MAJERICA is the Portuguese leather goods brand you have always dreamed of. Its handbags collection is a wish come true. It transports you to a delicate yet powerful environment, where everything and anything is possible. It gives you that strength to do that something you couldn’t dare to do, that hidden fantasy even you didn’t know you had.

Diseñadora Najjat Guerra para Not That Brand

Creator: Teresa Bettencourt

Location: Portugal

Leather bags

“Each bag, a memory”

Manjerica was born in 2012 from a dream to create a line of women's handbags with a special and appealing design. We think we have something unique that makes people connect and feel like they are wearing more than just a handbag. I have always had the desire to express myself through fashion and also to learn about management. I tend to do a little bit of both and keep evolving. It has been a very challenging path, but I am happy to have this opportunity. We are very lucky to have fantastic clients that give us very good reviews and live the brand in a very beautiful way. I am also proud to have the support of my family and friends, as well as my fantastic team. We want to continue to improve our products and design, and have a strong online presence as our main sales channel.

Our brand is from Portugal to the world, and I hope people can get to know our unique design and great tradition of leather goods expertise.



What does the name MANJERICA mean? Where does it come from? What is the main inspiration for your collection?

Actually, it’s a funny story - my dad called me and my sister manjericas when we were little. It was our loving nicknames and so even though that word doesn’t exist, it always meant something special to me. Here in Portugal, we celebrate Santos Populares, a Lisbon festivity full of joy, colour and music. During that time, it’s usual to offer a basil with a little colourful paper flag with a message to someone we love. In Portuguese, basil is Manjerico, and so one day, during the festivities I saw an outdoor with a basil, and I though, of course, this could be our name, but let’s make it more special by changing the last word to A. And that’s how the name Manjerica came to life.

What made you create this conscious brand? How is the process, bearing in mind all the leather comes from the food industry? Has this “change” in the process been easy or not at all?

Since the beginning of Manjerica, we have been careful to be as transparent as possible with our consumers. It's part of our values and the only way we think makes sense. Although our materials come from food industry waste, we have a responsibility to always try to improve. We have been following the development of new, more sustainable materials and little by little the opportunities for change are beginning to emerge. A few years ago, it was unthinkable to find alternative materials to leather other than plastic, which is not very durable and therefore not very sustainable. But now, we are starting to find companies that are following this path and are beginning to offer very interesting new products. Although it is quite a difficult adaptation because we cannot predict 100% the durability of new materials, as well as the choice of colours and textures is very limited, we believe we are on the right track. As for production, we have always produced locally, in Portugal, and all materials come from Italy, which reduces considerably the carbon footprint on transportation.

We saw this wonderful video on your website, where you presented the artisans in charge of the creation of the bags. Who are they? Please tell us more about all the people involved in Manjerica.

We’ve been working with Sr. Verdasca and his family since the beginning. When he was very young, Sr. Verdasca immigrated to Paris and start working with great brands very well known for their leather work, like Dior. After being there for several years, and gaining a lot of experience, he returned to Portugal and started his own factory with his family. They all work there and are devoted on creating beautiful pieces of art.

What role do the Azores Islands play in the inspiration for the collection?

They have enormous importance because that is where I was born and spent a large part of my life. Besides being a beautiful place, that's where I really connected with Nature. Somehow, living on an island, there is a feeling of loneliness, but in a good way. I mean, it almost feels like we are separated from the world living our lives at a slow pace, but at the same time, very connected to Nature and to the community. The memories I created have shaped me for the rest of my life, and so every detail, whether it's a tree in my garden, or a vintage piece of clothing from my mother, ends up influencing me greatly. I try to transform those memories and feelings into the bags, through colour and organic shapes. I also love to honour the women in my life by naming the bags after them and add their personalities to the design of the manjericas.

What does art mean to you? What role does it play in your collection?

Ever since I was young, I have felt the urge to express myself, whether through writing, music, or painting. I am passionate about oil painting and writing poetry, so this also ends up being reflected in the bags. We try to create an object that has function but is as close as possible to art, whether in the use of colour in its combinations, or in the form, such as the strap of the Lídia bag.

What is the next step towards sustainability of the brand? And regarding the products?

We want to continue to invest in local production and in the supply of materials within the European Union, mainly Italy, that complies with EU regulation. We are very focused on managing the least waste of materials and stock, so that in addition to maintaining exclusivity, we don't produce to be left over. We are also studying and testing new sustainable materials that can replace leather.

How do you see the Fashion Industry in the near future? How much you believe fashion will change in the next 5 to 10 years? Or not at all?

I believe that as consumers have more access to information and brands become more transparent, the fashion industry will change to something more sustainable and fairer. It still strikes me how many brands don’t even disclaim where the product was made or where the materials come from, but I hope that slow fashion and responsible production will become more and more common, and that people will value quality over quantity. I am also very happy that vintage and second-hand market is growing, and I hope it stays that way. Technology can bring even more advantages, but it's up to each brand to decide to be as transparent as possible so that the consumer can make a conscious purchase.



To discover the latest news from MANJERICA, follow them on:


Instagram: @manjerica



Photos courtesy of MANJERICA