Alida Boer | Maria's Bags

   Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting Alida Boer. She is a former Miss Guatemala, current philanthropist and handbag designer. Boer is the beautiful woman (inside and out) behind Maria’s Bags. A business that she has won many awards for gives back to the women and town of Pastores in Sacatepequez, Guatemala. Boer is passionate about her culture and having the voices of the people of Guatemala being represented in each design. Maria’s Bags are so rich in color, the hand-crafted patterns are so intricate and every bag is nearly a one of a kind.  “Every huipil textile represents a different village and tells a different story. The huipil are what the local ladies used to wear before there was a civil war, that was followed by a great deal of discrimination, which lead the women to stop wearing the textiles that identified them” says Boer. The making of this sort of textile is very intensive and was soon to be a lost art. Boer has being training the women with the help of experienced designers the skills needed to give the huipil textile a new life (hence Maria’s Bags). Boer further explains the importance of the textiles and the sense of identity they give to the people of Guatemala. The women who work on these textiles are masters of their crafts. Boer is an avid supporter of the women passing down the art for the generations to come. “A portion of the proceeds from Marias Bags goes to a school in Guatemala to provide the children with free education and meals”. With over 500 women in her network Boer is able to provide fair wages that help build and support the families and communities of the women.

Boer has a flagship store in Guatemala, and is stocked in many retailers in Latin America.

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