The Minis: Allison Hoeltzel, Owner of Officina del Poggio - Bologna
Hi Allison! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m originally from Texas, and went to college in Indiana to study music. I then returned to Texas for graduate school and landed in Italy almost 17 years ago for an internship at the Bologna Opera House. That's when I started working in fashion, which has always been a passion of mine, and have been there ever since! I still live in Bologna, Italy with my husband and two dogs.
How what led you to begin ODP?
I was working for other brands in design and development and felt it was time to launch something on my own. I have such a great network of suppliers and contacts here in Italy that I have worked with for so long, and they have been so supportive in the launch of ODP. From a design perspective, I've always looked to saddlery and motorcycles for inspiration in my handbag shapes and constructions. One of my signature bags - The Mini Safari - however was actually inspired by binocular cases that my grandfather had from WWII. The minimal design and functionality spoke to my personal approach and visual philosophy for ODP.
Why are you passionate about what you do?
I love spending time in the factories and tanneries working directly with the artisans. They have such a passion for their work so it was easily transmitted to me, especially given that I learned this craft very hands-on with them. I actually wrote about this collaborative process and the level of craftsmanship at these factories in my website.
What are some of your favorite places in Bologna?
I love the neighborhood I used to live in, near Piazza San Martino in the university area. I lived there for almost 12 years, and it was like a little village inside of Bologna. There are great bars and coffee shops, and the little streets inside the historic Jewish Quarter are so quaint. I also love to meet friends for an aperitivo in Piazza Santo Stefano or Piazza Minghetti, two of the most beautiful squares in Bologna.