The Smateria Story

Smateria was established by Italian expats, Jennifer Morellato and Elisa Lion in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in 2006. They wanted to create beautiful, high-quality bags and accessories by repurposing the raw materials they saw around them, and to employ Cambodian workers in a fair and sustainable way, giving priority to women and mothers.

A decade later and Jennifer and Elisa continue to use netting (part of every day life in Cambodia), recycled plastic shopping bags, vinyl and leather off-cuts for their collection of stylish bags.  The use of good quality zips, domes, cottons and fabric for the linings mean the finished product is of a very high quality.  Smateria bags are handmade in its own 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 across the whole organization. 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 they are able to get a head start on their education which Cambodian’s do not usually have access to, as there is no government funded early childhood education in Cambodia.  

In 2016 Smateria became accredited Child Labor Free and proudly displays this mark on all it's products. Manufacturers awarded this status have committed to ensuring there are no children working in the manufacturing process and this has been verified by a rigorous auditing process.  

Smateria New Zealand

Smateria is proudly distributed in New Zealand by Matakana Mawhia Limited. Directors, Rosalind Brown and Tracey Brown are sisters and best friends with a shared love of travel, food, and family.......and the amazing people, products and places of Cambodia!      

Rosalind and Tracey had been looking for an opportunity to work together on a project they could be passionate about. 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, stylish bags and accessories - fitted the bill perfectly. 

If you would like more information about Smateria, please contact us.






Recycled Bags and Repurposed Bags, 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.