Last summer, while playing my weekly co-ed recreational soccer game, I got an email. It was from a company called Il Bisonte, reaching out because they thought that our philosophy of preserving the way of the artisan would be a good match for their products. While we receive a lot of business solicitations along the lines of “trendy leather bags, very cheap price!”, it’s rare to get a thoughtful email from someone offering products that are in tune with what we are about. I showed the photos of their products to my teammates and received immediate positive feedback, so I hurried home to share the excitement with Daniele, slowly allowing myself to become cautiously optimistic about this brand.
Fast forward 9 months and here we are, proudly carrying a selection of these Florentine leather goods ranging from business card holders to tote bags. With the long-anticipated arrival of the Spring/Summer collection at the end of the month, our catalog will more than double – expanding into categories such as backpacks, weekenders, coin purses and key cases. In the meantime, we have quickly developed an admiration for Il Bisonte’s philosophy of creating high-quality, minimalist leather goods, where the amazing quality of the vegetable-tanned Tuscan vacchetta leather takes center stage. Yes, for me, it’s the leather – it’s always been about the leather. I was pretty much sold the moment I laid eyes on this before and after comparison showing just how gracefully Il Bisonte products age:
I immediately invested in the large Il Bisonte logo tote (shown above) and am looking forward to watching the leather deepen in color and acquire that wonderful patina over the years. If you Google “Il Bisonte”, it’s not hard to find fans worldwide boasting about their “20-yr old handbag” or “30-yr old key case” – and I absolutely love that.
Fall is always super busy for us because we make sure to stock up for the Holiday season and try to have lots of new products to introduce. Add to that that we try to add the Fall/Winter collections during fall, not the beginning of summer, and you can imagine that we have a great number of products to introduce. In the past we noticed that when too many products arrive at the same time we do not have the resources and creativity to properly present each product. That has caused many worthy products to go nearly unnoticed for a while until customers started to dig them out of our catalog.
To prevent that we are now spreading out the arrival of new products by Campomaggi across multiple shipments. This week we received one such shipment and it was very exciting because the bags and accessories that we picked for this winter are really beautiful.
One new design is the distressed leather with a grid pattern of small multicolored brass studs. The TOALDO Campomaggi bag is a great example of this. Another is the VERATTI: a spacious bag with a myriad of small pockets in front and strong magnets securing the closure flaps.
Another line is represented by the FERRARI: canvas bags with large leather components such as a full front flap.
The latest Campomaggi Shipment has just walked through the door. This one is particularly interesting because it includes both items from the new Fall/Winter 2015 collection that we have never experienced, and some new variants from the Spring/Summer 2015 collection that you have requested.
When we receive lots of new products we have to focus exclusively on them for quite some time. As you know, we inspect them very carefully one by one to make sure that no defective units show up to your door. Then, because each Campomaggi bag is unique, we take at least two photos of each bag and add the bag with the photos to the database.
At this point, the bags show up in our Just Landed page, the page where you can preview bags and purchase them before they officially enter our catalog. At this stage we start talking about the novelties on social media but have to be careful not to link to this page as the product will eventually get moved.
When we have added all products to the just landed page, we go back and carefully complete the information associated with each product so that you can see weight, dimensions, sometimes a modeling shot, a description followed by a specific list of features. We also pick a list of recommended related products, and make sure that the product is categorized correctly so that it will appear on the correct pages.
Among the values that we categorize is the color. So if you search for the color in our search box the products that come in that color will rise towards the top of the search results. This is not a perfect system but it should help those of you who are interested in finding the bags we have in a specific color.
If you are a long-time fan of Campomaggi bags, or simply bought enough of them, you know very well that each Campomaggi bag is unique in more ways than one. This is particularly true for the distressed leather bags which absorb the dye differently, shrink differently, and sometimes even stretches differently. This, on top of the use of full grain Italian vacchetta leather, which in and of itself shows its character differently every time, ensures that each bag is very different from the next.
We realized this right away and immediately offered to our customers pictures of what was available. Last year we made the decision that Campomaggi bags should be sold as one-of-a-kind and that customers should be able to see exactly what they will be getting before they buy.
This immediately created a ton of work for us at a time when, with the birth of our son Marco, our productive time has shrunk. Yet, we think that this is the right way to do it and you will notice that more and more bags will show you exactly what is available. We often do this in response to a customer request. For example, yesterday someone wanted to buy the VALLA in Distressed Olive Brown. We had four in stock and they were all pretty different. Perfect! We took pictures of the front and back and posted them on our web site. Our customer chose hers and now there are three left for other people to pick.
We received our Caterina Lucchi picks for the 2014 summer and they are even more delightful than we ever imagined. We had seen them a few months back, but actually holding them and admiring the colors that we chose is a wonderful feeling.
The first bags that we added to the web site are the PETALINI, the ONDA, and the new version of the BALLETTO, the BALLETTO BIS in buffalo leather.
With these three bags along with the rest of the Caterina Lucchi and Campomaggi collections our showroom is in full bloom. Just like in a garden, some flowers will last longer than others while some will leave for their new homes rather quickly. When we get to know the customers who buy the bags we feel like we are still in touch (it’s like a kid off to college), so please do not hesitate to ask questions, you are really just helping us know where our beloved bags will go.
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.
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.
The fall/winter Caterina Lucchi collection arrived in November. We worked really hard to take pictures and post the bags to the web site and were immediately rewarded by an immediate response from our best customers. We are not used to such a response as it usually takes months for new products to even get noticed.
We named the new collection the Heritage Collection because the way these bags are treated and designed suggests a link to previous generations and our traditions. Despite this, the bags are extremely fresh and their practicality is definitely inspired by today’s trends.
After witnessing this great reception by our customers, we now expect Caterina Lucchi to become a more established designer in the United States as well. In Europe, she sometimes seems to attract more attention than Campomaggi, so I fully expect our global audience to begin to take notice as well.
I have to admit it, we are struggling to keep up. We have added six new Campomaggi products already this week and we have so many more to go! Oh, and did I mention that a big shipment is about to leave Italy?
So, let’s see what’s new. I will pick three products:
I don’t write about ladies handbags very often, but this time I feel that I am qualified to give a man’s perspective about a bag that you may find interesting.
The DOLCI Tris is the third variation on a very versatile subject that has given us some of our best sellers, the DOLCI and the DOLCI BIS. I like those bags too, but the DOLCI TRIS has a special magnetism towards me that I had never felt before. The beautiful design, the studs, the distressed leather, and the shearling awaken some long-forgotten primordial instinct I did not know I had. I see pictures of a log cabin with a fireplace while it is snowing outside.
I’ll keep this post short as I think that my point is made: this is the sexiest bag I have ever seen.
The DORIA Studded Shoulder Bag is an instant classic that fits well in the Campomaggi line of Rugged-Chic bags thanks to the very special way in which the rivets really accentuate the rich color of Campomaggi distressed leather: and that is true for all color variations. Both when it was presented and when it finally arrived five months later, I was very impressed with the DORIA’s looks and functionality.
The DORIA has a few defining features: first, if you fill it enough so that the side walls move further apart, the top will flatten out and the handles will line up, thus making it very easy to pick up the bag. Second, the leather strap is not removable but is adjustable. The strap is a beautiful complement to the bag and I find that the metal adjusting bracket ends up pretty close to end of the strap when you extend the strap to wear the bag cross-body. This avoids having the bracket rub against your shoulder. Finally, the stitched strips of leather that go from the bottom of the bag to the handles’ extremities complete the look with a style that is contemporary but unique.
One last note: Studded bags now also have studs on the edges of the Campomaggi logo leather label. And that looks great too.