June 15, 2010

Loving Angela Caputi, In Grande Stile

I happen to adore Angela Caputi and her jewelry. The company makes designer costume jewelry and has been around for decades- and there’s a reason for their success and continuity. As an importer, it’s important to me that a company be easy to work with, that they ship items on time, that they be responsive to my needs, and more importantly, to the needs of my clients. Angela Caputi and her staff live up to all of that.

From a creative standpoint, Signora Caputi never fails to outdo herself, over and over again. Just when you see a piece, and ooh and aah over it, and think it’s the ultimate, she pulls out another piece or another season’s line, and the creativity and colors are new and exciting. And the quality of her work is consistent and reliable.

I always ooh and aah when I’m in her showroom choosing items for my clients. Decision-making is tough!

Sometimes people say her pieces are big- and that you have to be a big, tall woman to wear them. Not so-there are plenty of necklaces and bracelets that even on a smaller woman are just perfect. I’m a petite woman, and confidently I wear her jewelry with simple clothing.

We ladies know that we love to buy costume jewelry. So add Italian imported resin jewelry by Angela Caputi to your list of must-haves. If you’re a fan of hers, join the group- and if you haven’t tried her yet, knock yourself out and give it a whirl. We’ve got a great selection.

Here’s a video of her workshop:

June 8, 2010

Passing on the Love of Travel

We were young ourselves, with two 4 year-old sons. And after several years of local travel, to the beach, to Disneyworld, and to all the fun places young parents go with their kids, we longed to go back to Europe, children in tow.

There were no plans of doing the grand tour of Europe like all the American painters did, or anything remotely like that. All we wanted to do was be there, and live. So we rented an apartment for two spring weeks in Piazza Sta.Croce in Florence.

We brought a dear aunt of our sons along, to help us when the two of them decided to run in three different directions and to have another adult around for the usual craziness.

It couldn’t have turned out better. The apartment was gorgeous, with plenty of bedrooms to go around, and kitchen and washing facilities to make dishwashing and laundry very convenient.

We spent our days doing simple things in Florence, made it child-friendly, with lots of time built in for just running around the piazza chasing pigeons- which turned out to be a favorite past-time of theirs. And I will never forget the blue skies- every single day of the trip. We saw not one cloud in 15 days! Cielo sereno, as they say.

And I got to run off by myself a few times to buy an italian leather handbag, some Italian gold, Angela Caputi jewelry, and gifts for all my friends while my husband and sister-in-law took the boys to the nearest park with a playground.

Over the years we have returned with our sons to Florence several times. One eventually studied there (or I guess what kind of passed for studying) for many months, and the other travelled there with a girlfriend, so proud to show her his intimate knowledge of the city. In both instances my husband and I couldn’t have been happier.

We have seen in our sons the love of travel extend to all corners of the globe, and are thrilled to see that they have embraced and assimilated it to be a part of each of them.

June 1, 2010

How do I Choose My Designers?

Clients and friends often ask me how I choose a particular designer – and it’s so fun to think about because really there is a unique story that goes along with each one. Take Gianni Chiarini for example, a handbag designer whom I came to know just a few years ago.

I was shopping in my favorite clothing store of all in Florence, Macel, which is right near the Pitti Palace. In addition to clothing, they also sell a selection of shoes, boots and handbags, and everything in the shop is made in Italy. And much of it is Tuscan. I bought a bag there a few years ago, not even looking at the label. But I liked the soft leather, simple design, and knew I’d get a lot of use out of it.

The following day I was walking down Via dellaVigna Nuova, and went into a fabulous handbag shop called Contemporary Bags. The store sells solely Gianni Chiarini handbags, which turned out to be the label in the bag I had bought the day before.

I just knew when I saw this collection, that American women would love these bags. The prices are fairly reasonable, considering what imported handbags cost these days, the bags aren’t fussy, and they look sturdy and stunning. And best of all, it’s a Florentine company.

Once back at home in the States, I contacted the company and made arrangements to visit their showroom in Florence on my next trip. Imagine walking into a really big space- like an enormous supermarket- and all the rows, on either side, are filled with handbags. What would you do? I think I was drooling! They must have thought I was out of my mind. And I was swooning from the scent of so much leather. And by the way, Gianni himself is a pretty young and friendly guy.

As I’ve mentioned before, I follow my instincts. If I like a bag, I’m pretty certain my clients will too!