Apr 082008

Traveling around Europe in a cute little car sounds like a lot of fun, but for American entrepreneurs Keli DeRitis and Michelle Codd, every minute on the winding back roads of Italy and France is spent searching for artisan-crafted products to satisfy the savvy customers who visit www.poggibonsigifts.com. The U.S. dollar is keeping their customers at home at the computer, and business is good for this company that brings Europe to America’s door.

Traveling around Europe in a cute little car sounds like a lot of fun, but for American entrepreneurs Keli DeRitis and Michelle Codd, every minute on the winding back roads of Italy and France is spent searching for artisan-crafted products to satisfy the savvy customers who visit www.poggibonsigifts.com. The U.S. dollar is keeping their customers at home at the computer, and business is good for this company that brings Europe to America’s door.

Now with a revamped website and a new blog, DeRitis and Codd are sharing their enthusiasm for unique French and Italian home products and jewelry as well as communicating with their customers more effectively than ever. Poggi Bonsi, their Burien, Washington-based import company—born in 2001 from their passion for European home décor, entertaining and travel—has redesigned its website and added a blog.

The upgrade reflects Poggi Bonsi’s recently expanded merchandise cultivating a Mediterranean lifestyle, and gives customers more information that is easier and faster to navigate. For DeRitis, the most exciting part of the website’s user-friendly makeover is the new blog.

“The blog is a way for us to provide our customers detailed info on our new products, plus recipes, and tips on decorating and entertaining,” DeRitis said. “We can also share with our customers stories and photographs about our adventures in Europe searching out new products.”

Poggi Bonsi is known for its artisan-quality merchandise, including its highly sought-after beautiful Italian and French ceramics and unique Italian olive wood products. Italian olive wood is difficult to find in the United States, and Poggi Bonsi’s selection is the largest in the country. Codd and DeRitis have a knack for discovering European products that have a wide appeal and represent the charming style and superb craftsmanship of the Mediterranean. Together they travel to Europe to scout out potential products and work directly with family-run businesses, many of whom are located in remote villages, don’t attend major gift shows and don’t speak English.

“By meeting with suppliers in person and building relationships, we are able hand select traditional patterns and also design exclusive patterns no one else has,” Codd said.

While Poggi Bonsi’s early focus was on French and Italian ceramics, linens, glass, and jewelry, the company has branched out to carry merchandise that celebrates a Mediterranean lifestyle, including items for the kitchen and entertaining. Among the new products featured on the website are the brightly colored Mario Batali cast-iron cookware, whimsical kitchenware designed by French toymaker Pylones and color-rich linens from the popular Le Jacquard Francais looms.

Poggi Bonsi ships online orders across the United States and internationally from its Burien warehouse. The company has two retail stores located less than a block apart in the Olde Burien shopping district. At Poggi Bonsi, shoppers will find the company’s imported merchandise at prices discounted from those on the website, and Poggi Bonsi Cucina is all about the kitchen.

The company’s products have recently been featured in The Seattle Times and the magazines Italian Cooking and Living, Lucky, La Cucina Italiana and Seattle Metropolitan. Some memorable sales include sending a wedding present to actress Glenn Close and a Christmas gift to chef Mario Batali, as well as helping actor Kelsey Grammer’s decorator choose linens and accessories for his new home.

Located just minutes from downtown Seattle…Burien’s proximity to Sea-Tac International Airport makes Poggi Bonsi an ideal shopping diversion for relatives or friends traveling through the airport. The city borders on the airport’s western edge.

Poggi Bonsi’s website can be found online at www.poggibonsigifts.com and the blog is at www.poggibonsigifts.com/blog . The company’s two retail outlets are located in the Olde Burien shopping district of Burien: Poggi Bonsi, 901 S.W. 152nd St., 206-242-9121, and Poggi Bonsi Cucina, 907 S.W. 152nd St., 206-859-6401. “Sip, shop and stroll” in Olde Burien’s boutiques and eateries—two blocks of small-town atmosphere with big-city choices. Hours: Sunday noon-4 p.m.; Monday noon-5 p.m.; Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; and Thursday and Saturday 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. (the stores open earlier Thursday for Burien Farmers Market shoppers).

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About Keli Sim DeRitis

Keli Sim DeRitis is an artist, designer, passionate cook, teacher, and tour guide. Keli founded Poggi Bonsi in 2001 to share her love of European travel, food, wine, and culture. Connect with me on Google+


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