Give the gift of Italian leather this year

Give the gift of Italian leather this year.

Bosca Accessories, a locally based leather goods company, will host its annual holiday sample sale on the second floor of the North Market.

From Nov. 16 to 24, shop men's and women's wallets, desk accessories and briefcases discounted anywhere from 50 to 75 percent off.

We talked with Chris Bosca, CEO, and his wife Courtney, who manages the annual sale, about the company's history and design philosophy.

-Taylor Starek, @rogerstaylorj

Tell us about Bosca's history.

Chris: It was founded in 1911 by my grandfather Hugo Bosca. He was a young guy who had come over from Italy. He was trained in the leather arts, so he had found work in Boston, where there was a base to a big bookbinding industry. There were these guys there from Springfield, Ohio, who had some success in the furniture business, and they wanted to start another company making women's handbags. They needed someone like my grandfather, and he came out to Ohio and was their operation partner during the '30s, and then those guys needed to get out, so he took over, and it's been in our family ever since.

How is the company different three generations later?

Chris: It's changed many times. It started out as a women's handbag company. They did production in the old Italian style, with hand tooling on the exterior, and they were laced together with leather lace. Through the WWII years, they survived by making products for the military, like flight bags and map cases. And afterward, because they were sort of in the big case business, they did salesman cases and portfolios, and they had a line of business accessories. In the '50s they got into men's small leather goods, and in the '60s they got into women's small leather goods. In the '70s and '80s we started doing production back in Italy. So we did a lot of small leather goods production over there. Then we added in desk accessories and other stationery items. We do a lot of brief bags and business cases and carry-on kind of luggage and other travel accessories and desk accessories. We do have a couple of jackets. We don't have a cold-weather line this year, but we have in the past.

Describe Bosca's commitment to quality and functionality.

Chris: We like to say it's Italian design with American functionality and ingenuity. The Italians are incredibly creative people. The design culture and the artistic professions are really valued there, but they're not as big on the function of things. Europeans use things differently. We really have a lot of features that are designed for the way we work and carry things. There are places for cell phone and ear buds, and we have really long end pockets for nice pens so they don't damage things in the bag. And also the engineering on our products is tried and true and tested. It's really made to wear in. Our leathers are very good leathers, and often times they get better and better with age. When people return things, a lot of them want their product repaired not replaced. Sometimes we can help them, but sometimes we have to tell them no.

And your products are designed here in Columbus?

Courtney: The design center in Columbus is very relaxed, and it's very artistic. People are constantly throwing around ideas. In the middle of the day, someone will pick up a guitar, and it will remind them of a leather they saw in Italy, and they'll start creating a product right there. It's just a very creative place.