We thought you would enjoy the letter below, which details the day our artisan Antonino’s daughter met Terri, our CEO, and began their mutually beneficial business partnership.
I remember very well the day I met Terri, Terri Alpert.
It was last year and a normal day of work started for me, very intense as usual.
At that time I worked as a sales clerk in a large shop in Anacapri, on the wonderful island of Capri, which has always been source of inspiration for artists and writers.
That morning, as usual, I was trying to figure out what the many tourists found more fascinating inside the shop: a mega store that still offers high-quality goods such as Capri linen clothing, shoes, handbags and accessories, fine ceramics of the Amalfi Coast, handmade perfumes, cashmere shawls, and finally, what would have connected me to Terri: the inlay of Sorrento.
It was for me the second year of work there and since the beginning I had noticed that the inlay pieces that the store used to propose didn’t have the brightness of colors and the refinement of style that my father’s pieces had. For this reason, I had proposed to the purchasing manager to introduce some pieces of inlay made by my father. He is an artisan, a bit shy and anchored to the tradition and hardly tries on his own initiative to find new dealers, but the shop customers liked his artworks and sales grew.
I usually didn’t like to stay in the inlay department, because I didn’t want my colleagues and superiors to think that I could promote my father’s works instead of other artisans’ work. That morning, however, I noticed that a sunny, distinct woman with a direct gaze was looking with curiosity at the wall on which my father’s creations hung.
The lady who caught my attention was looking at one of the most tender creations by my father, which represents two kittens, perhaps in love, who, while twisting their tails, admire the panorama of the Gulf of Naples under a lemon tree branch.
I got closer to her, explaining the technique of the inlay, and with my surprise, she asked me who the author of that work was. I rarely said that it was my dad, because I did not want people to feel obliged to buy. Deciding to leave a product is simpler when the author or someone close to him is not present, and I did not want my father’s creations to be bought under forcing.
But to that lady I said I knew the author. She asked me again who he or she was. I told her that the author was my dad. Her eyes smiled at me, and she said she would take that piece, introducing herself as Terri Alpert. She told me of her business in the United States called Uno Alla Volta, explaining the large number of customers it has and the large number of catalogs it regularly prints and mails. Smiling, she told me that she was in Capri on vacation and that her best “discoveries” had happened just when she was on holiday. This is how a normal morning turned into an extraordinary one that led to my father’s collaboration with Uno Alla Volta for more than a year now.
Kittens have become “Cats under the Lemons.” There was “In Love on the Bench,” “Sunflowers on the Bay,” and now “Sailing In Blue Waters.” The last three works were created exclusively for Uno Alla Volta, with themes requested directly by Terri and her extraordinary collaborators. Work has increased for my dad, and it is with great joy that I now see his skills and passion being appreciated so much overseas. I watch the videos where Terri presents my father’s works on TV, I see his picture on the front page of Uno Alla Volta’s catalog, there is a blog page written exclusively to him and his art and this makes me so proud and happy. I feel that my father and his business now have the visibility they deserve. There are so many people who call themselves an “artist” in this field, but my dad has never bragged about his skill, and that is precisely what makes him a great artist.
But let’s go back to my meeting with Terri. I explained to her the realization process of the product and then I accompanied her to the cashier. We exchanged our contacts. She told me she was interested into a collaboration with my dad. I was immediately excited. There had been empathy among us, and that made our meeting even more special.
I also have my role in this collaboration. I am the linguistic and technological link between my father and Uno Alla Volta. I curate the contacts with the company via email, I make photos and videos, and I organize the shipments with my father. Also, I am often consulted by him for the new projects and new commissions requested by Terri. I try to give a touch of modernity to my father’s traditional taste. Together, we are able to create the right products for Uno Alla Volta’s customers. Once the design is done, Dad must decide the colors. His knowledge about the wood timbers is very deep thanks to years of experience. When I don’t like a color I tell him, but he always has the last word.
That morning, I would not have imagined that new opportunities would be presented to my father and also to me. It was a casual encounter between Terri and me which has certainly brought satisfaction and positivity to my father’s business. What more can I say? Fate has given us a nice gift, and we are happy to be a part of this big family called Uno Alla Volta.
Our artisan Antonino and his daughter, Marianna
Shop all of Antonino’s intarsia artwork here!