It started with a seedling of idea, which grew into a sturdy goal, and has now finally come to fruition. Hayley and Nigel Xerri are proud to introduce their high-end leather goods company, Moranzani.
We speak to Hayley about the birth of Moranzani, and what we can expect from this luxury brand going forward.
What was the catalyst for Moranzani’s conception?
It was initially all Nigel’s idea! I used to own Miss Muck, the bikini company, and that was really good in terms of learning how to run a business on a much smaller scale. We then both decided we wanted to work on something a lot bigger together.
Nigel is a civil engineer, so he has an eye for detail and knows about different materials. I used to buy a lot of handbags, but the quality was just not there and it used to annoy him. But the real trigger was when we bought his mother a Louis Vuitton purse for Christmas, and within about three months the popper had come off. It really shocked us! When you’re paying that amount of money for a product, you don’t expect it to fall apart so soon. We were then charged €50 by the brand just for it to be fixed, which didn’t feel right.
We then started to look into a number of different brands, and quickly realised that a lot of the products weren’t made where you would think. For example, you would expect an Italian brand to produce their goods in Italy, but that’s not necessarily the case.
“We wanted to go all out.”
How did you both settle on the name Moranzani?
The name came to us during lockdown. We knew that we wanted the brand to have an Italian name, as all our products were going to be made there, so we hopped on Google Maps and went through all the small towns in Italy. We said each name aloud to see whether it worked as the name of our brand. Eventually we found Moranzani – we both liked it immediately.
What is your connection to Italy?
We have both always loved Italy (Nigel’s ancestors hail from Genoa), so that’s where we decided to produce Moranzani. We knew a taxi driver from Naples who we met on a cruise once, and who we had kept in contact with. It was the same taxi driver Nigel WhatsApped when he was planning to propose to me, so we felt quite close to him. We asked him for a list of tanneries and manufacturers in Italy that make leather goods, and we spent weeks sending out emails. Most of them didn’t reply… and this was pre-Covid! I think perhaps because we were a start-up, and a lot of these factories deal with established brands with lots of products.
But there was one who did respond… unfortunately due to Covid they had closed temporarily, but they promised to get back to us. And they did! They said as a result of the pandemic, the owner of the factory wanted to give back to the community and take on three start-ups – something they ordinarily wouldn’t have considered. After an interview process, we were chosen alongside a Russian company and an American one.
It seems like fate!
Yes, definitely. What’s more, the programme they used in the factory is the same one that Nigel is trained in as a civil engineer, so all the designs he produced were thankfully in the correct format! They then use these to-scale designs to measure and cut the leathers and so on.
Tell us more about the factory you’re working with.
Well, I say factory, but everything is handmade – not mass-produced nor machine-made. They sent us photos of all these older Italian artisans at work with hammers, making our bags and products. It was amazing to see.
Part of the reason it’s taken us so long to get where we are is we didn’t want to cut any corners, and wanted to make sure we use only the best materials, which this factory does.
A lot of the joy comes from the unboxing of the product.
What products can we expect to see from Moranzani?
We have designed three products so far, the first of which is our signature handbag; the Grandiosa. It features a unique v-cut design, metal ‘feet’, and monogrammed with a metal ‘M’.
The second product is our Moretti Card Wallet – named after one of my friends! It currently comes in a limited edition colour, ‘Portofino Blue’. There are only 100 in existence, and once those are sold, we won’t produce it in that colour again.
And lastly our Julius Pochette, stamped with the signature Moranzani M-motif. We have a fourth one which is being finalised, the Lucciola Shoulder Bag, which should be ready just in time for Christmas.
What makes Moranzani so special?
Our business model from day one was to come up with the most top-quality product we could. We didn’t want to opt for the cheaper leather or the cheaper hardware; we wanted to go all out.
Another thing that sets our brand apart is our packaging. We have special tags made which sit beneath a luxury bow, wrapped around our quality branded boxes. If you’re spending your hard-earned money on a bag and it arrives in a bit of bubble wrap, it doesn’t have quite the same effect! A lot of the joy comes from the unboxing of the product.
We’ve also partnered with a company called Certilogo, who partner with many of the designer brands such as Armani, Versace, and Moschino. They send labels with unique QR codes on them to our factory in Italy, which are sewn into every product that we sell. You scan the code with your phone and it will tell you it’s an authentic Moranzani product.
We have poured all our time into Moranzani – because we love it! And we think you will too.
Keep up to date with Moranzani at www.moranzani.com, and by following @moranzani on Instagram.