People often ask why I started the boutique. The answer is simply: because a good friend told me he thought I could and I should. This was in the fall, 2004.
At the time I barely knew how to send e-mails, much less understand the internet and the idea of running an online business made me raise my eyebrows…had he lost his mind?
Not much time passed before I was dreaming and scheming. I knew immediately what I wanted to sell. That was simple. Scarves from Como.
Como has a centuries old textile industry, especially silk textiles.
I’ve always adored textiles. Being an interior designer I had the good fortune of being around gorgeous textiles. I always want to touch, to see the weave, etc. I once took a course in textiles, just to learn about the various fibers, weaves and dyes.
When I travel, I’m always drawn to fabric and linen shops. When I visit my daughter in Rome, I often make time to wander around an area near the Largo Argentina which has many fabric stores….wonderful places that ramble up flights of stairs, take up several old buildings or are tucked in unsuspecting courtyards, full of huge rolls of every kind of fabric you can imagine and in each room there is a Roman salesman, an attractive combination of courteous, gravelly and remarkably patient.
As one salesman recently told me “Ah, women, I love women who have projects” As a woman who always has many projects, I could only laugh with him at what a pain in the neck we can be…”no, no, this is not quite right….I’d like to see that roll on top please, the one that weighs 400 kilos, grazie”
Largo Argentina in Rome
So, it should come as no surprise that my favorite part of owning the boutique is shopping for the scarves and shawls and all the other textile accessories. Partly it’s the new people I meet and seeing the people I’ve built a relationship with, partly it’s the excitement of feeling like a kid in a candy shop…oohh, all those beautiful fabrics, colors, textures, how am I ever going to decide which ones to purchase?
Now it's 2015 and I know so many people, from the people who design to the people who sew on labels and package. I like the opportunity for the quick catch up on their lives and the chit chat. This is so very Italian. There are no sweat shops where people can't stop working for a bit of socializing!
Every scarf in the boutique is made right here in Italy. There are no assembly lines with millions of the same scarf churned out by machines run by tired underpaid and overworked workers. These Italian companies design, weave, dye, cut and sew. Small companies whose employees have been with them for years and years, often several generations of one family working together. Why? Because they are good places to work. Clean, safe environments where the latest European laws regarding dyes, chemicals, energy production, etc. are abided by. Proper holidays, pay, work day hours and time off to be with family (this is Italy, where families are still considered important!)
Only small quantities of each design are made and the designs change constantly, keeping things fresh and exciting.
I like it this way. I know that what I wear and what I offer for sale is the highest quality, latest designs made in places where people are treated well in clean safe environments that are taking care to not pollute, and are energy efficient.