Concalma is an amazing company that I recently became aware of that creates super fabulous totes, clutches, and messenger bags. While the term “tote” may leave you wondering why I’m dedicating an entire post to a company that produces such a common product, you’ll have to trust me that Concalma and the toes they produce are anything but common!
To begin, Concalma is the brainchild of Matilsha Marxuach, who wished to create a functionally stylish bag by using local resources and reused products, while focusing on practicality. Her bags are each made to suit a specific purpose and it’s clear they do so well. Matilsha, whose company is based in Puerto Rico, was kind enough to allow me to do a little Q&A with her via email regarding her company, mission, and totes!
Me: What was the inspiration behind the tote designs?
Matilsha: My main inspiration was functionality as well as using local resources, reusing products, maintaining practicality, and last but not least maintaining style.
Me: Explain the setup of the women's industrial co-op that manufactures the totes.
Matilsha: The women’s co-op where Concalma manufactures its handbags is an industrial factory that opened when a group of women got together after losing their jobs when 2 apparel factories they worked in closed. We believe in seeking ways to remain self-sufficient as well as creating local jobs.
Me: How do you decide which fabric/strap combinations to produce?
Matilsha: I dream about them; I write about the combos; I think about them; and I take risks. This is my passion and it is my job as a designer. I may be inspired by a color or a pattern and play with juxtaposing it with another color to see what happens. I also get inspiration from nature during daily treks—the color of the ocean next to the different colors of the sand; the freeway as a clash of black and yellow.
Me: How often do the fabric/strap combinations remain available before you switch to another combination?
Matilsha: We do monthly collections and we never produce more than 25 of the same style and fabric/strap combination.
Me: Which fabric/strap combination has been your absolute favorite since you began designing them in 2005?
Matilsha: We began prototyping in 2005, then industrially manufacturing in 2006. I love so many of the bags past and present. At the moment I am using a Swiss Gold Dots Diario style with a Gold/Navy Gold strap. I really dig the Gold/Navy Gold combo, it goes great with blue and/or red.
I also love red and blue combos, I feel they are very classic. There is also one right now that has classic canvas color stripes with a navy/aqua strap that is fun! I really like combinations that have grey in them, whether in the strap or the fabric.
One that is particularly close to my heart is our Pac Man Collection, which has the yellow/royal blue yellow combo.
But I have to say, my all-time favorite is a white with pink lilies fabric with a royal yellow strap.
Prices range from $40-$60 from what I can see.
Where to Buy
Bags can be purchased on Concalma’s website at www.shopconcalma.com
These bags are fabulous, the company is fabulous, and Concalma owner, Matilsha Marxuach, is fabulous!I purchased one through their sale on Fab.com and I'm anxious to see what they put out in October! I'm a big fan of modern colors like black and white, gray, or blue. We'll see!
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