There are lots of reasons why I love living in Colombia, but one of the main ones is that there is so much entrepreneurial energy here you can feel it.
I meet entrepreneurs, designers and artisans all the time. It gets my blood going and pushes me to do more, give more and imagine more.
One such entrepreneur is Maria Paula Herrera and her new line of exotic leather handbags and accessories will make you want to drop everything you're doing and get your credit card (but wait, we have a special discount code!!).
Who are we kidding. You have that baby memorized!
MAPA Collective is her new line and the sexy and colorful handbags are intricately handmade here in the leather district of Bogotá, Colombia.
I love meeting other women entrepreneurs, especially if they are working in Colombia or with Colombian artisans, and just had to learn more about what inspired her to start MAPA. If you haven't already scrambled over to her newly launched site, you can hear a bit more about Maria Paula and MAPA below (MAria PAula...MAPA...get it?!):
Tell us a bit about MAPA Collective, what inspired you to start the company?
MAPA Collective is a fusion of many of the things I love: Colombia, travel, creativity and accessories to name a few. After business school, I knew I wanted to build a career for myself that blended all of these things. Exotic leather handbags handmade in my native Colombia seemed like the best, and most beautiful, way to start!
What inspires you to create these designs? Do you have a design/art background?
A lot of the inspiration comes from the material itself – each piece of exotic leather is unique and is cut and sewn to highlight its best features. I design bags that can seamlessly transition from an informal daytime look to a formal evening event, and will become timeless staples in a woman’s wardrobe. Although I don’t have a technical design background, I have a great team that is able to turn my sketches into beautiful works of art.
Who makes your bags?
All MAPA bags are handmade in Colombia by artisans that are highly specialized in the art that is exotic leather craftsmanship. Interacting with the workers may be my favorite part of the business – their skill, love and pride for their craft is beyond inspiring.
Why Bogota? Why Colombia?
I view the decision to manufacture in Colombia, one of the largest producers of caiman crocodile skins in the world, as a win/win situation. It is the best opportunity to support Colombian jobs while producing the highest quality handbags possible for our customers.
Lastly, you’re clearly a jet setter! What things can you not leave home without?
I find myself on airplanes more often than not! I have chapstick and a lara bar in just about every bag I own. My husband recently gifted me noise-canceling headphones for all my flights and they’ve become a key accessory!
Thanks so much Paula for sharing your story AND for giving our Colombia-loving followers an AMAZING 15% off discount. Enter AZULINALOVE at checkout and you can get 15% off anything at the MAPA Collective store.
Have a wonderful day!
Founder, Azulina Ceramics