Gianni, Our First Artisan, Is Always Creating

Gianni Drawing In Alicudi (Lipari)
Gianni Drawing In Alicudi (Lipari)
There are places where the sky and the sea inspire you ideas.

I just got off the phone with Gianni. Today it was easy to get a hold of him because, having fallen during a mountain bike race, he just cracked three ribs and now he has to rest quite a bit. That’s why he put himself in charge of the phones, accounting, and is staying put for a while. Such an easy target I might call him back tomorrow!

As we were chatting, I told him that I wanted to visit his cousin for lunch because he has an Italian restaurant in Palo Alto, not too far from us. He said: “Make sure to call me at home when you are there and I will buy you lunch!” It turns out that he means to pay him next time he sees Mario. Gianni is the elder among his cousins so I am curious to do this. I don’t want to get a free lunch, but I would like to see his face when I tell him that I have his cousin Gianni on the phone.

One of the reasons for me to call him was to get the picture of him drawing new products in the Aeolian Islands. I had seen the picture on his website and it looked great: a wonderful setting with the sea and the Island of Alicudi in the background. If you are ever trying to figure out a beautiful place to visit in Italy that is off the beaten path, this is certainly a good example. We are going to use the picture in our next Calendar (and possibly every calendar thereafter) and wish to go there.

As usual, Gianni was busy creating something new. He said that demand for his products in his native island (Sicily) is growing at a healthy rate so he is designing, among other things, a Trinacria key chain–a symbol of Sicily. I can’t wait to get this because many Italian descendants in the US appreciate Sicilian symbolism and I think that it would really add to our selection.

Gianni's New Trinacria
A prototype is coming alive. We might have it next year.

Thank you for reading my post. Don’t forget to use the coupon code I disclosed in a previous post to get 10% off anything on the Marcopoloni site during the month of November. Also stay on top of new additions by signing up to our newsletter below.




A Rose-Shaped Leather Hair Clip And Long Hair

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On Friday Chiara’s school was closed so we took Chiara to the office while we shipped orders and took care of just the most pressing issues. Luckily Chiara loves to read and can entertainment herself for a few hours. But she also takes interest in the family business and hopes to design our bags some day.

When she saw our sample butterfly leather hair clip she said that we should take pictures with it to help the business. We were more than happy to comply, except we opted for the model that we actually carry: the rose. As we went outside and she put the hair clip on. I was very impressed when I saw how beautifully the leather rose adorned my daughter’s hair.

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Unlike most of our products, this is one I cannot test drive myself (my hair is way too thin and short). So I cannot testify for comfort or practicality, but I can report what I have witnessed. Chiara wore the clip all day long. If it wasn’t comfortable we would have heard about it every five minutes: she never complained. We did have to adjust it a couple of times throughout the day, which is probably to be expected, or it was the result of Chiara not sitting still at all while Emi put it on. As I said, I was very impressed: on someone with long hair (Chiara’s hair is not thick but it hangs past her shoulders) it should look really good.

If you own one of this, I would love to know your thoughts.

Our Week 4 Giveaways: Antartidee and Gianni

Week 4 Giveaways have arrived and the prizes are amazing this week! We are giving away a unique wall hook by Antartidee and the ever popular Libro CD case by Gianni! You all have a week to enter the giveaway and earn as many entries as you can to win one of these great prizes. We will be announcing the winners next Wednesday and posting the Week 5 giveaways. Next week–week 5–will be the last week of our Ten Year Celebration so don’t miss out on the opportunity to win a prize or two.

The winners of the Week 3 Giveaways are:

Crystal D. for a Paua Chunky Segmented Ring, size of her choice

Jane T. for a Volare Passport Cover, color of her choice

CONGRATULATIONS! We will contact you shortly!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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If you are the lucky winner of this awesome wall hook, this is exactly what you would get; a silver screw wall hook!

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The winner of the LIBRO leather CD case will get to choose the color of their choice!

Our Week 2 Giveaways: La Cuoieria and Yoshioka-san

Today is the second Wednesday of October, meaning…we have another giveaway going on! Two randomly selected winners will be announced next Wednesday and the Week 3 giveaways will begin! But first, let’s see who the winners of Week 1’s Giveaways were:

Jamie H. for a Gianni Cell Phone Charm of your choice
Laurie A. for a Marco Key Fob

CONGRATULATIONS! We will contact you shortly!

>> Enter Giveaway <<

Gianni’s ROSA hand-molded leather rose ring

If you are selected as the winner of a Gianni leather rose ring you get to pick your favorite color ring!

 

Unique Kazari ornaments by Yoshioka-san

…Or if you are selected as the winner of a Kazari ornament, you get to choose the pattern of your choice!

 

Ten Year Anniversary Celebration: Week 2, Day 8

Today starts Week 2 of our Ten Year Anniversary Celebration! We are featuring our #8 bestselling items on our Celebration Page so come take a look at what we are offering! The 10% off coupon code will be good through Wednesday, October 9th, 2013 Midnight PDT.

We will be posting the #7 bestsellers on Thursday, October 10, 2013 and Week 2 Giveaways tomorrow! Keep checking back and tell your friends! We have lots of things going on this month. 🙂

 

Beltrami Campomaggi Vertical Tote Latte
Beltrami Vertical Tote by Campomaggi, #8

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.

 

Diario-Blog-1
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!

 

 

Diario-Blog-2
My personal touch to the Diario.

I Won’t Let Summer Slip Past Me

When the days start getting noticeably shorter in August I start thinking of ways to hang onto summer for just a little bit longer. When I get up it is pitch black again, when I go for a walk with my dog it calls for a sweatshirt, it is easy to start thinking that fall is just around the corner.

But the reality is that summer is only half over and in the San Francisco bay area there are plenty of hot, sunny days ahead that call for gelato and dinner in the yard. To get myself back in a summer mindset, all I have to do is think about summer in Gianni’s Sicily. I can picture him in his patio overlooking the sea with paper and pencil sketching new designs. There is a sail boat in the far distance, moving slowly, he picks up some paper, makes a boat origami, and one idea is sparked.

Barchetta sail boat leather key chain

 

Then I picture Gianni reaching for a slice of Anguria and bam! Another idea is calling for a cute design.

ANGURIA watermelon keyring

By now I am thinking of when we visited Sicily: the most delicious Spaghetti alle Vongole we ever had at Oasi Azzurra, the summer heat, the refreshing clean water, the fun of carefree times with your family and friends.

Now I am ready to enjoy summer again. My motivation to go to work has disappeared–it is time to plan a few days off (maybe during the week-end) :-).

Spotted a Dragonfly

The other day I was sitting in my backyard with Chiara and she spotted a dragonfly flying around. When it settled she took a picture of it using my cellphone and then it flew away. She only had one chance to snap a picture and a camera that is hard to use for a 5-year-old, but the photo turned out much better than I expected. I was impressed by her interest, so I decided to read up the Wikipedia page about dragonflies and found a few interesting facts.

Chiara's dragonfly
Chiara’s dragonfly shot is fuzzy, but it is already surprising that she was able to catch it. Dragonflies move quickly!

Although some cultures are not fond of dragonflies, in Japan the dragonfly is associated with summer and autumn and they are a symbol of courage, happiness, and strength. The dragonfly was often depicted in Art Nouveau jewelry.

There are more than 5,000 species of dragonfly so I am sure that some of the traits don’t apply to them all. The one in my yard could fly really fast and I wasn’t surprised to find out that they are among the fastest flying insects.

Gianni's LIBELLULA
The LIBELLULA dragonfly keychain sits patiently to be photographed and is a symbol of courage, happiness, and strength.

Our favorite artisan, Gianni, depicted dragonflies and we carry his LIBELLULA Key Chain as part of the very endearing collection of animal shaped leather accessories.

A Surprise Gift From Italy

A few weeks ago we got a surprise visit from Gianni’s cousin, who happens to live less than an hour away from our office, and he was bearing gifts from Italy! Oh my, what could it be? We opened it right away and it was a gift for our daughter Chiara: a small blue t-shirt from the volleyball team that Gianni sponsors bearing the number 13. If you think that the number 13 is bad luck, you must know that, in Italy, the seat of countless superstitions, it has long been supplanted by the number 17 and has now found a new vocation as a lucky number.

Although this is a simple gift, it does say a lot about Italian people and culture. First, Italians love kids and always think about how to make their day a little brighter. Second, Italians can make you feel like you are part of the family (which comes with all the benefits I have mentioned in other posts and articles) and will not refrain from asking you a very time consuming favor (in this case Mario had to spend a half-day to deliver something to a perfect stranger–but in the end he made a new connection): so we fully expect to be on the hook. Gianni, if you are reading this, when you finally make it to California, I will arrange everything, including the bikes to go coast-to-coast.

Gianni's gift to Chiara

Vroom vroom!

Ever wanted to buy that nice Italian car you’ve been dreaming about? Well, I believe you are in luck! Last week, we received a Gianni shipment with some brand new products. Yes, including a car! We even held a Facebook contest giving away a free car key chain in the color of your choice (available in blue, red, green, white, black and yellow)! Big congratulations to Jennie for being the lucky winner!

Modeled after the Fiat 500, Gianni’s new car key chain takes you one step closer to owning a genuine Italian car. This surely is the case for me since I am a fan of the Fiat 500. If my dog could fit comfortably (and safely!) in a 500, that would be my “new car goal”. Did you know that a Fiat can make coffee for you right in your car? Well, it exists in an upgraded model, the 500L. Seems like the US is out of luck until it has been approved though, but hey, one can dream!

Speedy blue!