Paula Cademartori, a former industrial design student from Brazil, decided to pursue a career in fashion at the age of 21. She thought the logical place to go was Milan because the vast majority of luxury handbags and accessories are made in Italy.
Cademartori pursued a master’s degree in accessory design at the Istituto Marangoni. After she graduated, she spent three years designing accessories for Versace before she quit to branch out on her own. She designed a 32-piece collection of shoes for a Vogue Talents contest. After working for a year as a design consultant, Cademartori launched her brand in 2010 with financial help from her parents.
Paula Cademartori handbags are known for their vibrant colored leather with clashing patterns and pi-shaped buckles. Cademartori put her industrial design background to use to create handbags that are ergonomic and functional. Her bags are designed to fit all the essentials while appearing stylish and trendy. She says her handbags are meant to be status symbols.
Cademartori was turned down by many stockists initially. Her brand had a breakthrough in its second season when celebrities such as Miroslava Duma and Anna Dello Russo were photographed sporting her handbags.
Cademartori’s handbags are now sold by over 160 stockists, including Harvey Nichols, MatchesFashion.com, and Saks Fifth Avenue. Almost half of the stockists are based in Italy. She also does business in emerging markets, including the UAE, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Brazil. She hopes to increase her distribution in the United States through her upcoming partnership with Net-A-Porter.
The company is expected to generate $2.8 million in sales by the end of the year. Cademartori has not taken any external investment and owns 100 percent of the brand.
Cademartori has expanded her product offerings this season to include clutches and backpacks and plans to design small leather goods and shoes in upcoming collections. She also plans to open a shop in the future.