100% Made in Italy
Luca's Boutique, Boutique, Sioux Falls, SD
Luca's Boutique, Boutique, Sioux Falls, SD Cart 0

Go Shopping in Italy…at 8th & Railroad Center

By Mary Michaels

When you step into Luca’s Boutique at 8th & Railroad Center you almost feel as if you’ve been transported to Italy.

Store owner Luca Papini was born in southern Tuscany. His great-grandfather was an Italian ambassador to Japan, his grandmother worked for Christian Dior in Italy during the 1960s and 70s, and his uncle was a partner of one of the biggest Italian cashmere companies and now has his own cashmere production company.

 “I have been exposed to incredible people, places and situations,” says Papini.

Papini came to the United States nine years ago but remains closely connected with his home country, and he draws inspiration from Italian scenery, art, food and culture. Opening his own business had been a dream for quite some time, and it was his friendship with designer Fabrizio Giusti that brought it to life.

 “We have a great friendship,” says Papini, “and we both believe that beautiful things happen when ideas meet reality and when people meet people. There is a spark of magic that happens when things like life, family and beauty are at the core of who you are and what you do.”

Luca’s Boutique features leather handbags, belts and other accessories, as well as cashmere for women and men.

 While Papini manages the business in Sioux Falls, Giusti lives in Rome, Italy, where he has access to the finest materials and latest design trends. The pair created their own line of bags called Nobile Roma. When you see the shelves lined with these one-of-a-kind bags, it is like being in an art gallery. You find yourself stopping at each one, attracted by the color combinations, taking in each shape and noticing the fine intricacies that make each bag different.

Papini has a self-proclaimed love for those little details.

 “Each handbag reflects a perfect balance of timeless chic and runway ready design infused with the quality craftsmanship of Italy,” he says. “Producing these pieces is really a spiritual journey that goes beyond the sale.”

 Papini is understandably proud of his line of handbags, the quality and value of which he feels matches or exceeds other designer brands. The Nobile Roma line uses Vacchetta leather for the handles to ensure durability, so if it fades or cracks, they will replace the bag.

 “Our commitment to quality is to build things well, with the person in mind so that things stay nice and beautiful for a very long time,” says Papini. “We put a lifetime warranty on all our leather products.”

And, they are conscious about the environment, using leftover remnants of leather to create small coin purses, key chains, pencil bags and other gift items. The whimsical key chains come in every shape from a dog or cat to a penguin and platypus. There are even key chains made with mini handbags…that you can actually open and tuck something inside.

 For the leather jackets they carry at the boutique, Papini works with a small company in Italy that gets commissioned by Christian Dior and Fendi to make leather accessories. This allows them to make leather jackets in 33 different colors and, Papini says, they are “stunningly beautiful.” 

 “Because of the quality, when you buy our leather jacket, it is an investment that will last a lifetime. It is something you will love to wear, and then maybe you’ll pass it on to your kids or grandkids, and they will make memories wearing it too.”

 Papini is just as proud and passionate about their cashmere products as he is about the leather. They are the only U.S. importers of the Sqel brand, and they offer beautiful items like shawls, sweaters and dresses.

And what about men? Papini says they must come in to look at their belts.

 “I believe every man has a belt problem,” he says. “Guys buy belts every 4, 6 or 12 months, and they fall apart. And we think that it is ‘just the way it is.’ But, it doesn’t have to be. Our belts come in more than 100 styles and are meant to last 15 years or more.”

Papini likes to call himself the “belt doctor,” as he can fix belts and custom size belts. If the belt needs to be replaced for craftsmanship defects before 15 years, they will replace the belt for free - no questions asked.

 For all of the products he carries in the store, Papini looks to experienced artisans from across Italy. He used a post on the store’s Facebook page to share his philosophy:

 "When I eat a pasta, I want to know where the wheat was grown. I want to know where the eggs were laid. I wanna know from which well the water was drawn. If I don’t know this, I cannot trust the food,” he wrote. “The same is for leather. That is why when you read "Made in Italy" you don't get cheated. At Luca's Boutique we know the name and the address of the artisan in Italy that made the product.”

From the art and décor in the store to his social media pages, Papini shares his love for Italy. He uses these spaces not just to promote this products, but also to share images from Italy, foods from Italy, and you can even learn a little bit of the Italian language from his posts.

 Luca’s Boutique occasionally offers social events and mini concerts where you can sip on Pellegrino water or enjoy a glass of wine, such as the Michele Satta Bogheri Rosso – an Italian wine that is only available at their 8th & Railroad neighbor, K Restaurant.

As a side note to the wine, the son of the wine maker fashions bow ties from wood that came from the wine barrels. They come in variety of shapes, from the traditional bow to a mustache or pair of eyeglasses. Some are paired with fabric for a little extra flair.

Starting a business is certainly a challenge, says Papini, and he’s committed to doing it right.

 “It seems so often that businesses are putting out huge amounts of inventory to sell enough to stay in business,” he explains. “I feel like that creates a ‘disposable’ mentality where we use things for a very short time and then dispose of them. Sometimes I think people have lost hope to find quality things and then they are hesitant to spend money because of past experiences. Like, you see a beautiful picture of a dress in a catalog, you love the picture, you order the dress, the dress comes, but it is not what you expected.”

Papini says that is why he can’t stress quality enough.

“You can come to the boutique and see the product, feel it, talk with us about where it came from,” he says.

“And, when you leave, you will have the perfect handbag or belt or jacket that fits you and your lifestyle. You will feel confident about your investment because you know it is going to stand the test of time.”

 Papini says he is already exploring ways to expand their brand to other parts of the country.

 “My dream is to build a brand that was originated in Sioux Falls.”

For a taste of Italy’s finest leather, cashmere, and other accessories, be sure to visit Luca’s Boutique.


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