• Fashion

Maria Victoria Mejia Makes Unique Minaudière Bags Made from Mother of Pearl and Shells

Maria Victoria Mejia

Maria Victoria Mejia loves to create. She designs sustainable bags made from premium shells and mother of pearl, handmade home décor, and furniture made from natural materials in the Philippines for her company, Victoria’s Craft.


In an email interview, the woman who has been winning awards for her designs told us, “Art is a passion of mine. I thoroughly enjoy engaging in arts and crafts, drawing and painting, and bringing beautiful things to life. Whether it’s working on my own projects or collaborating with my children, I find great joy in the creative process.”


Originally from Marikina City, Philippines, and now based in Bellflower, California, the mother of four started designing bags only recently, in June 2022.


She launched her unique minaudière bag collection at the Philippine Fashion and Cultural Expo in Los Angeles in October and December 2022. Then she traveled to New York to showcase her striking minaudière creations at the House of Musa fashion show. Since then, she has received numerous awards and accolades for her one-of-a-kind designs.


A Bachelor of Science degree holder in Medical Technology and a former medical representative in the Philippines, Mejia is now the founder, owner and accessory designer of Victoria’s Craft.


Although by day she is a full-time laboratory assistant at a prominent hospital, Mejia finds time for her first love which is design. “My objective is to advance the culture and traditions of the Philippines while exhibiting the skills and abilities of our fellow Filipinos,” she said. “Through Victoria’s Craft, I aim to assist my family who is based in the Philippines, and in turn, they can support other skilled artisans in the country. It’s all about families helping one another to prosper.”


Below is our interview with Mejia.

How did you get started doing this sustainable minaudière bag collection?


I started doing sustainable bags last June of 2022. At that time, I was already fond of native products so I used my talent to inspire people. Since I wanted to be unique and stand out, I worked hard on my creations. I wanted people to buy my products because they are stylish and beautiful.


Then I met a skilled Cebuano artisan who can interpret and make my nine designs for my high-end luxury clutch bag collection. It took us almost three months to complete this collection.


Victoria’s Craft Minaudière Collection makes use of different materials like premium shells, paua blue, mother of pearl, cabebe (clam shell), stainless steel and brass sheet.


Usually, it takes around three to four weeks to come up with a new product design and all of these clutches are meticulously handcrafted in the Philippines.

Maria Victoria Mejia Unique Minaudière Bags Maria Victoria Mejia Unique Minaudière Bags

Who was your inspiration for making these bags?


My greatest inspirations are my children. They are the source of my strength and the reasons for everything that I do. I want to instill in them a sense of responsibility towards their fellowmen.


Building Victoria’s Craft is like building a community of talented craftsmen. It creates jobs and livelihood for many and can be a place to showcase wonderful artistry. It’s such a great joy and a feeling of fulfillment when you know you’re helping people thrive.


The inspiration behind my high-end minaudiere collection was my daughter. I decided to give her something special that she’ll never forget for the rest of her life. I wanted to give her something unique, something that she would treasure and remember. So I designed a clutch bag specially made for her 18th birthday in the Philippines. I came up with this unique fan-shaped clutch bag handcrafted from start to finish by our talented artisan in the Philippines. I want all of my clients to feel that same sense of exclusivity and pride when they purchase my products.


Where have you showcased your sustainable minaudière bags?


Our inaugural event took place on December 20, 2021, when we participated at the Antipolo Night Market in the Philippines. We have been everywhere ever since from the Jhay Layson Fashion Show to the Metawoman show. Soon, we will also launch our collaboration with fashion designer John Ablaza.


In Los Angeles, we have participated in Sinag Lahi, the Philippine Fashion and Holiday Bazaar at EK Art Gallery and the 2023 Suzanne DeLaurentiis Gala Luncheon and Soft Product Launch Love & Karma.


We will also be part of fashion designer Alexis “Bong” Monsanto’s “The Secret Garden Collection” show this April 23rd and Bisita (“Be my Guest”), the Philippine Department of Tourism and Department of Migrant Workers event on April 22 in Los Angeles.


Who are some of the celebrities who have admired and used your bags?


Some of the celebrities who love and admire my minaudiere bags include actresses Morgan Fairchild (Falcon Crest), Madison Ekstrand (Very Frightening Tales), Maria Walker (Avatar: The Way of Water), Elizabeth Gast (Bullet), actors Alfonso Caballero (Life’s A Joke), Matt Payne (Vegas), Christopher Dukes (G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra), CNN Development Director Nicole Tsien, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Governor Jean Tsien and 2015 Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach.

Jazper Tiongson (Celebrity host and singer from the Philippines) Elizabeth Gast

What makes your bags different from other native or sustainable bags?


Our bags are crafted with such exceptional quality that they resemble jewelry pieces. At first glance, it’s difficult for people to identify them as clutch bags because they are reminiscent of stunning artwork. This unique attribute sets our bags apart from other sustainable and native bags as each one tells a distinct story and is created entirely by hand using only the finest materials.


Unlike mass-produced alternatives available elsewhere, we exclusively use custom-made materials. Moreover, all of our designs are inspired by the owner’s story, and we customize them based on the requests and requirements of the clients.


Our goal is for clients to feel like they’re part of the design process and that their input contributes to the overall beauty of the bag. This is what makes our bags truly special.


Are you planning to export these products as well to different countries?


Yes, I have plans to export our minaudières and other novelty bags worldwide. My aim is to establish Victoria’s Craft as a renowned maker of luxury bags and accessories from the Philippines, highlighting the talents of our skilled artisans. Additionally, our clutch bags will soon be available in the US.


What are the popular ones and the hardest to make?


Our bestsellers are the Gabrielle Clutch Bag, which features a wooden handle, a multi-sided pyramid, and a multi-level stainless steel design.


On the other hand, our most challenging designs are the customized Yuda and Infinity, which demand extreme attention to detail. The intricate designs require us to inlay the shell cracking one by one and it can take over eight hours to complete this part.


What were some of the custom bags you made?


We offer customization services and our collection comprises nine designs, each with its unique story.


To come up with the designs, we ask clients a series of questions, such as their preferred shape, color, and even their favorite flower or figure. After gathering this information, we submit the design to our artisans for interpretation and feedback.


Our team collaborates closely to ensure that the final design meets our client’s expectations. Besides minaudières, we also offer native bags crafted from abaca (banana leafstalk fiber), tikog (sedge plant fiber), rattan and raffia  (palm leaf fiber).


Are there any other products you plan to make in the future?


In the coming years, I intend to expand my product line to include high-end fashion accessories such as earrings, necklaces and bracelets, which will be crafted using premium materials like shells, resins and brass.


Additionally, I plan to offer gifts and souvenirs such as key chains, jewelry boxes and small home decor items. Eventually, I also intend to introduce a line of shoes.