Marcopoloni, the Tiny Business

Ten Year Anniversary Celebration: Day 10

Now that we are on the 10th day of our 10-year anniversary celebration, the bestselling items and giveaways are getting better and better! Check out our Celebration Page for 10% off of the #7 bestselling items of all time! This offer will be good through Friday, October 11, 2013 Midnight Pacific Time, so hurry on over!

We will be posting the #6 bestsellers next week on Tuesday, October 15, 2013 and Week 3 Giveaways next Wednesday! More goodies are on the way!


Product Reviews

New Leather Bags from Dionigi

We have just posted two new leather bags from Dionigi: the first one is the MONDANO messenger bag and the second one is the FINANZA briefcase. The leather bags are similar in style as they both use the high-quality vegetable tanned leather that Dionigi is known for. Also the interiors are padded and designed to carry a laptop or tablet in comfort and to provide a good amount of protection for your electronics. What I like about them is their focus on high quality in both materials and craftsmanship.

MONDANO Italian leather messenger bag

My experience with Dionigi products is that they are durable. I did not experience this, but a handful of customers have had to replace the strap a few years down the road. If that happens to you we try to keep replacement straps in stock so that we can help. The nice part about Dionigi nylon strap is that it is comfortable and somewhat casual, thus making the bag better suited for today’s more casual business environment.

FINANZA Italian leather briefcase
The FINANZA Italian leather briefcase is a beautiful marriage between a modern form factor and a classic style.
Product Reviews

I Finally Got My LUCA Leather Belt

LUCA Casual Leather Belt by Dionigi
After owning my ALDO Leather Dress Belt for a few years, I found its quality so superior that I stopped wearing any other belt I owned. I soon realized that wearing a dress belt with jeans is not good for looks and it is not good for the wear and tear on the belt. So I set my eyes on the more casual LUCA Leather Belt but it was always close to going out of stock (I did not want to risk depriving our customers) as every time a new shipment would arrive from Italy the availability would appear to be just barely sufficient to meet demand. So I increased our order quantities and finally got enough belts to go around to feed my growing hunger for a LUCA. That’s when I realized that I had another problem: our smallest size was for a range of waist sizes from 32 to 37. My pants size is 31 and I don’t like the extremity of the belt to flap around too much.

I had to ponder the decision of adding a smaller belt size (30-35). Considering that it is becoming increasingly difficult to prevent a run up in my waist size, did I really want to get a size that would cause people like me to say: “maybe I should just get a 32?”

Luckily I brushed my hesitation aside and ordered the 30-35, which has just arrived. I waited for Anita’s stringent customs inspection to be complete (I’m referring to her quality control inspection) and I finally got to have my very own LUCA. This whole process took longer than a year!

I am thrilled with it so far, but I will write a report in a few weeks with all the details. For the time being enjoy the photo. Do you like my new Campomaggi bracelet?


Product Reviews

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.

Our Artisans and Their Products Product Reviews

FRECCIA Leather iPad Bag by Dionigi (Video Review)

Daniele reviews the popular FRECCIA Leather iPad Bag by Dionigi.

Our Artisans and Their Products

Leather Coin Wallet

Last week we added one of my favorite products: the EURO Leather Coin Wallet.
Leather Coin Wallet
This coin purse is designed in the style that Italians call “Tacco”. It features a hard heeled edge that prevents coins from easily falling out and it is crafted using top quality Italian full-grain leather–the kind of leather whose price is going through the roof this year. The craftsmanship and quality of materials make this leather coin wallet really stand out and one of the best values around.

Our Artisans and Their Products

Reflections on what makes a good gift

In my previous post I talked about how well my friends liked the Aldo leather belt I had gifted to them. They all asked me for an additional one of a different color, exactly what I wished for me.

I suspect that we had a few things in common. Not knowing what their belt collections look like, I can only suspect that most of those belts, like mine, lacked at least one of the following:

  • quality leather
  • inspired design
  • attention to details

I am dissatisfied with my black belt, and will make sure to replace it as soon as possible, but my other belts are OK. Yet, now that I have a belt that is superior to the rest of them, it has become my favorite belt and the one that I reach for every day, except when I need to wear a black belt. The same thing must be going on with my family and friends, and this leads me to this conclusion.

A good gift is a gift that is appreciated. Sometimes such a gift can be something for which we don’t feel a need until we experience it.

Our Artisans and Their Products True Artisanship

A Dionigi Belt is a Great Gift for Him

Last year we added Vincenzo’s Italian leather belts to our line up. I named my favorite model after my maternal grandfather, Aldo, and made sure to get one in espresso to use both with my jeans and with my brown slacks.

I also gave it as a gift to one of my friends and to two relatives.

It did not take long for me to wish to have a black one as well. Every time I wear my non-Italian-leather, non-handmade black belt it feels really cheap and it has gotten to a point that it is rubbing off on my pants. I will for sure get a black Dionigi belt by Vincenzo on the next gift opportunity. Maybe for Father’s Day.

What really struck me was how every one of the three people to whom I gifted the Aldo belt, complimented me on its quality and asked for another one of a different color. I had never experienced such enthusiastic reception for any of my gifts. More on this in my next post.

The Aldo Italian leather belt. So far, 100% of my gift recipients liked it and asked for more.

True Artisanship

Why I Love Handmade Italian Leather Bags (Part 3)

Last week I claimed that Italian leather is world class but that it was not enough to cause me to love a bag. For that to happen, the artisan has to be passionate about working with the best leather on Earth.

If you search for Italian leather briefcases you will come across a multitude of designs by a multitude of suppliers. So what makes a leather briefcase so special that I would consider it worth loving? I set all the bags on my desk and let time do its magic. Eventually, some bags will speak out. If a briefcase doesn’t speak to me it is not a work of art and it is out: it can be handmade and made with the best Italian leather but it has no soul.

After eliminating the uninspiring, I turn to those bags worth owning that make me say: “wow, that is a nice briefcase”. There are many bags like these: my Affari by Vincenzo fits this description. I like how it is designed, I love its leather and the craftsmanship that put it together, and, most importantly, I feel like it is an elegant accessory and a practical way to carry my laptop for business.

Then there are the ultimate briefcases, the ones that make me fall in love. I can immediately think of two: the Documenti briefcase by Bojola and the Santarelli Italian leather briefcase by Marco Campomaggi. The Bojola bag is very classy: so much so that I really want to be seen with it. The Campomaggi briefcase is so good looking and masculine that it embodies how I want to look: it taps into my aspirations so well that I cannot resist it.

Awesome doesn’t happen by accident: it requires the love of a passionate artisan poured into it. I guess that I don’t love handmade Italian leather bags after all. What I love is awesome handmade Italian leather bags.
Italian leather briefcase

Our Artisans and Their Products

Did you like your Christmas gifts?

Did you give or get a Marcopoloni product as a Christmas gift? We heard back from a handful of customers but would always like to gather even more feedback for our artisans. That is how we can make improvements and develop new ideas.

The products that generated the most feedback were the Freccia iPad Leather Bag and the Campomaggi leather bags. Our customers seem to be pretty enthusiastic about those. Emi got a Giudi credit card case, the CARTA. Since I have just a few credit card slots in my wallet (I bought it when I couldn’t dream of the number of cards that you get when you have a baby), I am starting to think that one of the new ones we are going to get from Giudi in the new year has my name on it.