The Smateria Story

Smateria was established in 2006 by Italian expats Jennifer Morellato & Elisa Lion in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Their dream was one of creating a beautiful, sustainable product that blended repurposing the raw materials around them, and offering employment to Cambodian workers in a fair and viable way. Giving priority to women and mothers, their collection of high-quality bags and accessories was born.

A decade later, Jennifer and Elisa are still living their dream, in a way bigger and brighter than they might ever have imagined. They continue to use netting (part of everyday life in Cambodia), plastic bags, vinyl, and leather off-cuts for their collection.  The use of excellent zips, domes, cottons and fabric for the linings mean the finished product is of a very high quality.  Smateria bags are handmade in a purpose-built studio workshop, where employees (85 percent of whom are women) enjoy comfortable working conditions, a thirteen-month salary, health insurance, professional training and the freedom to train and grow across the whole organisation.

They also employ two teachers and two teaching assistants to run an on-site preschool for the employees’ children:  This ensures the children are well cared for while their parent(s) are working, and that they are able to get a head start on their education. This is a right which many Cambodian citizens do not usually have access to, as there is no government funded early education in Cambodia.

In 2016, Smateria was awarded a Child Labor Free accreditation, and proudly displays this accolade on all of their products. Manufacturers awarded this status have committed to ensuring there are no children working in the manufacturing process, and have had this has been verified by a rigorous auditing procedure.  


Smateria New Zealand

Smateria is proudly distributed in New Zealand by Matakana Mawhia Limited.

 Directors Rosalind and Tracey Brown are sisters and best friends with a shared passion for travel, food, and family- and Cambodia’s incredible people and places!     

Rosalind and Tracey’s involvement with Smateria bloomed when they took to looking for an opportunity to work together on a project they could love. With demand growing for high quality, eco-friendly and ethically-made products, Smateria's philosophy- of repurposing and recycling materials and caring for its employees- combined with their range of beautifully designed goods, fitted the bill perfectly.

If you would like more information about Smateria, please get in touch.  



Beautiful Bags Made From Recycled and Repurposed Source Materials, Available in New Zealand

Smateria's range of recycled and repurposed bags and accessories are Italian designed and handmade by Cambodian artisans using repurposed materials such as netting, vinyl and leather, and recycled plastic shopping bags. Smateria creates Hand Bags, Tote Bags, Laptop Bags, Ipad Sleeves, Travel Bags & Pouches, and Swim Bags. Made for New Zealanders who love fashion with a social conscience.