the actual backpacks that shipped to the set of the new NBC TV series, “Revolution”

Very recently, we received an order for two ZAVATTI leather backpacks from a brand new TV series, Revolution, written by Eric Kripke. For those of you who follow TV shows often, you might have seen his name written all over the credits of the extremely popular TV series Supernatural and the Boogeyman movies! Not only does Revolution have an amazing writer, Giancarlo Esposito is starring in it! Sounds familiar? Well, he plays a crucial role in the TV series, Breaking Bad (it’s such an awesome show if you haven’t seen it)!

We are all absolutely thrilled about this opportunity because this has the potential to give our name a big boost! Here at Marcopoloni, we strive to support the artisans who make all their products by hand. There is no machinery involved; Just humans utilizing their creative skills and talents! Revolution is a TV series about life after electricity no longer exists. Everyone is forced to live as they did before the industrial revolution. This means genuine handmade products (weapons, clothing, backpacks and bags *nudge nudge*, you name it!) all around and no machinery to mass produce anything ever again.

Marcopoloni is definitely the right place to look for a pre-industrial era themed backpack to use in the show. As you all know, Campomaggi’s rugged-chic distressed leather products emanates all that comes with age; Character, memories, and most importantly, the essence of the owner. The backpacks will look amazing when paired with the characters because they have such a rugged, “survivalist” image. However, the Revolution set put in the order for the ZAVATTIs when they have already filmed the trailers, previews and the initial few episodes. Hopefully we’ll get some exposure later on in the season, but who knows! Until we find out for sure, we’ll be kept in suspense about the ZAVATTI’s TV debut.

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Welcome, Anita!

I am proud to announce that Anita Ly has decided to join our team to help with order fulfillment, customer service… and to wear every hat imaginable.

Anita is such a fast learner and fast typist (she holds the company record in both categories) that she is probably still unaware that we are going to just let her do everything around here. I really look forward to a long vacation.

If you e-mail us or call us, you will likely get an answer from Anita. She is doing a great job already so please give her a really hard time because so far all requests have been handled without a glitch and I am starting to look really bad in comparison. I should not be too surprised, in case I do take that vacation, if when I come back I’m asked to enjoy an early retirement.

Anita is also a great fit for our company: she understands our mission and is behind it 100%. What’s even more important is that she’s also a chef and I got a taste of it. If she keeps that up she will find all sorts of encouragement at Marcopoloni and will have a long and successful career here.

I almost forgot to mention that Anita is fluent in Cantonese. That means that, if you are feeling the urge to console her for having a coworker who writes such a silly blog post, you can do so in Cantonese and I will not have a clue as to what just happened.

Finally Anita is an excellent writer, which means that I might lose my readers to her. We’ll see how it plays out. In the meantime, please join me in welcoming Anita with a thunderous round of applause and a cup of Cappuccino. Read Anita’s profile here.

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Preserving the Way of the Artisan

I listened to this segment on Marketplace and was rather surprised. I did not know that I could be so ignorant about the issue that has inspired my business: preserving the way of the artisan.

Jeff Tyler finds out how even artisans from Zambia suffer from the competition of cheaper products coming out of China and Vietnam. The story is surprising to me because I thought that wages in Zambia were very low, and to think that one can make a basket and ship it to Zambia for less than the local artisan seems hard to believe.

Do China and Vietnam have robotic plants making baskets? As far as I know their factories are very labor intensive. So exactly how much, or how little, do they pay their workers? Is it possible that workers in the world’s second economy earn less than the workers in Zambia?

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The New Campomaggi iPhone Case Visits the Apple Campus

When our friend Alex invited us to have lunch on the Apple campus, I immediately recognized that this was a perfect opportunity to introduce two great brands to each other. So I packed my FRECCIA iPad bag with the new VALENTINO iPad Case and the new iPhone Case, both by Campomaggi.

After we got our badges and walked into the main hall I was surprised that we didn’t run into any iPhones and iPads running around. Instead we got to admire multiple Grammys and an Oscar.

When we got to the cafeteria we (cases included) got very excited to find many other authentic Italian expatriates proudly displayed. So we ordered a pizza with mozzarella di bufala and loved it.

Before we left we saw the Apple store and decided to go take a look. Wow! iPhones and iPads! We finally got to make an introduction and made sure to stay clear of the isle where all the cases were on display.

As we were driving back to the office everyone was happy, including me, despite the fact that I was not able to get a statement from Tim Cook saying that the new Campomaggi cases are the only cases worthy of the coolness of Apple products. It was enough to know that that was exactly what he would have said.

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My ALDO Leather Belt After Two Years

When I decided to import the ALDO Italian leather belt by Vincenzo I was very excited because I had found a design that was very sharp and professional while stylish and somewhat unique. I really like how the two stitched lines make it a little more casual than your regular leather belt.

When the belt arrived I proudly named it after my grandfather and bought one in espresso. Espresso turned out to be a color that I can wear both with jeans and with khakis. The problem was that when I wore black shoes I had to resort to using my old black belt, which must have been a cheap one as it was peeling and coloring my pants. The solution was to get a black version of the ALDO. I love that belt too, although when I wear jeans with black shoes I now wish I also had a more casual, perhaps more rugged-looking black belt. Despite this the black ALDO does a great job with jeans too.

Overall I probably own about 10 belts. Out of my older belts, I only still wear one because it is very casual, it is a lighter brown color than my ALDO in espresso, and better matches my more summery shoes. The rest should just get tossed because they are sitting there in the closet without ever getting used: they simply don’t compare. I wish I could only own belts as nice as the ALDO: some day I will get there.

Today I decided it was time to apply some lotion. With this particular type of leather, Antonio Dionigi recommended using a mild hand lotion or a milk-based detergent of the kind used to remove makeup. We got some Nivea creme for that purpose and it seems to work just fine. As I applied it the belt absorbed quickly and I had to be careful not to apply too much. After the lotion on the belt dried, the belt might not have looked new but it looked better and those few scratches that were noticeable are now gone. The inside of the belt remarkably looks like new and I am particularly happy about that because of my bad experience with cheaper belts described above.

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Taking the Campani Campomaggi Logo Tote Bag for a Test Drive: the Beginning

While I was test driving the DANIELE distressed leather belt pouch by Campomaggi, we began to also test drive another bag: the CAMPANI Campomaggi Logo Canvas Tote. Unlike the DANIELE, which I wore on a daily basis, the CAMPANI is going to be used on week-ends and evenings because during the week I have my COLOMBO vertical messenger bag which is a better fit for transporting my tablet, my journal, and those few other things that I need to bring back and forth between home and the office.

Before we started the test drive we had to actually choose which color CAMPANI to buy. As you can see at the end of the video that documents the decision, this is our bag, not a bag that we are just test driving to let you know what we think of it and then sell it at a discounted/used price. The idea of selling “test-driven” bags is one of many ideas that cross my mind, yet have no support inside the executive management circle, nor within the technical capabilities of our web site.

I hope you enjoy this video and that it will help you choose your color. Of course it would have helped if we hadn’t already narrowed down the field from 5 to 3 colors. So if you need more information about the other colors, please do not hesitate to contact me!

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My Belt-loop Leather Pouch: After Three Weeks

After three weeks of daily use, I feel as if the final verdict on the DANIELE leather belt loop pouch by Campomaggi can be reached. But before I get to that, let me share my latest impressions.

The belt loop is assuming the shape of my waist: perhaps it wants to convince me to keep it because it is a good fit, which it is. Another thing that I have come to realize is that letting the pouch hang below the waist means that the pouch can rest at whatever angle it needs to rest. For example, when you are sitting down the pouch can rest on your leg at a 90-degree angle if that’s what it needs to do. If it was positioned right on the belt I think that it would struggle to find a resting position.

Once you wear the pouch you quickly forget about it and using it becomes second nature. Opening and closing the closure is fun for me as I find myself unnecessarily playing with it. The beauty of this product is that you are almost guaranteed not to leave it, and its contents, behind. As I say this, I have to admit that one day I left home without the phone in the pouch and I had to go back and get it. So the DANIELE is not the end-all solution to an absented minded person’s woes.

I realize that I haven’t covered wearing the pouch cross-body very much. Perhaps there is a loyal customer out there who would like to test-drive the pouch with that purpose in mind. If so, please make sure to ask.

And now my verdict: get the distressed leather belt-loop pouch for yourself, not as a gift, as wearing a belt pouch requires fulfilling a specific need. I really love the convenience and everything that a Campomaggi product embodies: I feel very proud wearing it and love to have to come in frequent contact with it. The ease with which I can access my wallet and phone is great. Finally, I love that it keeps the phone away from my body: perhaps mobile phones don’t harm you when they stay in contact with your body for a prolonged period, but I’d rather be safe.

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Last time I saw Marco I got to spend a lot of time talking about him, his family, and his inspiration. He was happy to let me record an interview with him in which we discussed a new leather type he created for his Fall/Winter collection.

Besides giving a preview of what’s to come and how Mr. Campomaggi got his inspiration for one of his new collections, the interview reveals a lot about the motives behind the Campomaggi brand and the beliefs that shape it.

First, as it states on the tag, Campomaggi believes that time does not take away, but adds to, character. That’s why so many Campomaggi products are designed to look distressed or aged from the onset. And that’s also why the vast majority of Campomaggi bags and accessories use full grain leather, which ages well and lasts longer.

But why is time so important? Because memories and the emotion of time passing by is something that Campomaggi is trying to capture. I think that if a bag is able to remind you of your childhood, for example, then the bag’s highest ambition has been accomplished.

There were two moments in the interview that are particularly dear to me because they show why Campomaggi embodies so well the role of the ideal Marcopoloni artisan. First, he says that he is trying “to instill a soul inside a material.” This is something that we feel and that our customers frequently report back to us. Second, he thanks his customer for the feedback which is what keeps him going. That was a rare moment in which I got to experience customers and artisans closer together–something that is part of our mission at Marcopoloni.

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