Byline: Luisa Zargani

RIMINI, Italy — Emanuela and Sandro Montini are a perfect example of how to create a business that revolves around one’s personal life, instead of vice-versa.
“We married young and immediately had a baby. At the time, I worked in a bank, and it was too painful for me to leave the child at home, so I decided to invent a job for myself at home,” said Emanuela Montini, who converted her longtime passion for accessories into a business.
She is the creative mind behind the Rosamunda label, while her husband, Sandro, runs the business side of the company they founded 12 years ago.
What started as a part-time job gradually became a business that has registered consistent 30 percent growth every year. The Rosamunda label was born with fashion jewelry, and over the years the Montinis added handbags, gloves, hats, footwear and some knits.
Emanuela Montini chose the name Rosamunda for the line because it reminded her of her grandmother’s era.
“It is a traditional, old-fashioned, Italian name,” said Montini, proudly pointing out that the artisanal collections are entirely handmade in Italy.
Accessories have been a lifelong passion for her, and she enjoys mixing and matching materials and colors.
“I recall at the age of seven playing with beads and making bracelets and necklaces,” she said.
For Montini, beads, which have become very popular recently, are still a must for the summer. Combining glass, beads and string, Montini created colorful, ethnic custom jewelry and wallet-size bags. Other bags are deconstructed, rounded designs made of colorful crocheted pvc or a dyed, tubular fishing thread. The summer collection was inspired by the Fifties.
For next winter, the designer said she would show brooches inspired by an early 20th-century American Liberty style.
“It will have a modern touch, but I like the idea of daisies and birds in jewelry — a sort of classic revisited,” she said. Other jewelry will be made with Swarovski stones, wool threads or bright, shiny pearls.
Montini believes the luxury trend will continue, stronger than ever, for next winter. But, she pointed out, “I don’t use furs, however trendy they may be. I convey the idea of luxury with alternative materials such as thick mohair wool, a blend of cashmere and silk or chenille.”
For summer, Montini showed crocheted raffia baskets with colorful cotton bands on the sides and has reworked the theme for winter.
“For this collection, the baskets have stripes made of thick, woven rug wool on the sides,” said Montini. Other bags are made with velvet ribbons, passementerie mixed with chenille or raffia with stretch Lycra spandex.
“I love accessories because I feel I can experiment and try out as much as I want,” she said.
For winter, the palette features soft hues, such as azure, lilac or pink combined with beige, brown or cream.
The line is available here at 10 Corso Como and Marisa, among other high-end apparel boutiques. The Montinis sell to only a few specialty stores.
In the U.S., Rosamunda is available at Neiman Marcus, Barneys New York, Saks Fifth Avenue and such boutiques as Bluebag in New York and Avantgarde in Beverly Hills. Bags wholesale at around $48 (converted from lire at current exchange rates) and fashion jewelry ranges from $16 to $70. The U.S. accounts for 10 percent of sales, but the Montinis are focused on the U.S. and are looking for a distributor to boost sales in that market.
Rosamunda is exported to the Far East, and Japan, in particular, is a strong market for the line, accounting for 25 percent of sales.
Sandro Montini reported company sales in 1999 of $1.6 million, and while he would not project a specific volume, he said sales were on track to achieve the 30 percent gain that has been typical throughout the company’s history.
“We like to do things gradually and follow production carefully in order to meet our customers’ needs. We don’t want to break our promises,” said Montini, adding that in 1999, the company added Spain as a new market.
“I like to think that I live the life I’ve chosen — working serenely in the country, with my husband and my two children,” Emanuela Montini. “I work better this way. When I’m nervous, I get a mental block.”