That gleaming gold metal circle handle… The buttery soft vegan leather… The strong and functional geometric structure…
These lovely handbags I’m describing have been seen all over Houston, on the arms of influencers, and at many a local market. Self-taught designer Maria Cadena moved to Houston from Ecuador just four years ago, and has already gained a good amount of traction in the local handbag market.
Maria learned sewing from her mother when she about about twelve. Her family also owned a handbag store, so that’s also where she hoaned her skills. When she was older, her mother and she discussed starting their own handbag line. They started out by doing simple silhouettes, such as an envelope handbag with a crossbody chain. A few months later, they further developed more designs, while also constantly learning the business. The business continued to grow, and they found themselves selling wholesale, and hiring on people to help make the handbags in order to meet the numbers.
Maria felt that the transition to Houston was somewhat tough, as she was starting over from scratch, and by herself. But she quickly learned to adjust, and decided to create her own brand, which she named Ceibo (pronounced say-bo). The inspiration for the name went back to her Ecuadorian roots- the Ceibo Tree. “I grew up seeing the tree, so I wanted to have something that reminded me of home.” (For a peek of a Ceibo tree, go HERE.)
Ceibo launched in November 2016, and consists of just Maria. She loves being able to do everything by herself, as she missed that while running the business in Ecuador. She enjoys the slower pace, and having a more personal and hands-on approach to the craftsmanship of the bags. When designing handbags, she believes that less is more, when it comes to interior pockets. Her bags only consist of one zipped pocket, or a removable pocket that can also be used as a coin purse. She also likes to create bags that aren’t so big, because we women tend to carry a little more than what is usually needed, and it only adds as extra weight on our bodies. “I make myself carry the things that I know I’m going to use,” Maria added.
Along with her signature structured, geometric handbags with the gold ring handles, she also offers small accessories. I’m also a fan of her belt bags. “It’s a small accessory that you can carry all day!” Oh, and she now carries handbags with zig-zag handles- the coolest thing EVER! I love that you can also get her bags in every color. She also appreciates experimenting with color-blocking, and it’s usually spot on.
Oh, and REALLY great news… Ceibo is launching a collaboration with my fave Houston skincare brand- Rosehip Essentials this month! Stay tuned! In the meantime, here is a sneak peek…
Aside from shopping Ceibo online, you can find her locally at Collectivo, LAUNCH, Thinking Boutique, and Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. You can also find her at many of the local markets that take place throughout the city. Be sure to follow her on Facebook and Instagram for updates!