First, it was annual vacations in France. Then, for a change of pace, a summer trip to the Tuscany region of Italy. From that moment Susan Naythons was hooked.
Susan is the founder of EyeItalia, an online retailer of Italian handcrafted goods. So impressed with Italy during that summer vacation, she decided to stay for a year in 2005 and help friends renovate a villa and outfit it with everything that was needed— furniture, housewares, linens, stationery—in preparation for paying guests.
But when the year was up, Susan wasn’t quite ready to give up Italy completely. Instead, she returned to California and with the knowledge gained from her time in Italy, launched her website, EyeItalia. “That year-long experience really helped prepare me for my next venture,” says Susan. From excursions around the Tuscan countryside and beyond, she discovered many of her product lines, including Rossi fine Italian stationery.
“Rossi is one of my anchor companies,” says Susan. “It’s a wonderful product line to carry in terms of quality and design, and their customer service is second to none,” she adds. She stocks a full line of Rossi products and finds her best sellers are still the traditional Florentine patterns.
Equally important are Rossi’s customer policies. “They offer a real advantage for American retailers who import from Europe; you absolutely can’t beat the fact that they do business in dollars, not euros. They also include the freight costs so there are no surprises on the bill,” Susan states.
Encouraged by her online success, in 2010 Susan opened a brick and mortar version of EyeItalia, in Sausalito, California, just north of San Francisco. She stocks plenty of Italian fragrances and beauty items, luxury Italian linens, artisan jewelry, and a wide selection of Rossi stationery items. Now all her customers can touch and feel the Italian goodness she features on her website!
Susan’s Italian saga is still unfolding. In 2006 she purchased an abandoned farmhouse in the beautiful “comune” of Volterra (Tuscany). Badly in need of renovation, Susan has been working diligently on the house during her twice yearly treks to Italy.