The thought of Italy typically conjures images of pizza, pasta and gelato.
But for a Florence local, they think of leather and Jennifer Tattanelli.
For generations, the Tattanelli family has offered handcrafted leather goods to the Italian community, but for nearly a decade Jennifer herself has taken the helm and opened shop in America with two stores in Westhampton, a Madison Avenue location and, since this past May, a Port Washington shop located at 24 Main Street.
Tattanelli, who grew up living a double life with Italian winters and Hampton summers, watched one side of her family work heavily in medicine—her great-grandfather is Dr. James Ewing—and the other side work in the leather industry. Initially torn between which passion to pursue, Tattanelli ultimately decided that she would continue the fashion legacy her elders had created.
“I went to school, I studied fashion, I worked in New York,” Tattanelli says. “I started slowly learning all of [my father’s business].”
Now, Tattanelli employs the same handweaving techniques she grew up watching her grandmother use.
“I used to sit down and watch my grandmother weave and it was just amazing to see,” she reminisced. “She weaved what is called an infinity, which is a bag that has no stitching, no thread going through; the whole bag is completely woven from the beginning to the end in a mathematical calculation.”
Having learned the value of a dollar from picking up pins in the beginning of her time working at her father’s factory, Tattanelli has an understanding of and an appreciation for every aspect of the fashion business. From packaging shipments to cleaning the floors to designing the clothes, of course, Tattanelli made it a point to know every role that anyone working for her brand is doing.
“I believe to actually be successful in your job, you have to know how to do everything. It makes me proud,” she says. “If you do it all together, we’re going to do it better, we’re going to feel like we’re a team. If my girls have to work overtime, I’m there with them.”
The designer emphasized that her team revolves around trust. Knowing and trusting the people that work for her brand and sell the product to clients inspires her to “create something that they will love to sell too.”
Along with having her collections handmade, Tattanelli also offers custom designs in the forms of both tailoring and bespoke customization where she takes a client’s concept, sketches it out and turns it into a wearable reality.
“It’s just a passion that I have to get somebody that can’t find what they want, they can’t fit in what they want, and make them smile because I was able to help them,” she mused. “I made you happy? Good, that’s what makes me happy. When I see a client that is smiling and is happy and tells me I made their day because I make them feel good about themselves, that’s what inspires me.”
With her store locations spread far and wide across Long Island and her Italian flagship store and design studio back in Florence, Tattanelli is constantly traveling back and forth between her shops to ensure everything is running smoothly and both her clients and staff are happy. Most grateful for her family who supports her every step of the way, she also relies on her team to keep the spirit of her business alive.
“My girls are really, really great. When you have a great team, you have to make it happen together. Yes, there is sacrifice, but there is also great pride in what you do,” she says.
To shop Tattanelli’s current collections, visit www.jennifertattanelli.it.