Monica Velletri is Sicilian from Palermo; she always had a strong interest for whatever is creative. In 2014, when she was 28 years old, she moved to France and in that period, she developed her passion for needlework and handcraft. Once she moved back to her land, she founded her brand Pezze di Sicilia. Sicilian Secrets interviewed her.
Q: Pezze di Sicilia is an original name. How did you choose it? How did the project come about?
A: Pezze di Sicilia was born to fill a void, that void that only a Sicilian who had to leave their hometown can understand. Specifically, the idea behind this brand (click here to open her Facebook page!) came about from the absence, the distance from my friends and all beloved people that over the years left their land. So, I created some Sicily-shaped pillows and gifted them to my friends. This was the beginning: they really liked the idea, so I was pushed to design something else. Consequently, I made some purses, keychains, necklaces, toys, etc.
Q: What’s the story you want to tell through your artisanal works?
A: Through my products I tell the story of every Sicilian who moves elsewhere. Pezze di Sicilia perfectly plunges into a reality that unfortunately exists, in other words migration out of our island.
Q: How do you create a product by Pezze di Sicilia?
A: Each creation has its own life. Since they are made to order, they are always different for each person. I try to understand the needs of the client, sometimes they tell me their stories, and say who is the person that will receive that present.
Q: How do you express your being Sicilian through your work?
A: I can say that I fully express my ‘sicilianity’ through my work, it represents and characterizes my personality. From the shape to the fabrics and the design, we do everything collaborating with some professional illustrators. Each cloth is created for my brand and shows my idea of Sicily, that is not so traditional.
Q: What’s your bond with Sicily?
A: Now we have a fantastic and happy relationship that makes me proud. I had to go away to appreciate it, and now I’m glad to live here and praise it.
Q: Who’s your ideal customer?
A: Every Sicilian who is far from home and misses it. But not only, because many Sicilians who live here buy my products for themselves. The best thing is to see how my creations are appreciated even by non-Sicilians, some people who came here on holiday and fell in love.
D: What’s the creation you love the most?
A: All Pezze di Sicilia are a part of me, so I love them all. But there’s a creation that I will never forget. It’s a little carousel I made for the daughter of a dear friend. It was a prototype and I’m happy that she has it in her room.
Q: What’s the result that makes you very proud?
A: I think that I have already reached a very important result: admiration, respect and approval from other people. When someone says that thanks to my ‘pezze’ I’ve been able to convey a message or an emotion, I understand that I did well. This is my greatest success, even if it’s clear that there are many other goals that I still have to reach. But this is a good start.
Q: What are Monica’s ambitions for the future?
A: My main ambition is to grow up more and more both as a brand and as a designer. I want to allow people all around the world to discover my island, to make them fall in love with its colors, its unique shape and more. And one day, who knows, I’d like to be able to create some job opportunities for other people, here in Sicily…of course!