One customer at a time

We get most of our orders online, and it is rare that I get to interact directly with a customer. But on Monday morning, while the rush to prepare orders was at its peak, I got to step up and help a customer with an exchange.

What a treat it was for me that he wanted to replace his Motorino with a Lucio. We named the Lucio after my father who, when I was a kid, used to carry a borsello, an executive clutch. I own a Lucio so I know the product inside out and I even had to come up with some of the specifications during the last redesign. I was able to warn the customer that a water bottle would not fit in the Lucio without causing it to bulge a lot. I told him that I carry my wallet, phone, keys, receipts, small diary, and pens and that the Lucio looks great sitting on a desk: it stands on its own..

After the customer got it, he took the time to thank me and tell me how pleased he was with his Lucio. That really made my day because helping people find a handmade product that suits them is what I set out to do.

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Christmas comes often at Marcopoloni

A big fallacy of owning your own small business is that you get to take time off whenever you want. Reality is, even though we COULD, we never actually do. It is the same thing when it comes to buying things from our inventory for personal use: we are surrounded by all of these beautiful products, so you’d think we’d own just about one of everything, right? Not quite.

 Even though we could theoretically buy things out of inventory for our own use at any time, we hardly ever do it. In fact, when we do purchase our own goods, it usually happens only after careful planning to make sure it does not impact our stock level, and often waiting weeks for it to arrive from the artisan. I guess it always comes down to a choice between making money selling that item, or paying  to keep it for myself – and unfortunately, I still haven’t figured out how to make owning a lot of gorgeous handbags pay our bills.

 One of our recent shipments was a special shipment – it contained several leather accessory items that a couple of us had purchased. Opening the cartons was like opening that long-awaited gift on Christmas morning ,or receiving a care package full of goodies at summer camp. We opened carton after carton, checking off the items received, with an occasional “Ooh” and “Aah” as we uncovered the items we had been waiting for. I had a flashback to my grade school years when we’d receive those shipments from Scholastic book club and the teacher would pass out the books and free posters  in a long, drawn-out ceremony.

 My coveted items were a passport cover, a leather belt and a beautiful snake-embossed leather wallet … which I will have to talk about another time. I had to wait 2 months for them, but they were well worth the wait!

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Snaplink Leather Key Chain by Gianni

The Snaplink Leather Key Chain by Gianni is one of the first products ever offered by Marcopoloni so it is probably one of the products I know best. Before I got mine, I was reasonably happy with my key chain but I had a problem: I often lost my keys because they bothered me in my pocket. So, in 2005, I finally decided to try the Snaplink and I have to say that I am really glad that I did.
Snaplink Leather Key Chain comes in multiple=
I have a black one and I like the way it looks. I am debating getting a second one, perhaps a dark leather or an espresso to better match my business clothes, but I don’t really see myself swapping key chains that often. On the other hand, it would be easy to swap key rings as the belt buckle is fully functioning.

After more than five years, the key chain is still as good as new and the leather has become smooth and soft. The clip is very strong but not too strong: I can easily clip the key chain to my belt loop with just one hand.

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The bag dilemma: Which handbag to bring on a trip to Italy?

So we’re getting ready to go to Italy again in a month. The ratio is expected to be about 50/35/15, business/other commitments/pleasure – which would be a vast improvement over last year, which was more like 70/25/5. The big question looming on my mind has not been “will my 2-yr old behave on the 14-hour flight?”, or even “what should we bring for the in-laws?”, but “which handbag should I bring?”

On one hand, I know I am going to need to fit everything but the kitchen sink in my bag – and only because we happen not to be in the market for an Italian kitchen sink at the moment.  With a perennially-hungry toddler and a sometimes forgetful husband in tow, I will need room for lots of snacks, a water bottle, extra diapers and clothing, our passports, my wallet, and my camera, and those are just the basics. I will also need free access to both my hands – one to prevent my toddler’s hands from touching anything and everything (the dirtier the better), and the other to push the stroller which our daughter only want to sit in if it is nowhere in sight. Given these conditions, I am thinking my trusty old backpack, or my roomy Campomaggi shoulder bag that I can wear cross-body style.

On the other hand, we will be attending two trade shows there, one of which is where hundreds of leather  handbag makers from around Italy and beyond will be showcasing their offerings … so I don’t exactly want to be walking around with a nylon backpack. Besides, Italians are so fashion-conscious that I would feel like I was committing some kind of fashion cardinal sin if I were to carry a handbag that did not perfectly compliment my outfit. Hmm … now a sharp charcoal-grey satchel by Giudi is starting to sound better.

So which bag will it be?

I have yet to settle this important debate in my head, but I am leaning towards all three … the backpack, the crossbody bag, AND the grey satchel (which I don’t even own yet!). I am usually a really light packer, but having a kid changed all of that, so I will definitely need the backpack to help me navigate the airport carrying enough snacks to feed an army.  The crossbody will be nice for those  few hours of leisure when we may find ourselves strolling down the streets of some quiet medieval town … still carrying tons of snacks but not wanting to look like a mule. And lastly, I definitely must look presentable perusing the isles at a handbag show. The grey satchel will be a must-have, so I can easily coordinate it with my outfits each of the 8 days we’ll be attending the shows.

OK, so it’s settled. I need to bring all three bags. Oh, and maybe even pick one up while we’re there… after all, my birthday IS coming up in five months!

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The five minute setup of WordPress: vs.


I was told to setup wordpress on and that I would find all the instructions on wordpress. Silly me I went on the instead of the web site. So I am just posting a quick instruction to help the one person who will make the same mistake I made.

To get the software so that you can install it on your website go to, to get your blog started and hosted for free go to


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