The Modern Day Italian Artisan – Be*Why Accessories

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Before moving to Italy I had this image of what an Italian Artisan was.  For some reason, I always pictured Geppetto, in a candle lit, single window workshop, with a wooden table and a stone entrance, working away alone into the long hours of the night.

 

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Don’t get me wrong, there are still many artisans working in the same Botteghe (workshops)  that have been in their families for hundreds of years, doing mestieri (trades) that haven’t changed much over the generations, but the REAL modern day Italian artisan IS different and definitely not a cliché! First of all, modern day Italian artisans are both men and women,  they use and incorporate new technologies into their crafts and they are innovative, creative and produce some of the most daring designs.

 

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Italy’s artisans are one of the main driving forces behind the Italian economy, and with 1,382,773 of them  (source)  you’d be hard pressed to find them all working beside a candle!  An artisan product has to compete with big industry, it is expected to uphold traditions without sacrificing craftsmanship and yet cannot become overly costly.  The artisan plays a vital role in making the world’s best products and there is a reason that MADE IN ITALY remains at the forefront of luxury goods.

 

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The Role of Artisans

The big Italian (and non) fashion brands rely on Italian artisans to be able to create exceptional goods from sartorial gowns to leather bags and shoes.  Little is actually known about the people behind the product as most of the discussions around fashion are centered on the designers, models and business managers.

 

In the luxury artisan world a designer presents the artisan with a design and the artisan figures out;

  1. Can this be made ?
  2. How much will it cost to make one?  (a sample)
  3. Can I make it better?
  4. How much will it cost to make many? (a production)
  5. Do I have enough staff and machinery to make many? (mass production)

Whatever you see on the market is only a small fraction of what a brand originally designed.  The final collection is a pairing down based on style, cost and production times.

 

 

Often times, however, the designers of the big luxury brands DON’T DESIGN the products!  They go into the workshop and choose from a selection of pre-made items created by the artisan.  They rely on the expertise and lifetime research of the people who live and breathe these products and simply choose from their creations.  You may not know that the bag you are wearing was designed by an unknown artisan who has been creating luggage along side his father for 40 years!

 

Behind the Be*Why Accessories Brand

 

20 years after beginning a small leather goods business with a partner, Emilia Fontana decided to branch out on her own.  At the time she was focusing on belts and other small leather goods but she realized that the future was with bags!  Together with her trained staff she’s been creating bags and accessories for some notable names in fashion.

 

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Year after year price competition has become more fierce as big brands search for cheaper prices and even cheaper quality.  Emilia decided that she needed to spread the word about her products and launch her own private label brand to sell directly to customers.  In 2010 the Be*Why Accessori brand was born, offering the same luxury purses and bags to an international clientele without the markup cost from a big brand.

 

 

Be*Why’s brand image is still being developed as Emilia searches for the right sales outlets.  The designs are trendy but also fairly classic, with a focus on real Italian leathers and selected details and metal accessories. Be*Why maintains an accessible price point while still being an item of prestige.  Their focus is on balancing a quality hand made Italian product without becoming excessively costly. All of their bags and accessories are completely hand made by Italian artisans, and their  designs are focused on versatility;going from day to night….or rather office to cocktail…..or in my case playground to aperitivo!

 

The Be*Why Accessori brand is primarily sold in-store in Italian clothing boutiques throughout the country.  Recently, the brand launched a simple website that is still in the process of being completed.  Italian artisans often have so much to juggle from actually creating the products to sales and distribution that the online aspect of business is often put on the back burner.  Emilia reached out to me to partner with reasonstodress.com on the promotion of their most recent collection the “Cocktail Dressy”, a simple crossbody in real leather with cavallino detailing on each side and a simple chain.

 

 

The bag is available for $160 (130 euro) in three combinations

1 – gold leather + leopard cavallino

2 – silver leather with zebra cavallino and

3 – black leather with zebra or cow printed cavallino fur

I LOVE THIS COLLECTION!  Originally I wasn’t convinced that I would ever find a use for a gold or silver bag, but I cannot take mine off!!  This month I’m hosting a giveaway for this bag in the silver + zebra combination and throughout the month I’ll be sharing how I styled mine.

 

SPRING FLING Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

HAND MADE – The Artisan Series

 

This article is part of the HAND MADE series dedicated to the artisans of Italy.  Because I work along side my husband who is an exotic leather belt artisan, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some of Italy’s most prominent artisans in cashmere, wool, leather goods, shoes and bags.  This series is about sharing their stories and products, all well-made, beautifully designed and MADE IN ITALY without the markup of the bigger brands.

 

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Over the next few months I’ll be taking you in to the artisan businesses behind Italy’s most important exported good…..FOOD!  So far you can read about La Vacchetta Grassa, and their leather bottega, La Gioja, creating one of a kind modern jewelry pieces in Murano Glass and the Acetaia Malagoli Daniele, producers of Modena’s black gold, traditional Balsamic Vinegar!

 

 

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  • What a great read! I love finding out about small businesses, artisans and little known things about Italy. Every time I read one of these posts I want to go search for people like this here in Spain!

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  • Karin Shaim

    never heard about this brand, but it looks amazing 🙂 I love italian artisians!

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  • Porcelina

    So interesting to see behind the scenes like this! Hope you are having a super Sunday lovely lady x

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  • Colleen Long

    I have actually never heard of this brand, but Italian artisans are amazing.

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  • Lisa Brown

    i have not heard of this brand, i think the artisans are great 🙂

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  • Tricia Hope

    I am not familiar with this brand but there are many things Italians excell at olive oil,gold jewelery,and leather craftsmanship

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  • Dawn Monroe

    This is my introduction to them but I love to see how they are hand made. I think the bag is very classy and fresh.

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  • Kayley

    I hadn’t heard of this brand before, but I like Italian artisans.

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  • Sheri Newell Anderson

    No I have not heard of this brand before but I’m fascinated and this looks awesome, thanks!

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  • Judy Thomas

    I had never heard of them before this but I think they make gorgeous bags!

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  • inkchick

    I’ve never heard of this brand and that’s a shame because they seem terrific. I love the Italian tradition of quality and style.

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  • Lisa

    I’ve never heard of this brand but I bet it’s great. I love Italian artisans!

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  • Nena Sinclair

    I’ve never heard of Cavellino, but I love Italian goods and artisans. They have wonderful quality and style!

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    • cavellino refers to the real pony hair that is used on either side of the bag! It is a pretty valuable type of “leather” these days and gives the bag a nice touch.

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  • Debbie Petch

    I am Italian and i know this a quality brand. I love Cavallini!

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  • pinksuzanne

    I have not heard of this brand before. I think Italian craftsman are masters of their craft.

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  • Cathy French

    I have not ever heard of this brand before now. Love Italian artisans.

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  • Melissa Douglass

    I haven’t but that bag is gorgeous!!

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  • Mai Tran

    This brand is new to me. Italian artisians have their own mindset and perceptions that make fashion world much more interesting.

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  • Gord

    Is this giveaway open to Canadians?

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  • Loris Ayoub

    HELLO,
    I have never heard of it,but looks amazing

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  • Dawn Schamp-Monzu

    I actually have not heard of this brand. I LOVE anything Italian! I am Italian…and I also love anything that someone puts such hard work into! I appreciate hard work.

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  • Baldo Sanfilippo

    liked and shared

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  • Mary María

    Never heard about this brand, but it looks amazing 🙂 I love italian artisians! They are elegant and talented.

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  • Heidi Shreve Salisbury

    I haven’t heard of this brand. I think the Italian artisans have great craftsmanship and make quality products.

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  • Lindsey

    I have never heard of this brand but I love small businesses!

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  • lisa

    This is new to me. I love it! I don’t own a handbag because I’m very picky, so much so that what I like is often out of my price range. I would be happy to carry this around. A beautiful, high quality bag.

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  • Bonny McDevitt

    I have never heard of this brand, but i would adore this bag!

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  • Carolyn Massey

    Don’t think I’ve heard of this brand but from what I read their products are well made. Love Italian bags.

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  • Devi Virgia Perwita

    never heard about this brand, but i’m interested about this brand…
    italian artisians is so amazing and sexy … 😀 😀

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  • BaileyDexter

    Great post! I am not familiar with the brand, but after reading up on it I will be checking more into it! Love it!

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  • Jan

    No I haven’t heard of this brand. I like the look produced by Italian artisans 🙂

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  • Melissa Shaulis Mazzur

    I have never heard of this brand but I love everything Italian!

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  • amweeks

    I’ve never heard of this brand, but my Mama was always partial to Italian handbags!

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  • Dana Truitt

    No i have never hear oft his brand until now but I absolutely love Italian Artisans …what gorgeous looking designs. I am am deff checking out their website!

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  • Edmond Leung

    OMG, not heard of this brand. But Italian craftsmanship is divine. Wow, prize bag is fab. & splendid. 2 fingers snap. It is tight, fly & off
    the chain. Thank you for the awesomeness, the contest, and
    generosity. Pick me, pick me! Perfect for my aunt’s big BD gift which I can’t afford. 🙁

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  • Tea Šainović

    I have never heard of it, but I’d love to visit, looks wonderful!

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  • Ilaria Carraro

    i know it i live quite next to it, it’s a beautiful place

    View Comment
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