An Italian Adventure
When I went to Sicily Italy for the first time, I loved it. I literally fell in love with it. I couldn't tell you why I was drawn to Sicily nor do I know why I hadn’t actually managed to get there before, all I know is that it started this love affair with the country, their way of life and the very special atmosphere of the island.
While I was there on this inaugural trip I saw a bright orange handbag hanging across a mannequin outside a shop. Again, instantly fell in love! I went straight into the shop to ask how much it was and was pleasantly surprised so I took the rather lovely orange ‘Emily' bag home with me. This little bag was made from beautiful Italian leather, the design was classic, you could wear it with jeans or an evening dress, the colour was vibrant - great against black, white, navy, grey and denim! I hadn’t seen another one like it and I was thrilled to bits with it. Not only was it an exceptional bag but also brilliant quality.
Close to the shop where I spotted the lovely Emily bag there is a little seafront bar, where we decided to sit for a while. We sat, looking out over the sparkling Mediterranean and I found myself thinking what a nice way of life it would be to be selling handbags like that, when I say “like that” I mean excellent quality Italian leather, beautifully made, fantastic designs and amazing colours.
The evening drew on, dinner passed and we strolled along the marina, I just could not get the thought out of my head, it really would be lovely, so by the time the next morning had arrived I had already planned almost word for word the conversation I was going to have with the shop owner when I asked him for information about his handbags and his suppliers. I truly thought that he was unlikely to want some tourist to know all about his business and that I would probably have to pop that dream in my new orange bag and politely leave.
I couldn’t have been more wrong. He was so very kind and helpful and after I had explained what I wanted to do he paused, he looked at me for a long moment and said “OK, sit, I will help you” and so he did. He tapped away at his phone and scribbled down details and names of people and places I needed to know, not only this, he also gave me lots of invaluable advice about every aspect of the business. He was unreservedly generous without asking for, or anticipating anything in return. He had helped me enormously. I had a very clear picture of me selling these beautiful bags and now coupled with those finer details, it was all coming to life. I was very excited.
I had a couple of days left in Sicily and of course I hardly thought about anything else. By the time I had arrived back in England I knew exactly how I wanted to go about this, I think that is what grown ups call a ‘business plan'. Call it very brave or very foolish but my belief and passion in this new venture were so strong I made the decision to give up my full time employment and haven't looked back since. The response to the Italian Handbag Company has been brilliant and I now have a gorgeous little shop in Watlington, Oxfordshire on a High Street that is all independent businesses!
You just never know what the future holds, if you truly believe in something, go for it!