A trip to visit a son who was studying abroad has led to an addition to the kernel of shops on Mission Street in San Marino: Colori.
After a long, hot day walking the streets of Venice, a necklace in a shop window caught Lori Samuels’ eye. She and her husband entered the shop and some time later she left with several gifts and a necklace for herself.
She recalls that once back in the States, every time she wore the necklace someone—without fail—would ask her where she got it.
She began to think, maybe she could import the jewelry and be the middleman for various retailers. As she looked into this option, one of her sons suggested that she sell it herself. Not only would this provide her with a new challenge, but a woman—and a mother—starting her own business would be a positive model for her daughter. Samuels embraced that idea and soon after a building came up for sale—a very advantageously situated building—right next door to the hugely popular Julienne restaurant and gourmet market in San Marino. Now it was time to get to work.
When we came into the shop on November 1st, we asked Lori how long they had been open. She looked at her watch and asked, “Do you want that in hours?” They had opened that very day and we stayed to hear her story.
Brothers Franco and Mario Giacobbi have their studio in the village of Calaizo di Cadore at the base of the Alps. They use an “exclusive digital technique to infuse sterling silver with brilliant color and patterns.” What Lori especially enjoys is that you can customize a necklace, bracelet, ring, or earrings with an original design, a favorite family photo, a picture of your pets, your child’s artwork, your favorite team’s colors or logo, and even a doodle (see example below).
In addition to jewelry, Colori offers pens and leather goods. Campo Marzio began in 1930 producing fountain pens. After WWII, Bic came out with the ballpoint pen and the company began to look in another direction. They opted for leather goods. Today, their objective is bringing fashion to the business world. Colori has seemingly endless business accessories: leather portfolios, notepad holders, business card holders, file folders, deskpads, journals, notebooks, and laptop bags—all made in sumptuous leather and in the brightest array of colors. These conveniently pair quite well with Campo Marzio’s collection of fanciful pens and stunningly beautiful fountain pens.
Colori’s white walls, intriguing lighting fixtures, glass, and skylights help the colors of the goods pop—and lure you a step closer.
For those who enjoy the craft of writing, a visit to Colori could become an addicting habit, and whether you want to liven up your work space or purchase an unique piece of jewelry—and though the cost may absorb a chunk of your next paycheck—these inventive products from family-run, Italian companies will be well worth it.
If you can’t go all in, you can start with a pen for as low as $18, and some leather goods are priced as low as $15. But just try to walk into Colori and spend less than twenty dollars; it’s a Hometown Pasadena challenge most certain to fail, and we say that with a satisfied smile.
On Wednesday, November 15th, the public is welcome to Colori’s open house from 6-8 p.m. (this is in addition to normal store hours).
Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
2639 Mission Street, San Marino
Colori-usa.com or 626.793.0554
A percentage of Colori’s gross sales will be donated to support The Help Group, serving autistic and special needs children since 1975.