Why do we pay large sums of money for a â€œMade in Italyâ€ leather bag when we have an array of affordable alternatives that are just as beautiful and brilliantly executed? We have swallowed, hook, line and sinker the idea behind Italian leather. High quality, precision, craftsmanship and detail of Italian leather â€“ is that so?
If Italian leather quality is all hype, then the financial balance sheets show it to be a marketing markup that pays off. Two years ago, Italian leather exports brought in nearly $20 billion for the country and its manufacturers.
Established Italian manufacturers who earn rave reviews do so by turning out consistently good products. Italy cornered the original leather market when many tanneries around the world closed as tighter regulations took hold. The regionâ€™s leather industry made the decision to be a world leader in its products, and today the country is the second largest exporter of leather goods, footwear and apparel worldwide.
Even as Italy sits squarely on top of the leather industry, you can still find bargains. As it turns out, those fuel prices at the pump that drain your bank account also might be your friend when it comes to market diversification. Think of it as the fuel pumps/leather pumps equation.
As export costs rise with the expense of shipping (manufacturers have to pay soaring transportation fuel prices, too), Italy and China, still the worldâ€™s leader in exports, must find ways to increase quality while holding costs down. Other countries also are taking note of ways they might take advantage of the shifting costs of shipping lines.
Although their labels may not have the same cachet as an Italian tag, the quality of different countriesâ€™ handbags can sometimes rival those from Italy when sitting side by side on a shelf. All of this eventually means lower prices for the consumer at the department store or online.
Finally, if you do not have your heart set on leather, then the world opens countless possibilities for economical and attractive handbags made from other material. You could get a different bag to go with each outfit on your next vacation for what you might spend on one Italian leather handbag. PETA thanks you in advance if you decide to go this route.
Italian leather goods cost a lot for a reason, supreme craftsmanship. If leather is what you want, then you might as well go for a “Made in Italy”, where you might pay a hefty sum of money, but then that product may just as well over-last your lifetime. When it comes to genuine Italian leather, God is indeed in the details.