Urban Meets Luxury
You know the feeling ... the rush of excitement the first time you see a handbag that draws you in. It’s the outward expression of your inner self being shown to the world. For more reasons than we can put into words, accessories make us happy. If you don’t believe me, just look around and you will see almost every woman carrying one. So how did you find that perfect one?
We first start by looking at the color, materials, price, size, etc. However, nowadays we need more than that. We need a brand that we connect with the heritage of what they represent. We want to extend our personal connection beyond the design to the actual meaning of the design. A brand that takes you on a journey and aligns with your lifestyle; that is who we want to support and what shopping is all about.
I recently was introduced to a new brand, Kalamarie Handbags, that is launching their first collection, Heritage. Two sisters, Meli (in NYC) and Kara (in London) sought out to create a brand based on the inspiration of their home country of Colombia. The name Kalamarie was created out of the love of the colonial city of Cartagena. Cartagena was previously known as Calamari and the sisters tweaked the spelling to accommodate it to fit with their initials, K&M. Kalamarie Handbags took influences from the door knockers to design the distinctive Kalamarie Handbags Trademark Gecko. They fused all their innovative creativity with the experience of living in the west to curate their handbags.
I got a chance to interview the owners and learn more about their stunning designs and luxurious exotic leathers.
CVLUX: How did you decide to start this business?
KM: As sisters, we are very close and had each gone through the experience of leaving the loving family home and our country, to set up lives overseas. One day, we were both in NYC, having lunch in a roof-top restaurant after attending a sewing and crafts course together. We were full of ideas. We started talking about home and we soon identified we both wanted to create something that would speak highly of Colombia. We kept talking and came up with the idea of leather accessories. We even shared some design ideas. We spoke for a good few hours and then set off to get drawing pads and that was pretty much the genesis of this project. That planted the seed.
CVLUX: What has been your greatest obstacle to overcome?
KM: Finding a manufacturer that shared our values and goals, and
that we could form a meaningful partnership with.
CVLUX: What is unique about your products?
KM: We believe we are offering a top quality product, with ethically- sourced materials, at very fair prices. Crocodile is a material that will last a lifetime. It is an investment and we believe we offer the best possible rate for that investment, along with beautiful, timeless design and functionality. From a design point of view, we offer the fusion of two worlds in our designs—beautifully handcrafted materials are made urban, but classic and sophisticated, all at the same time.
We are an emerging brand of luxury goods, but more than anything, we are a family business; we want to deliver our customer the best personal experience. We come from a culture where the line between business and pleasure is blurred because there is kindness and warmth in making business. We want people to feel happy not just that they have bought a new handbag, but that they bought a Kalamarie.
CVLUX: What materials do you use?
KM: We use Colombian leather, Colombian crocodile, both vegetable tanned, as well as Colombian calf leather and Italian gold-plated hardware. We do an all-croc range, made to order, in which only croc is used in the exterior, and calf leather in the lining.
CVLUX: What is the style of Kalamarie Handbags?
KM: Urban street style: a fusion of influences and needs reflected in the look of the Kalamarie woman. She is the woman that needs a handbag to think for her and to be tough, pretty and functional, but also a woman who cares about what she buys, one that searches the emerging brand, the different look and that something special. The Kalamarie woman is an everyday woman who is very much her own person, and distinct from the masses.
CVLUX: What is one thing you would like customers to know about you?
KM: We care. We do this because we love it and we want you to love it too.
CVLUX: What is your philosophy of life?
KM: Be alive! In every sense and sensorial way. The complex beauty of life is only truly appreciated with all senses open to the feeling. Even if the feeling is pain, be alive to it. In time, you will find even pain is beautiful in its own way.
Photographer: Fabio Gómez
Styling: Camilo de la Serna, Melisa Garcia
FashionProduction: Katerina Kokkinaki
Make-up: Linda Londoño
Hair: Sara Londoño
Graphic Design: Nicolas Londoño