Product Reviews

Break Out of The Mold with This Stylish Leather Suitcase

PARETO Rugged Leather Suitcase
PARETO Rugged Leather Suitcase

Travel. Close your eyes and think of a destination. If you have a Pinterest account your mind is probably full of exotic destinations you would like to explore, some day, maybe soon. Maybe one of those amazing spots is within driving distance and you picture yourself getting ready to get in the car or SUV with your dear ones.

As I write this I am starting to imagine taking a short vacation to Lake Tahoe (about a four-hour drive from Silicon Valley, double that with traffic but I am not allowed to think about that right now) with my family. We are going to meet our friends who also have kids the same age as ours and we are going to have a great time.

I picture myself offloading the bags from the trunk in the chilly air and I see the wheeled, hard shell suitcase that works so well in airports… not so well in the snow. Plus… It’s not my style. Rewind.

Now I see myself reaching for the PARETO, who packed this thing? I have to finally use those muscles, luckily I also have a full GIRAMONDO to balance me out. It’s snowing, but I waterproofed both bags using the best leather cream in the world. I greet my friends, they notice my bags. I refuse their offers to help: maybe they can get some of the small stuff.

PARETO Rugged Leather Suitcase
PARETO Rugged Leather Suitcase

I get to our room, begin unpacking, “these bags are great” I think to myself. “Who’s hungry for dinner?” I proclaim as I take out a bottle of my favorite wine and bring it to the kitchen. I have something memorable in mind for dinner, it’s getting dark, the fireplace is crackling, the kids are playing, laughter erupts. I start cooking with my friends and think: “it’s going to be a good night.”

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Authenticity Marcopoloni, the Tiny Business True Artisanship

A Jeweler’s Search For The Perfect Jewelry Box

Jewelry Box
Peroni “Luigi” Jewelry Box

You might know Baha. Baha is a jeweler in New York whose artisanship is amazing.

When it comes to delivering his more expensive masterpieces Baha needed something that even he couldn’t create. An outstanding jewelry box worthy of the treasure it holds.

When he came to me for help, I immediately thought of Peroni, who, among many other things, also makes jewelry boxes. And, as you should expect, they are not just any jewelry boxes. Unlike the eyeglasses cases, which are made of hardened leather, Peroni jewelry boxes use the same leather wrapped around a wooden box. The wood supplies the hardness while the leather without any stitches gives it an amazingly luxurious feel.

Unfortunately, just like we can’t carry a catalog of Baha’s jewelry, we have not grown enough to carry Peroni’s jewelry boxes, yet. Baha is going to customize his (if he decides to go forward with them) by engraving his logo with gold leaf. If they arrive I will make sure to take pictures and show them to you. This leads me to the point of this post: if you are on a quest to find something extremely unique, high quality, and authentic, please get in touch with me as that is my passion and I would love nothing more than embark on the quest.

Our closest customers reap the biggest rewards. If our mission provides you with joy, make sure to become an insider (by contacting us). If you are not sure about what we stand for, take a close look at our home page, about us page, and sign up for our newsletter below.

Vintage Design Tulip Ring
Tulips are a Turkish flower, here they embody the strength of the Divan Room

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Our Artisans and Their Products

Think You Know Figurines? Meet Antartidee’s Meticulous Quest For Details

GOLFISTA Golfer Figurine
Heads Up!!! Maurizio e Roby designed this figurine to remind us of someone.

This fall we have four new groups of products coming. I have already talked about the Dionigi bags and wallets, the next group is made up by the Antartidee figurines. For years we looked at them longingly but we were not planning to bring these in this year. That was until not one, but two, customers were willing to place prepaid orders for us to supply them.

CUOCA Female Chef
CUOCA Female Chef: you are in an Italian kitchen now.

You might say that two customers is not a big enough sample population to make a decision like this but in our world two customers requesting something means popular demand. So we bought what they wanted and we got three for us to try. We picked the Golfer, the Sax Player, and the Dentist, but it was really hard to narrow down our choices because we could think of someone that would make a great gift recipient for just about any of them.

I can’t wait to get my hands on these figurines. My spirit thrives on fun, clever wit, and jokes (among other things, of course–I don’t think that I am a full-time buffoon). As you would expect from an Antartidee product, the details in these figurines are, well, very detailed. Their meticulous quest to portray even the smallest details brings these characters to life and turns them into, if not works of art, works of artistry that catch your train of thought in a pleasing way.

SASSOFONO: play it, sax player!.

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Product Reviews

The Best Leather Cream We’ve Found

The Best Leather Cream We Found
We wanted a leather cream to use on the best Italian leather. We found it.

We have always claimed that our leather cream is the best one we have ever tried. This is because it works really well and its qualities are superior: it is non toxic, it is made of all natural ingredients that do not affect the pores in full grain leather, and it really works to protect and waterproof your leather products, especially good quality Campomaggi leather that you do not want to compromise with sprays full of chemicals.

In the video below you can see how to apply the cream (including how it is perfectly safe to get it on your hands if you want), how the leather darkens significantly when you apply the cream, and how the color almost goes back to normal after an hour (it will, eventually, go back to its original shade). Ultimately, we show how pouring water on the untreated part causes the water to be absorbed by the leather, while pouring water on the treated section results in the water simply rolling off the bag.

This is pretty impressive performance that you can expect on your quality leather products. Make sure to get one next time you buy a Marcopoloni leather product. We stand by it 100%. We are planning more Marcopoloni products of this caliber. Stay up-to-date by signing up to our newsletter and don’t worry: we only have time to send up to six newsletters a year.

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Product Reviews

Kids Shoes Only Last A Few Months. Unless…

…they are made right.

As a parent, kids shoes drive me a bit crazy. On one hand, you don’t want to spend too much on shoes because you know that your child will quickly outgrow them, but you know that the cheap ones will start unraveling within a week, and doesn’t your child need something decent on her feet?
I have inspected the signs of wear and tear on Chiara’s shoes and for a while become convinced of torturous games going on at the playground. In my case, when Chiara was four she started coming home with sand and pebbles packed at the bottom of her shoes. I started envisioning a bully dragging her across the sandbox. Luckily one Saturday I got to watch her and her friends take their shoes off and fill them with sand.

But another question remained: why are the frontal parts of her shoes all scraped? Except for seeing her dragging her shoe-tops while riding her scooter, I have no idea how it happens. Whatever the dynamic, it is definitely one of her favorite activities, and most shoes give in like cheese through a grater.

In an effort to do better, a year-and-a-half ago we gave Chiara a pair of sneakers and a pair of sandals. I did expect for them to last longer, but I did not expect them to last this long. The sandals are practically new and I will probably hand them down to somebody who is interested. The sneakers are scraped in front but the leather is holding up and I don’t foresee a hole forming.

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Marcopoloni, the Tiny Business Product Reviews

Giudi Leather Wallets Are Selling Like Hot Cakes

CONTO Slim Italian Leather Wallet Brown
The CONTO Slim Italian Leather Wallet is selling like hot cakes. No wonder!

Giudi has figured out how to deliver stylish product that are in tune with the American consumer. And our American customers are responding.

It had been a long time since last time we had to beg one of our suppliers to anticipate a shipment by a month because we had run out of their products, in particular the Conto, which is literally selling like a hot cake.

We had seen a rising trend at the beginning of the year and had made our best efforts to keep the CONTO in stock. But starting in September, we began selling it far beyond our forecasts. Now we have practically run out but expect to get more by next week thanks to Giudi splitting our order and preparing what was hot first. The first question that comes to mind is: is this success going to continue?

Obviously it is impossible to tell what the future will bring, but the CONTO has “le carte in regola” which means something like “it has its ducks in a row” although, literally translated, it means that it has its paperwork properly filled out–revealing the bureaucratic lifestyle that still dominates Italian work life. First of all it is well designed for the American market where guys prefer a small wallet that can fit in the front pocket. The CONTO does that, even though there are some who feel that it is still too big. You can’t please everyone, but the CONTO obviously pleases the majority. The majority also has lots of credit cards and does not want a coin compartment (which makes things bulge by default.) The CONTO delivers very well on this count. Finally, the leather. Although thinner than Dionigi or Campomaggi wallets, it is still high quality Italian leather and it lasts a long time. Plus thinner leather means a thinner wallet with more card slots.

Finally the price. It currently sell for $56, which is a tight margin for us but we want to try to keep volumes high. The stronger dollar has helped us keep the price down. Let’s hope it continues!

Please let me know what you think about the CONTO. If you want to stay up to date on Marcopoloni developments, please also sign up to our newsletter. We only send out up to six every year.

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Our Artisans and Their Products

New Dionigi Bags Guaranteed To Impress You

That is unless you read this blog post and when the bags arrive you already know what to expect. 🙂

The new style of Dionigi wallets introduced in 2015. Pretty attractive if you ask me.

The key is in the new leather that Dionigi is using. After gaining invaluable experience delivering washed and distressed leather bags last year, this year Dionigi has focused on a slightly-distressed, fading-tonality style of leather that continues the tradition of using high quality full grain leather but adds a warmth to the delivered product that is very appealing.

That is not the only change that you will notice in Dionigi. They seem to have answered our questions about their interiors. Now suede leather in a bright orange color makes the interiors really easy to navigate and feel very good. This, in my book, is another big improvement that kicks the entire line up a notch. The other welcome improvement is the use of a wide cotton strap with a padded shoulder pad that feels very good. I prefer this strap to a Campomaggi leather strap for comfort reasons. I have taken one for my Santarelli and love it.

NEW Dionigi Cotton Strap Leather Shoulder Pad
The new Dionigi Cotton Strap with leather shoulder pad deserves to be sold separately. I put it on my Santarelli and love it.

Dionigi Bags have never been cheap, but now the price/quality ratio feels to heavily favor the consumer, something that I hope will spell the success of these products for years and will keep some of my favorite artisans happily busy.

The Dionigi products are now marketed under the Art and Job brand name created by Salvatore. They are a bit more mainstream than Campomaggi bags but have found a niche that stands out from old school leather products.

I am looking forward to announcing the arrival of their new products in our December newsletter. They will not arrive sooner because they are also quite busy: hopefully another sign that something good is happening. Stay tuned and sign up to our newsletter using the form below.

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Marcopoloni, the Tiny Business

Amazing Details Will Surprise You

Watching artisans work is very impressive. But the discoveries begin once you have their creation in your possession for a while.

It usually happens at an unexpected time: something catches your attention and you investigate it. The last time it happened to me was when we had pulled out the Still Wet wall clock to take better pictures of it just a few days ago. After we took the pictures we set the clock down and moved on to something else. The next day, I stopped to look at the tag to make sure that it was made of resin like the rest of the clock and that it was not a strip of leather attached to the clock.

As I looked closely at the tag I noticed that the small cloth label (again, it looks like cloth but it is resin) to the side of the pocket has individually painted threads holding it in place that are beginning to show signs of wear and tear.

If the devil is in the details, we sell a lot of devil.

As I look at the picture of that detail right now, I ask: “am I looking at a pair of jeans? Or am I looking at something that looks like a pair of jeans?” I am very impressed with this clock, I have to admit it. I think it will end up at home somewhere near our laundry room.

Antartidee is not the only artisan that impresses me. This happens to me just about every time I let a product sit by me long enough. Some of the other most memorable moments that I have had and quickly come to mind include: inadvertently touching my Campomaggi bag and think that the leather is so alive; gazing into a piece of Paua jewelry a see the blue fade in and out; grabbing my Murano glass tumbler; watching Marco rejoice when I played our music boxes; and many more. The quality of exceptional handmade products keeps on giving over time. It is simply a pleasure.

Is there a Marcopoloni product that gives you joy? I, of course, would like to know. Also, if you are not signed up already, do so to find out more about our surprising details.

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Product Reviews

Unforgettable Toy Music Boxes: Listen To The Songs Available

I recently talked about how our music boxes stir up your past but at the time we did not have the songs available for you to listen. When we sent out our latest newsletter we introduced our new artisan, Sabatino e Catia, and we made sure to record all the songs that accompany our music boxes so far.

Rotating ceramic music box
A very cute rotating ceramic music box with a boy piloting a race car.

Below I have grouped the music boxes by song so that you can see, as of the date of this post, all the music boxes available that play each song. Follow the links provided to listen to the song.

It’s a Small World

Ninna Nanna/Lullaby (Brahms)

O Sole Mio

  • FARO (temporarily sold out)
  • ISOLA (temporarily sold out)

Magic Flute/Flauto Magico

Can Can

Vie en Rose

Walzer dei Fiori

Bach Minuetto

Lover’s Concerto – Bach (Minuetto)

Biancaneve Hehoo

Funiculi` Funicula`

Unfortunately we did not record “O Sole Mio” before we sold out of the products, but we will make sure to record it at the next opportunity. I am also sure that we will get more music boxes as time goes by. If you are interested in our music boxes make sure to stay up-to-date by signing up for our newsletter below.

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Marcopoloni, the Tiny Business

Happy 12th Birthday Marcopoloni!

Another year has passed and it is fun to think about how much things have changed. A year ago Marco was still coming to the office three days a week, we hadn’t begun redesigning our Web site, and we hadn’t yet conceived our Campomaggi report that is so fun to read.

Now our home page begins to tell our story and that of our artisans, we communicate with our customers about the developments that interest them the most, and we are making progress on some significant projects. At present, we are transitioning our accounting system to QuickBooks Online and are integrating it with our website through their API.

Streamlining our accounting processes is expected to free up time that we can devote to our artisans–something that is sorely needed. In the last twelve months, in fact, we have added three artisans, but could not devote enough time to tell you all about them. I wonder if anyone out there could even name all three of them. That is one of the things I hope to be able to change this year.

Over the next twelve months there are lots of things that I want to do. I want to figure out ways to make the excellence of our artisans more palpable. To achieve that I plan on sharing more pages that include videos of our artisans and their products. I want to also show bigger pictures and answer more questions. Behind the scenes I will develop systems for better serving you. The list of ideas is so long that it almost feels daunting. But we know that by chipping away at these lists things actually improve and that is what you should expect.

Finally, we plan on being as responsive to you as ever and encourage you to contact us. Also, to stay up to date with our progress, sign up to our newsletter. We only send out up to 6 every year and do not sell e-mail addresses.

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