The MNY Spotlight

Meet Pia Ugarte Garcia-Morera, Founder of Viajecito

Meet Pia Ugarte Garcia-Morera, Founder of Viajecito  

Pia Ugarte Garcia-Morera Founder of Viajecito

Tell us about your journey creating Viajecito. What motivated you to venture into the handbag industry and when did you decide to launch?

It all started quite organically, to be honest. I have always had a strong entrepreneurial side, even while I was at school. I was always thinking about businesses I could start, but never really acted on them since I was always busy with life, or another job, or looking for a job. 

We were in a car ride for a a beach trip, and my mother-in-law came in with a bag she had gotten in Spain. It had a coral pink rubber body, and rope handles.  I was completely obsessed with it, and how it was so practical and unique to the Philippines. Not to mention really cute! I was surprised it wasn’t available in the market considering it is perfect fo the Philippine seasons (Summer and rain)

I turned to my sister in law who was living in Spain at the time and said “let’s bring these to the Philippines!” She said, ‘Let’s do it!” There in that 2 hour car ride was when Viajecito was born. We brought in our first shipment of tote bags and launched 2 months later (June 2016. Since then, we have produced original designs with the same ‘geometrically pleasing – colorful silicone’ aesthetic. 

Where do you draw inspiration from? What is your creative process like? 

For Viajecito, I draw a lot of inspiration from the colors and shapes I see. The harmony and geometry makes for a product that is very visually pleasing, that I really feel brings out a positive feeling in someone holding it. 

I don’t like too many frills and prefer a minimalist aesthetic. Whenever I think of designing a product, I always think of how I’m going to make this thing do what I want it to do, with as few parts and ‘frills’ as possible. Our bags are an accessory made to shine on their own as well as complement an entire outfit. With this way of designing, we find our bags can match literally almost any outfit!

Both Viajecito and Mestiza are heavily inspired by the Philippines. Where do you see similarities in our values and design aspects? 

We are both similar in that we represent two [wonderful] sides of the Filipino sensibility. Elegant, meticulous, and beautiful (Mestiza). Fun, colorful, happy in the rain or shine (Viajecito)

Shop the Collab: Mestiza x Viajecito Party Tote

How have you overcome the challenges from the pandemic? What are you looking forward to in the year ahead? 

We were very lucky that customers found our bags to be extremely useful during the span of this pandemic. We are very grateful, but that doesn’t mean we are sitting pretty. We are constantly thinking of new products, platforms, and markets we can tap into. New partners and outlets as well!

Do you have a favorite phrase or mantra that you live by? 

Sleep on it….and for at least 8 hours. If you don’t come up with a solution, well, at least you’ll be well rested. 

Always be kind. (not always successful here, but I try my best!)

Pia Ugarte Garcia-Morera of Viajecito

Pia wears the Palma Tassel Top

You and one of our co-founders, Alessandra, grew up together. Do you have a favorite memory together? 

Definitely those weekends at the beach, and the holidays when we would come home from college ☺ 

How are you styling your Mestiza piece? What draws you to the Mestiza brand? 

I’m a tropical girl. Definitely getting my hands on one of those sarongs for a cocktail at the beach! I love the new prints so much! 

Why is it important for you to empower women?

Because the world would be a much cooler and prettier place if even more businesses were led by women. 

Do you have any advice for someone who wants to follow in your footsteps? 

Please love who you work with. You won’t always like them. But you need to love them. 

Ask for what you want, say what you actually mean. You’ll get what you want, and things will be done faster.

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