On a trip to Santa Cruz this fall to sail along the California coast, we came across Maruca Bags, a fun line of bags from Maruca Design in a boutique shop we ducked into on our way out of town. I had never heard of them before, but was impressed by the unique design and materials, which exude a combination of fun, chic and natural.
The Maruca name comes from founder Rex Maruca who came from the upholstery industry and decided to start manufacturing bags from some of the same fabrics he had been using on furniture in his former life. We love that they offer so many earthy tones, which I guess shouldn’t be surprising given that they’re based in Boulder Colorado, which is known for its outdoor lifestyle and attention on nature.
Maruca Design has been around for 25 years and yet we only learned about them recently. They’re still relatively small but do wind up in some design and gift shops so you may come across them on your travels. The good news is that you can purchase them online of course and there’s a wide range of Maruca bags to choose from. And, it’s also worth noting that every bag is still hand cut and sewn at home in Colorado. Bravo!
Let’s take a look at some of our favorites which Maruca Design so graciously sent us to review. We think the Cafe Bag is a great choice for avid travelers because of its size (12” x 13” x 2″) and nice strap drop length (14” – 25”). I don’t know about you but I’m always amazed at how often I find a great bag design and the drop length is too short to be practical.
Here are a few of the designs available for the Cafe Bag to show the brand’s versatility.
Then, there’s the Johnny Bag, another design from Maruca Bags that we love, particularly for women. Think of it as a more fashionable version of a messenger bag but it’s still practical to boot.
The Johnny Bag offers a generous sized top zipped compartment with a small interior pocket, which is useful for pens, a lipstick, business cards or keys. Also great for travelers are the two exterior open pockets for easy access and an exterior flap for security. While it’s a little smaller than the Cafe Bag (10” x 11” x 2”), the strap drop length is the same (yay!)
They also offer backback style bags and smaller pouch Maruca bags that you can wear cross length, which are great for an evening out when you don’t need to carry as much.
The Traveler Bag is a must on your Maruca bags order list. It’s the largest “pouch” bag from Maruca Design, so the most useful accessory to whatever bag (or bags) you choose, since it can hold make-up or other useful items you may need while traveling (think: chargers, USB drives, extra camera memory cards).
There’s a wipeable liner to make cleaning easy and an exterior zipped pocket on the front. Travelers all know – we LOVE pockets so we can compartmentalize things and so rarely do bag manufacturers include them. The Traveler Bag sizes in at around 12″ x 6.5″ x 4″.
They offer so many compelling designs that it’s hard to choose (and options are available from both the Spring and Fall 2017 collection).
The last of the Maruca Bags I’d like to highlight is the ever so small but handy Heidi Bag, which makes a great insert to the traveler bag and you can match the design as well. It measures 7 inches by 4 inches, so is perfect for items like a wallet, a check book, lipstick, a mascara or glasses.
The Heidi wallet also a front zip pocket for coins and miscellaneous items.
Bags aren’t the only thing that Maruca Design produces. Personally, I have never used a wall pocket at home, but have seen them over the years and have always been curious about their usefulness. Can you tell I’m a practical shopper by now?
In most of the same creative and fun design as the Maruca Bags, their Wall Pockets will help you stay organized and we think, are a perfect holiday gift idea. Think: home office, studio, for students in dorm rooms, your kids or even in the kitchen.
They run 23 inches tall and 10 inches wide and the pockets are 4 inches deep, 5 inches deep and ten inches deep respectfully.
Maruca Design embraces the principles of the Arts & Crafts Movement in America (1860-1910), which emphasized the value placed on traditional and decorative craftsmanship using simple forms. Made from heart to hand as they say.
We applaud this philosophy because it creates a consciousness that humanizes artisan work, which sadly I feel is decreasing in the states.
Since we’re a global site, we love that while they are American made, they tap into the best from Indonesia and India (for their Ikats), Eastern Europe (for their floral work) and Africa for their fabulous patterns. This couldn’t be truer. Having lived in Africa a few times now, I have purchased some of the most vibrant materials in small villages throughout the continent, but mostly in Eastern and Southern Africa.
The Maruca bags are made from a fabric called “Jacquard” which means an intricately woven pattern using a special loom in the weaving process. They then collaborate with textile designers from select, smaller independent U.S. fabric mills, and their threads are cottons, rayons and synthetics—many of which are from recycled plastic.
Sustainable, conscious and organic so a whole lotta YAY from us here at We Blog the World on Maruca Design’s philosophy. They also donate to a bunch of local foundations and projects, supporting women’s health, diabetes, Aids, service dogs and more.
Check out their website for their philosophy, background and their wide array of design choices from large and small slings to fashion bags, travel bags, wall pockets, pillow covers and more. Maruca bags and products make great holiday gifts too, so what are you waiting for?