Claudio Albieri, leather smoking accessories
Our interview with Mr Claudio Albieri:
All my products are born in my dreams. I'm not a designer, I'm a dreamer! Come to dream with me.Claudio Albieri
My grandfather was a shoemaker, but unfortunately I never met him, he passed one day before I born. In any case I have and use few of his tools that comes from late '20/first half of '900.
The 50% of my training is made by my cousin that now is 78 years old and for more that 60 years have been a leathercraft, better, he have been a prototyper. I learn a lot from him about the prototypeing, the old school, he did everithing by hands, no computer and me too, I'm not able to draw with a computer.
All my project born in my mind and I translate the idea in a lot of templates of cartons that I use to cut each single piece of lather that I'll need to create the first sample. I have some goods that have more than 100 different pieces...
After I learned to stitch in a workshop close to my town, this is one of the best place in my region to learn how to work in the real luxury italian way, in the past they have worked for the best italian (and also some foreign) brands .... now it is quite difficult cause a lot of important of those have moved outside of Italy a lot of work to save some money and ....believe in me, the goods are different, a lot. But, in any case the workshop is still working, obviously because it is one of the best.
The last part of the training is working everyday, this makes really better my work, every day I'm better than the past one. Last but not least is to experiment. I'm alone in producing new goods for smoking so, many times it's happen that I have to create a new way to do a step or a product or to find a new raw material.Claudio Albieri
I'm quite young in this job, I'm more or less close to 10 years in leather world. I have to let you know that from the 1998 until the 2010 I worked with my parents in their tobacco shop here in Italy, in 2001 I have been the most young cigar's expert in Italy and in 2005 I did my first step in pipe's world, I traveled a lot for the shop and I studied really so much about cigars, tobacco and pipes, but not only that, I was also an italian Somelier, an IBA bartender and Anag Tester (distilled and liquor).
Usually when I decide to do something I'll do at 110% of my possibilities. To be honest, the idea to produce some new leather goods related to pipe's and cigar's world was still born between 2005 and 2008, me and my father had the idea to ask to my cousin to produce some of our design but we never start. In 2010 after that my father sold the shop and retired from business I took the decision to start a new project and create by myself my own ideas.
The process have been really hard (and still now, not finished), this job is very difficult, I mean, close to everybody could learn it, but only few can become really high in quality and design... I hope to be able to become one of those one time.Claudio Albieri
What you prefer in your job?
Absolutely my FREEDOM, I'm totally free to do what I want. Than, I'm also slave of this freedom. What I'm meaning? It is really easy: in same time I CAN NOT do what I want, cause I have to sell! So, what's happen? That often when I have a new idea, I do the prototype (maybe in my best colors), I test it and when I start to propose it to the customers, I realize that it is too strange, too smart in colors and the 70% of times it is misunderstood. Now I'm getting a little bit older and I start to not forget that I'm speaking with pipe's smoker or cigar's smoker and not with the people of the fashion week of Milano or Firenze.
In any case, slower than few years ago, but I'm still searching to change the smokers, I really would like that they understand that a pipe's bag, could be clever, could be smart, could be customized, could be done for a daily use and could be thought and done not only to care just pipes and related items but also a lot of other stuff like laptop, pen, mobile, glasses, notes, wallet, documents, etc etc etc.Claudio Albieri
How long does it make a tobacco pouch...?
This is a good question! It depend! If you had asked this question to me 3 years ago ( when I did start to do it) I would have answered you: one day.
But now, now I can do 7 for sure, maybe 10 in one day and that is what I call training.
Another difficult thing is to find a good balancing with prices when you start to produce a new goods, you can't ask a price related to the time you need to produce when you start, you have to think about the time you'll need after your own training, when you'll be faster. All that has to marry the leather cost (that every year increases), the other hardwere (press stud), the rubber to line the tobacco pocket and the value of your work, of your design, of your time... of your experience.Claudio Albieri
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