Made in Tribeca: Maestrale Napoli

Raimondo del Balzo di Presenzano grew up in Switzerland but it was the cold wind whipping through the canyons of Lower Manhattan that first got him thinking about better gloves.

“I was still in finance, so I wanted nice gloves that allowed me to use my phone but still look put together and elegant,” Raimondo said. He is Italian, after all.

He started searching for fine leather gloves that had some tech adaptation on the finger tips, but all he could find were ones with a hole in the finger or what he calls the “ugly patch.” Hermes had a pair with a silver dot, but even for $1000, those only allowed you to swipe, not text. The search only made him dig in deeper, eventually landing on a technology that allows leather to be treated so the entire surface is conductive. It took two years of research, experimenting with untanned and treated leather, till they hit the right formula.

That’s when Maestrale was born.

Then he drew on his Italian roots and went to the ultimate source when it comes to leather: the artisans who work out of Naples, the capital of men’s wear in Italy. Even for him, the relationship took some finessing.

“I don’t know the dialect, so I am not really one of them,” he said. (Raimondo moved here in 2018 after meeting his wife, Gloria, at a wedding in Venice. They live on Barclay with their two young children.) “But as an Italian, I am more local than a foreigner.”

He started the business on Kickstarter in 2019: the goal was $10K and he reached $79K, with contributors receiving gloves for $79. The company sells direct to consumer now: $190 for the nappa sheepskin and $360 for the deerskin, which is thicker, warmer and harder to craft. All the gloves are lined with cashmere.

There’s no doubt these are a luxury product, but Raimondo didn’t want them to break the bank either, and he wanted to aim for sustainability. The craftsmen are all in Italy; the deer skin is shipped in from Ohio, where the deer are killed by mandate of the state for over-population. He keeps a warehouse near Niagara Falls so he can ship quickly within the US.

For now the gloves are only for men, but his wife, of course, has her own custom pair: dark brown nappa touchscreen leather on the palm, with shearling on the other side. Maybe someday…