"Behind the Brand" is our column where you get exclusive behind-the-scenes access to our partner brands and learn more about the people that make our products. Today, we meet Ana from Maria Maleta.

Hi! First off, introductions are in order: What is your name and what is your role at Maria Maleta?

My name is Ana Soares Neto and I'm one of the two co-founders of Maria Maleta.

What is the story behind Maria Maleta? When did it start and what was the inspiration behind it?

We created the brand on September 2013. But the “business” only started in mid-2014. The brand was created in Porto, the beautiful city we still live in. We chose "Maria" because it's the oldest typical female name of Portugal. "Maleta" because it's a fun way to say bag and our desire was to create a funny and not boring brand. The brand was created by two best friends. The relationship between us started in the 90's. So, our friendship (we have such different personalities) and everything about being a true friend, our life experience, all the bad and good things that have happened to us, and the serendipity are our inspiration. We also feel inspired by the this century's women. The evolution and determination of today’s women is overwhelming. Love, independence, kindness, the multi-tasking skills are “things” that everyone should feel inspired about. Friendship, versatility and the beauty in the simple things are our main inspiration.

What are the values that drive the brand?

Friendship, honesty, transparency and be original. If it is possible, always with fun and humor.

Which image do you personally feel really represents what Maria Maleta is all about?

What are the distinctive features of the brand’s products?

The design, the versatility and the story behind the product. Maria/Maleta bags are special because they are a consequence of a true friendship. Each bag has a little bit of us. The concept “One woman, one bag- two sides to choose” is basically what me and Daniela are, one bag with two personalities. Furthermore, these bags are made with a lot of dedication, love and only with good raw materials. These bags are for carrying a history through life. We want a bag for life and not a trendy bag.

How does the creative process for the products carry out?

We create together. We discuss our ideas, thoughts and desires. Most of the time we disagree a lot, so we have to do it all over again until we have the same vision and concept. The part that we enjoy most is brainstorming about new products and all the ideas that come from it. The part that we enjoy least is the first prototype. It's never what we expected.

What are the distinctive features of the brand’s products?

The design, the versatility and the story behind the product. Maria/Maleta bags are special because they are a consequence of a true friendship. Each bag has a little bit of us. The concept “One woman, one bag- two sides to choose” is basically what me and Daniela are, one bag with two personalities. Furthermore, these bags are made with a lot of dedication, love and only with good raw materials. These bags are for carrying a history through life. We want a bag for life and not a trendy bag.

How does the creative process for the products carry out?

We create together. We discuss our ideas, thoughts and desires. Most of the time we disagree a lot, so we have to do it all over again until we have the same vision and concept. The part that we enjoy most is brainstorming about new products and all the ideas that come from it. The part that we enjoy least is the first prototype. It's never what we expected.

Personally, what is your day like working at Maria Maleta?

Everyday is a new challenge. As we are only two people in the office, we perform many different tasks. We really enjoy doing what we do, but as we are the owners we have responsibilities and concerns in being our own bosses. The best part about working with your best friend is when you have a bad day, she is there for you with a stupid joke that will make smile.

Is there a specific product or piece that has proved iconic for the brand?

We believe the BackPack model is an Icon to our brand.

I know one shouldn’t pick favorites but… what is your personal favorite piece from your current collection?

I love every model (of course), but i have a special crush for the Minibucket Model, so i pick Minibucket Gentle.

How has The Feeting Room played into the brand's growth?

The Feeting Room is our oldest partner. We have a very special relationship and we really appreciate the sensitivity of this project. They help us grow in Portugal and they are always available to hear any ideas from us. We love the staff, the collections, and the store environment. More than just a business relationship, we became very close friends. As I mentioned before, friendship is very important to us and can make life more beautiful, fun and easy.


Maria Maleta is available at The Feeting Room stores and online.

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