We were thrilled. We were grateful. We were . . . clueless
A life changing opportunity lay ahead of us. My husband and I seized a chance to move to Naples, Italy. We set out on expeditions, soaked in the golden sun, climbed cathedral domes, tasted the wine, and quickly learned just how much we did not know about Italy. The gracious locals often encouraged us with the phrase Pian’ Piano (Slowly, slowly)
Pian’ Piano, we learned about the rich language, history, culture, and stunning beauty of Italy, and oh my, the Italian ladies – all confidence and effortless style. I found myself saying things like, “Look, there’s another Sofia Loren.” Young, old, it didn’t matter, Italian women can serve up a look that would stop any Giovanni in his tracks. I longed to have a little of that verve. High heels and cobblestones – nope, not a combo I could master, but I noticed that most chic Italian women carried a timeless leather bag. Unlike a trendy handbag you find in department stores today – and consignment shops tomorrow – the classic Italian bag is exquisite heirloom quality.
Italian leather creations, I discovered, are globally coveted, usually handmade and strictly regulated by the Italian Leather Consortium. Leather is dyed slowly with eco-friendly vegetable dyes for richness of color, durability, and quality. They also have exacting regulations on animal welfare and sustainability. In my expedition to find one Italian leather bag that I could carry for the rest of my life, I came across plenty of price impediments and imposters. Sure, you can find beautiful bags that cost big bucks and act as billboards for status brands, but friends, that’s not what we value and we’re guessing you don’t either.
At last, while on a tour of lovely Amalfi Coast, I found the ticket to my dream in a small boutique. I went to work and hunted down the maker of the most sumptuous bags I had seen. He did not speak English (but a girl can rally when required) and even with my pian’ piano Italian, we both understood the language of purse love. I had finally found a small workshop with a leather artisan who is committed to quality handmade traditions with everlasting style. He doesn’t sell to individuals, but somehow, I relieved him of three bags before I left!
I never thought I'd sell handbags, but after many women in the US stopped me to ask about my bag, an idea formed. PaisleyFish was born to create a bit of Italiana for you-- a little slice of what Sophia Loren has going on. For the love of Italy, its abundance, boldness, and style. I’m here to help you find a best friend, thick-and-thin, stylish even in your gym clothes kind of bag. Lovingly handcrafted by people who care about high-quality, ecological standards, and creating new purses and accessories using old-world integrity.