An honest update and how you can help

It’s hard to believe that this month marks 15 years since Malia Designs was born. The idea that producing well designed and practical handbags out of eco-friendly materials could create jobs and improve lives for vulnerable women and men in Cambodia, while also being a profitable small business for two friends here in the US seemed like a dream that might or might not become a reality.

Fast forward to today, and we’ve sold hundreds of thousands of bags and wallets, donated almost $170,000 to small grassroots organizations fighting human trafficking and created hundreds of well paying and dignified jobs.

Artisans that started with us in the very beginning are now sending their kids to universities, a new workshop that employs 70 disabled artisans was built with our backing and so so many of you here in the states made these things possible and improved the lives of so many through your purchases and by carrying a cause with us!

And today, amidst a global pandemic we’re faced with a bigger business challenge that we could have ever imagined.  One that we, along with thousands of small businesses across the country could have never prepared for. How do you sustain your business when you’ve lost 90% of your revenue overnight? How do you find a way forward with such an uncertain future?  How do you help protect the jobs and livelihoods that selling your products creates?


 The nitty gritty

Because almost all of our business is wholesale, and many states went on lockdown the day that we received our large spring shipment, the timing of it all was definitely not on our side. March and April are typically two of our biggest sales months, but with stores being forced (for extremely good reason) to close their doors, 95% of our spring purchase orders have been cancelled or put on hold.


This is a great example of the ripple effect of retail businesses closing, which in turns affect the brands they buy from, and in turn affects the supply chains (and people!) that produce these products around the world. A reminder of the ways that we are all connected, and how your purchases here create real positive impact in Cambodia. How Malia and other fair trade brands are dedicated to practicing business with humanity. Some big fashion brands simply stiff the factories that make their goods, which in turn stiffs the workers. We pay upfront, assuming more of the risk, but providing more security.

How you can help

These are scary and uncertain times for all of us.  There is such a shared sense of loss and grief and anger that we are all feeling. We are all living through so much right now.  Our past experience has taught us that we can overcome many roadblocks and obstacles (even when we didn’t believe that we could), but we also know that we can’t do it alone. None of what we have achieved would be possible without the support of our customers who believe wholeheartedly in our products and our mission.

We’re going to come right out and say it. What would help the most right now, would be for you to make a Malia Designs purchase. What we have is inventory. And lots of it. Since most of our sales are generated from people supporting amazing local businesses in their own communities, we realize that we need to turn to our very own community of supporters. . . and that’s you! Over the years you have enabled us to do so much, and we know that as hard as things are right now, they won’t always be this way.

“Good Surprise” mystery bundles.  Choose your price point. Smiles guaranteed.

$25Two pint sized Malia accessories.  New spring styles included. Wallets, cosmetic cases, zip cases, hair accessories and more will make up these little packages of joy.  Perfect for graduation gifts, or sending to that friend that’s been keeping you sane during these totally insane and terrifying times.

$50 – A fair trade trio.  This one’s going to really floor you.  You get a large screen print bag from our spring collection (these babies retail at $46-52), plus two pint sized accessories that are mentioned above.  A great Mother’s Day gift or a wonderful way to treat yourself for the day when you eventually get to leave the house.   

$75 – A recycled revolution.  5 amazing pieces from our best selling recycled styles.  Beach bags, market totes, zip cases, wallets, and storage bins, these recycled faves have been the backbone of our business since the start and you’ll get 5 practical pieces that go the distance.

$100 – The big enchilada! You’ll receive 3 items that comprise the fair trade trio (the $50 package above) plus 3 recycled faves!

What? You really don’t need any more bags in your life right now or you have picky friends?

Grab a gift card:  25% off!! Purchase in the denomination that’s right for you and they never expire.  Use code: GIFT25 Gift cards are such an amazing way to support small businesses right now!

Know exactly what you’d like to give or get?  Have you had your eye on something? Save 30% off the entire site (for a limited time) with code: APRIL30

Sharing is Caring! 

If you’re not in a position to make a purchase right now, we completely understand.  If you have the time and desire to share our message so it reaches a larger audience, we’d be forever grateful to you.  

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Your impact is real and we are so thankful for you!  Every order, every share, every kind word and smile is what’s kept us going for the first 15 years and what we hope will keep us going for years to come.