Founded in 2006, concalma is a distinct, fair trade fashion brand and industry leader and trendsetter that has proven to be truly resilient over the years. All its bags are manufactured through a transparent supply chain at a women’s owned coop in the mountain town of Utuado, Puerto Rico, known as the Cooperativa Industrial Creación de la Montaña. Their factory is known for employing rural workers from its surrounding communities, thus supporting their traditional lifestyles, healthy working conditions, no child labor, and fair wages.
From its headquarters in San Juan, the brand has undergone several transformations in its remarkable growth, starting in 2004 as a series of pop ups at the studio of its Founder Matilsha Marxuach, opening a very successful brick & mortar store in 2006, formerly located at San Francisco Street in Old San Juan, and launching an online store in 2010. After 18 years of retail, in which the physical store became an incubator for the island’s design community, concalma decided to turn 100% virtual due to the Covid-19 pandemic, relocating its office and archive to Santurce, in downtown San Juan, exponentially augmenting its pop up interventions, and redesigning its website with a stronger sense of place. concalma is people, place & product; a bonded community and ethical lifestyle for the Planet. Indeed, concalma has collaborated with local corporations such as Medalla in critical ecological initiatives and citizen science educational programs, such as the coral reef restoration and planting projects carried by HJR Reefscaping and the Islamar Research Expedition
concalma continues to raise public awareness of supporting local economies, conscious consumption, and fair trade as a comprehensive manifestation of global social and environmental justice. The brand promotes local design and manufacturing as the responsible definition of what constitutes a contemporary, sustainable, generous practice. Throughout the years, concalma has served as a launching platform to 60+ brands at its store, and engaged in 15+ curated collaborations with diverse, contemporary, Puerto Rican artists & designers for its handbag line. According to its Senior Designer Matilsha Marxuach: Locally based design is a tool through which we can propose solutions to existing problems, while also ensuring cultural diversity worldwide.
concalma’s design mission is to combine material quality with functional aesthetics. Its line is made up of 16 different styles of bags, totes & backpacks made out of colorful fabric choices and comfortable athletic handles. This is the trademark of concalma. Its signature bags are used as everyday carryalls. It produces totes for the market and beach, hiking pouches and cross-bodies, and handbags of various sizes for dressier occasions. Regardless of occasion, all its products are long lasting. concalma has sold 20,000+ units of its handbags.
As concalma looks toward the future, it continues to expand beyond the Caribbean and the United States, seeking to be inspired by other cultures. In doing so, concalma is planning to participate in a series of special events and lead a series of creative entrepreneurial workshops, engaging with new collaborators, partners, and accounts. concalma plans to keep connecting with industry leaders looking to adopt social responsibility practices for their corporations, as it has done on the past with Audi San Juan, Motorola, and Salesforce, among others.