A Mele + Marie Bag Is Both Stylish And Inspiring. Here's Why
A bag—such a basic accessory in our daily lives, yet it has the power to transform an outfit, and make the owner feel pretty damn good about herself. I'm sure you know at least one bagaholic in your circle of friends and family, and I honestly can't blame him or her, for a well-designed bag has the power to make you feel like a million bucks (some cost quite close to this, too), apart from the fact that it is functional as well.
While the size, shape, form, and yes, price matter in choosing a bag, the aesthetics are an important aspect of the bag shopping process as well. Of the millions of designs out there, I am a firm believer in a bag soulmate, one that just speaks of who you are and your unique personal style!
One bag line that has caught our eye for possible bag soulmates is Mele + Marie, a proudly Filipino accessories brand that boasts of a really interesting history, and world-class products to boot! Metro.Style caught up with Rosemarie Oamil, the power woman behind this amazing brand. Here we found out why owning a Mele + Marie bag ain't just for the aesthetics, it's a symbol of inspiration, hope, and purpose. Read on to find out why...
The brand came from humble beginnings.
Before Mele + Marie became a full-fledged accessories brand, Rosemarie and her husband Melecio (Mele comes from her husband's name, while Marie comes from hers) began their export business in 1999 till about 2004. During this time, they did white-labeling for other brands, meaning they were producing export-quality products behind-the-scenes for other international companies. This exposed them to the European and American standards of production and quality, which has greatly contributed to the excellence they practice today.
The husband and wife tandem behind Mele + Marie, off to Paris Fashion Week 2018
Rosemarie, who grew up in the farming fields of Nueva Ecija, has always had her parents' motivation behind her growing up, which eventually catapulted her into the successful entrepreneur she is today. Being poor did not stop her from striving hard to reach her dreams, and she fondly recalls being on the fields of rice when she was young, staring into the sky, watching the planes go by, wondering if she will ever have hope of leaving that place one day. Fast forward to many years after, with all the blood, sweat, and tears under her belt, Rosemarie and her husband are now proud owners of a brand that you can consider both a local and international gem.
Mele + Marie goes head to head with other international design players at Paris Fashion Week
Life was not easy for Rosemarie and her husband—with their daughter Hannah, just after days of being born, was found to have three holes in her heart. She shares they were challenged as a couple very early on, and with such a big amount of money needed for the operations, they could have just given up and raised the white flag, so to speak. But this couple is a firm believer in God's faithfulness, and with much hard work, perseverance, and grace from God, they were able to overcome every obstacle, including the challenge with their first born. Thus, the Hannah bag was born.
The iconic "Hannah 01"
When you decide to buy a Hannah bag, you know that the inspiration behind it was their struggle and victory, and behind its stunning exterior is a beautiful story that needs to be told.
The help of others was instrumental to their success.
Going back to the time when their child had to undergo major operations, a lot of money was involved, and the couple admittedly got into a lot of debt during the time. Rosemarie was undergoing her MBA in Business in DLSU that time, and thanks to her professor who knew about her situation and who was experienced in exporting, she was led to the world of export which eventually became their bread and butter. He suggested that she venture into exporting jewelry from Cebu, because jewelry is small, but big in value. After trying out in a trade show in London, still they did not make it, which made them decide to have her husband work as an OFW in Milan.
The Hannah 05 Tiger Abalone
Challenge after challenge you may think, but Rosemarie is a firm believer that if you stay in faith, your break will come. And boy did it come. Upon deciding to once again join a trade show in Hong Kong, their big break came when it was least expected. An unassuming man came to her booth, asked if he could sit there to rest, as no one would entertain him. Rosemarie, being a truly hospitable Filipino at heart, wholeheartedly allowed the man to take a seat and rest, and even offered some water. Little did she know that this man would be the key to the break they were waiting for.
Moments passed and the man's staff approached her asking if she could immediately supply a huge bulk order for the man's company, amounting to money she could not even fathom. With faith and strong will, Rosemarie agreed to the order, and immediately called her husband to come fly back home to help her get the business of the ground. Their accessories business took off and they went on to supplying one of the biggest brands in the US then. Truly, the help of the most unexpected individuals will be the kind that helps you fly high, so do not take anyone for granted.
A Mele + Marie bag is a work of art.
Fast forward to 2018, Mele + Marie joins the likes of New York and Paris Fashion Week to get the word out about their one-of-a-kind creations. Rosemarie's husband is the designer and creative genius behind the brand, while she takes care of the business. Many of their designs are deeply rooted on their memories growing up, planting in the fields of rice, as well as the different struggles, tribulations, and victories throughout their life. This is not just any bag manufactured in a factory with no story; these are unique gems that you can treasure for all your life. Think of it as holding a piece of someone's memory with you, and beautiful piece you can call art. A precious gift to give.
These clutches, minaudieres, and jewelry are also proudly Filipino made, with a lot of their raw materials coming from and manufactured in Cebu. As mentioned earlier, the brand has substantial experience in exporting goods, so you know that quality is at its highest level. You don't just support a family, you also contribute to the talent our country has to offer.
Mele + Marie urges you to #LoveYourPurpose.
Rosemarie is a woman with contagious energy and fire for life. You know that God's faithfulness in her life has molded her into the strong-willed woman and entrepreneur that she is, and being around her just gives you that kind of energy too. Rarely do we see a brand that advocates local talent and promotes hard work, perseverance, and God's goodness at the same time, but Mele + Marie is one of them.
She says that this young brand urges its clients to #LoveYourPurpose, as if telling us to appreciate where we are, what we have, and what we can do with what we have. Their story is a story of passion and purpose, and of producing something beautiful out of hardship and trials.
It's a wrap for F/W PARIS FASHION WEEK 2018. We ended strong by having quite number of major players of Fashion invested in our latest collection. Many big news coming our way and we thank the LORD for the blessings each day coming our way.#meleandmarie #loveyourpurpose #luxury bags #globalbrand #parisfashionweek2018 #tranoi
Photos courtesy of Mele + Marie