Palm Beach Daily News - Published 6:35 a.m. ET March 11, 2022
For 12 generations, the Tattanelli family has been crafting fine leather goods for customers in Italy and around the world.
Four years ago, Palm Beach shoppers got their first look at the family's handiwork when Jennifer Tattanelli opened a 2,000-square-foot atelier in the former Cartier location on Worth Avenue.
Jennifer Tattanelli, at 214 Worth Ave., specializes in handmade, customized leather clothing, jackets, handbags, shoes and accessories.
A second location, at 226 Worth Ave., opened in November and focuses primarily on shoes.
That store took over the space previously occupied by Raptis Rare Books, which is moving to a new location on Worth Avenue.
"I didn't have enough room for my collection," Jennifer Tattanelli, the company's owner and creative director, said of expanding the business. "In the four years that I've been here, I've been growing and growing and growing."
Tattanelli, a part-time Palm Beach resident who operates other atelier locations in Westhampton Beach and Woodbury in New York, and Florence, Italy, is the first woman to run the family business, which dates to the 15th century.
Her ancestors crafted leather goods for the Medici family in the Republic of Florence, she said, and that work has continued to the present day.
"We've been in Italy since the 1400s," said Tattanelli, who was born in Florence and raised in Italy and the United States. "It's been many generations."
As a child, Tattanelli was surrounded by fashion, and she often watched her mother create theatrical costumes.
Though Tattanelli was passionate about fashion design and even modeled when she was young, she initially decided to pursue a career in medicine.
Tattanelli's great-grandfather, James Ewing, was a world-renowned pathologist who discovered a form of bone cancer — Ewing's sarcoma.
"I was going to go into pathology," she said. "But my father told me there was nobody to take over the business."
Tattanelli attended fashion school, and then joined Calvin Klein in New York City.
She returned home to Florence with the goal of expanding the family business.
Tattanelli opened her first U.S. store more than a decade ago and has since expanded to include two other locations. More stores are planned, she said.
"I would love to open a third location on Worth Avenue that caters to only men," she said. "Aspen (Colorado) was supposed to open in 2020, but that never happened because of COVID. We're thinking about Naples, but I'm not too sure right now."
In the meantime, Tattanelli is focusing her attention on her existing stores, particularly the new location in Palm Beach.
Shoes are the centerpiece of that store, Tattanelli said, with men's and women's collections including leather pumps, heels, sneakers and sandals.
"Shoes have become more and more prominent in my stores," Tattanelli said. "I was run over by a car 12 years ago. I had reconstruction of my legs and feet, so I could never wear normal shoes. I started working with my artisans and my orthopedics, and the shoes started becoming bigger and bigger as far as comfort.
"I didn't have enough space to accommodate the people that came in and said they weren't able to wear heels, or put on uncomfortable shoes, or had narrow feet. So I cater to all kinds of feet."
Tattanelli also caters to all kinds of body shapes.
She does a lot of bespoke work for her clients, customizing pieces to their specifications.
That part of her work, she said, brings her great joy.
"When people come into the store, one of the things that makes me happy is when they say it's been a wonderful experience," she said. "They thank me for fitting for them, no matter what body they have. I believe that my clients should not fit my creations. My creations should fit my clients. It's a very different concept from a normal store.
"With normal stores, you have seasons — spring and summer. In my store, it's just continuous. You come in and you say, 'I'd love to have this.' And I say, 'We'll do it.'"
Jodie Wagner is a USA TODAY Network of Florida journalist. You can reach her at email@example.com
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