In the spring of 2016, two young Mexican women found themselves in a foreign place, searching for meaning and struggling to find their inner selves. Little did they know, fate had a plan for them that would bring them together in a way that seemed almost orchestrated by guardian angels. These two remarkable women are Carolina Sandoval and Paulina Nava, and they are the co-owners of Maria Victoria, a company known for its exquisitely designed and colorfully crafted handbags. The story of Maria Victoria is not just about handbags; it's a testament to the power of friendship, resilience, and honoring the memory of two angel babies, Maria and Victoria.
Their journey began when they crossed paths on Facebook, as suggested by a mutual friend. Both young mothers had recently relocated to the Austin area from Mexico and were seeking connection and companionship in their new surroundings. Their friendship blossomed as they started carpooling to storytime sessions and frequently meeting up at the Black Walnut Cafe. Laughter and tears were shared in abundance during those early days.
But it was during those emotional moments when their friendship was truly tested. Paulina suffered from an autoimmune disorder that made it incredibly challenging for her to conceive a second child. After about a year of friendship, she became pregnant, only to experience a heartbreaking miscarriage. She lost the baby she had fervently prayed for, a daughter named Maria. It was a devastating loss, and she turned to her friend Carolina for solace. Carolina, having already faced her own difficult pregnancy journey, was the perfect person to offer support. She had endured HELLP Syndrome, a life-threatening condition, and had gone through the pain of losing her own baby girl, Victoria.
Their shared pain bonded them further, and they found solace in one another's understanding. They cried countless tears together, sharing a deep and profound connection that only those who have walked a similar path can truly comprehend.
A turning point came when Carolina realized they needed a distraction from the anguish. It was a time when it seemed like everyone they knew was starting small businesses, and the idea of creating their own began to take shape. Drawing on their shared experience as design professionals, they decided to bring traditional woven Mexican bags to the U.S., a product of Guadalajara, Mexico. Carolina and Paulina invested some of their own funds to bring a trial stock of these bags to the market. It was a resounding success; the bags were an instant hit and flew off the shelves.
With this success, they decided to formalize their venture, creating an LLC and selecting a name for their new company. At first, they contemplated names catering to mothers, like "Mom 2 Mom" and "Mommy & Me," but these names didn't capture the essence of their unique and vibrant handbags. After much brainstorming, inspiration struck as they considered traditional Mexican names. When Carolina suggested "Maria Victoria," the two friends were brought to tears. It was as though the name had fallen from the heavens, a perfect tribute to their angel babies. The name was not only deeply meaningful but was also available as an official U.S. trademark.
Maria Victoria soon found itself hosting trunk shows and attending trade markets, and with every success, Carolina and Paulina felt the presence of their angels watching over them. Customers often asked about the origins of the name, leading to heartfelt conversations and connections. The co-founders began to realize that their brand was not only about creating beautiful handbags but also about building a supportive community. Strangers began opening up about their own experiences with infertility, pregnancy, and miscarriage, shattering the silence around these often-taboo topics.
The company continued to grow steadily, and the need for more hands became apparent. Their first distributors joined in early 2017, and the Maria Victoria family expanded. Today, their handbags are available in boutiques not only in the United States but also in places like the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, and Colombia. Online sales have become a significant contributor to the company's success.
Carolina and Paulina have found themselves in a place of happiness and fulfillment. While they can never fill the void left by their beloved daughters, Maria and Victoria, they've channeled their grief into a thriving business that honors their memory. Maria Victoria is more than a company; it's a symbol of the enduring power of friendship and the strength to transform pain into something beautiful. In the process, they've created a legacy of support and empathy, reminding us all that even in our darkest moments, there can be hope, resilience, and beauty. Maria Victoria handbags are a tribute to two guardian angels and a testament to the resilience of the human spirit.