Authenticity Marcopoloni, the Tiny Business Our Artisans and Their Products

Gianni, Our First Artisan, Is Always Creating

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.

Marcopoloni, the Tiny Business Product Reviews

A Rose-Shaped Leather Hair Clip And Long Hair


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.


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.

Marcopoloni, the Tiny Business

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!


Marcopoloni, the Tiny Business Product Reviews

Suddenly, Snails Are Back into My World

One of my earliest memories, from when I was five, is about observing and playing with snails. I have to admit that “playing” with snails involved poking their upper tentacles and watching them retract. The thought never crossed my mind until today that I was poking them in the eyes. I think some apologies are in order: “sorry!” And I hope that the whole “what goes around comes around” doesn’t apply to five-year-olds!

Leather Snaily-friend
Tuscan vacchetta leather snail key chain handmade by Gianni and his team. Adorable craftsmanship.

I hadn’t paid that much attention to snails since then and until last Easter. Chiara got invited to an Easter egg hunt in our friends’ backyard. As we were riding home, much to our surprise, we found that the goody bag Chiara had found had a snail in it. It took only two seconds for the snail to become Snaily-friend, our new pet. Luckily, I was able to reason with Chiara that Snaily-friend needed to live in the wild to survive and we setup a ceremonious farewell at the park that involved making sure that Snaily-friend was happy with his new surroundings–a fairly uneventful ceremony that took a long time.

Little leather snail cell phone charm
Its little brother: the snail cell phone charm.

Finally, earlier this week, we got an international order for the snail key chain and snail cell phone charm that got me to spend some time admiring our snail-inspired products. This is one of Gianni‘s most creative designs, which he features briefly in his video, that requires skilled craftsmanship to assemble. When Chiara needs her first key chain, I will make sure to remind her of Snaily-friend.