Leather is everywhere you look: in shop windows, market stalls, wrapped around the torsos of well-dressed Italians in the form of beautiful jackets. If it can be made of leather, you’ll find beautiful products here for every taste. Shoes, belts, coats, wallets, purses, briefcases, and luggage.
Long before the Renaissance rocked Florence and the world, guild craftsmen were producing leather goods in this already centuries-old city. Today Florence is still famous for its leather.
But not all leather is created equal. To the uninitiated, shopping for leather can be an intimidating experience. Is the seller reputable? Is the product of good quality? Is the price fair?
Marco, manager at Sabani Leather Firenze, a shop nestled beside San Lorenzo Church in Florence, Italy, offers valuable tips for those who want to invest in quality leather items.
Marco, how can shoppers be sure the leather products they’re considering to buy are of good quality?
Trust your eyes and your sense of touch. They will tell you whether the leather item is of good or low quality. The leather should feel soft, solid—even if it is a lightweight product. It should feel good on the body. Check the lining, the stitching, other finishing details. Look for a “Made in Italy” label.
Quality leather isn’t cheap. Why is high quality leather worth the investment, and how can shoppers determine whether the price is fair?
High quality leather lasts a lifetime. And as with any other investment item, you pay for quality. At Sabani Leather Firenze, we import leather from around the world, treat it, dye it, and design it locally according to the respected Florentine tradition of fine leather craftsmanship. You should first of all love the item, and, secondly, you should feel comfortable with the price. If a salesperson works with you on the price, it means they want to sell the product. That’s good for you and for them. If you’re unsure the price is fair, compare similar items in nearby shops, but keep in mind you want to evaluate items of similar quality, not just similar styles.
You’ve talked about customers finding a product they love. What are the trends in color and style, and how can a shopper choose a style that’s right for him or her?
Color and style trends change every season. If you’re often buying leather, then following the trends makes sense. But if you’re looking for a lifetime jacket, belt, or bag, go with something more classic in cut and color. One of our most popular items is the bomber jacket. It flatters most figures and ages. Our coats and jackets featuring fur details are also very popular. Fur is a chic classic, lasts a lifetime, and is very warm. Some people really have a sense of what they want, but many are unsure. Take a friend with you, and trust your instincts. Don’t invest in a quality leather or fur product unless you love it.
What kind of customer service should be expected when shopping for leather in Florence?
Good salespeople should quickly identify your personality and style preferences. They should be asking you relevant questions and presenting you with choices that appeal to you. They should be as happy to help you find the perfect wallet as they are a more expensive item such as a beautiful reversible coat. They should welcome you into the shop as many times as it takes for you to feel confident you’ve found the item that’s right for you, the leather product you love. You should not feel pressured to buy, and you should sense that you are respected and valued. Our salespeople at Sabani Leather love what they do, and it shows. You should get that feeling anywhere you shop.
Are there any special services a shopper should expect in a quality leather shop?
Well, for instance, at Sabani Leather, if you don’t find something you love, we’ll create it for you, customizing color, cut, and leather for your body type and preferences. And if you choose a ready-made product that’s not quite right, we can modify it on the spot with the services of our in-house tailor. We offer worldwide shipping services and accept most major credit cards and payment by PayPal.
Thanks for your time, Marco.
For information about leather care or Sabani Leather Firenze, visit their website here.
And happy shopping!