This article was contributed by a friend who visited Florence.
This is my friend Simone. Last year I rented an apartment in Florence for one month. I would see Simone almost daily. He owns two leather shops – (about to be three) one on the square opposite of the apartment I rented and the other in a building on Via dei Neri.
Simone became one of the people I “collected” along the way. I bought a bag from him and that opened up a friendship and an entire discussion about his life and his business.
He is a true success story. He is originally from Lebanon but moved to Italy quite a while ago. He started working in the leather industry in Northern Italy and then moved down to Florence. He worked for an Italian man and then bought the business from him.
He told me all (or maybe just most) the secrets to the leather business in Italy. He told me why the Italian leather is one of the best in the world….no barbed wire fences so the animals don’t rub against anything that would scar the cowhide. He showed me the difference in the quality of the leathers and why they are priced differently.
He advised me on how much I should be paying for the leather. He told me about the rules and taxes and where the manufacturer is and the storage places under the city. It’s all pretty fascinating. He is a genius with math and knows all his numbers…cost, revenue, rent, taxes, etc. Exactly how much he needs to sell daily and per month during the high vs low tourist seasons.
Marcus Lemonis would be very proud. Simone is quite an impressive businessman. He even created his own label/brand and a website to sell his merchandise online. Simone Leather. You can follow him on Instagram @simone.leather or check out his website at www.simoneleather.com.
He told me all about his dreams of owning a business and a home and starting a family. Which he has made come true. He is 34, married with a beautiful little son and one on the way. Shhhhhh. They haven’t told many people yet but I’m very excited for them!
He bought his first home two years ago and a new car in January. I just love when people set a goal, focus on it, and achieve it. Simone is truly a kind and gentle soul. And the most special part of our reunion was when I went to see him two days ago and I walked up to say hello, he immediately recognized me after 10 months of no communication and he gave me a huge hug. I was really touched.
Today, I took another friend Sabine to see him because she wanted to buy a purse. He gave me a big hug as soon as I saw him and a friends and family discount for her. It’s such a nice feeling when you are in a foreign place but you find a little sense of community.
Thank you, Simone. PS. Fun surprise for me…when I saw him two days ago he gave me a gorgeous yellow bag (that I’m in love with!) as a gift for remembering him and stopping by to say hello.
The world is full of really good people if you keep an open mind. So if you are ever in Florence, stop by and visit Simone. His shop is across the street from Zara at Piazza della Repubblica Stand N. 1.
Looking for More Information About Florence?
- The Best Things to do in Florence
- Where to Stay in Florence -A Neighborhood Guide
- How to do Florence on a Budget
- How to Find the Best Food in Florence
- The Best Gelato in Florence
- Florence Museum Guide
- Florence with Kids
- The Best Leather Shop in Florence
- The Best Day Trips from Florence
- How to Plan a Photoshoot in Florence