From rags to riches

Malonas is a Madeiran brand that is gaining ground in the world of business with its eye-catching designs. 


Pedro Mendes could not predict the future. He found his calling when struggling with a common hurdle: finding a present for his better half. Seven years ago, while working in advertising design and printing some work on cloth, he was struck by the idea of printing his own patterns on cloth and using it to make a handbag. Not only was he successful in doing so, his present was all the rage. 

And so a brand was born out of love. By sheer coincidence, or perhaps not, it stands today as a symbol of ‘irreverence, sexiness and elegance’. Pedro Mendes confesses there is a lot of himself and his personal world etched into every single one of his products. 

But all success comes out of hard work and perseverance and this story is no different. Having gone to work at London at the age of 20, trying to save some money for future investments, Pedro Mendes realized that what he really wanted was to bet on Malonas, the bags made from cloth. 

Back to his roots and not lacking in imagination, ideas surged one after the other, all of them inspired in Pedro’s daily life, his personal experiences and the music he listened to. His sense of aesthetics is imbued with the way he feels and lives his daily life. The patterns: lively, colourful, innovative and fresh. His designs portray a variety of worlds, ranging from those with more regional influences, such as the patterns depicting the birds of paradise, tiles and sugarcane, to other, imagined, places. 

A business born out of a moment’s worth of creativity, a number of bags that kept on growing eventually reaching the 600 mark, and all of them different. That was when he started seeking broader horizons. 



An appealing brand with a Madeiran soul and handmade designer products with feminine, flashy and modern colours. What started with a simple handbag has been extended to shoes and hats and there is still plenty of space to grow.

Pedro Mendes told Essential he starts designing all his handbags by being ‘inspired’. The theme ‘is then put to paper taking into account the opinions of some customers’, followed by the choice of materials and measurements and then the printing of the patterns. Pre-production is handled by Ms. Regina and the pieces are assembled by the talented Ms. Rosário, who keenly welcomed us to her studio. That is how a Malona is born. No factory work, just a lot of love and sharing.  

It was at a fair for young Madeiran entrepreneurs that the project first stood out to Carlos Lira, a Madeiran entrepreneur who wanted to become an investor. And thus a partnership was born: the creativity and passion of Pedro Mendes allied with the strategic vision of Carlos Lira. The result, both confess, has been positive.

The pieces are currently sold at Crock, in Funchal, and on the brand’s official website. But the ‘Malonas’ are also in Lisbon and Oporto as they continue to walk their path towards internationalization.

And greater things are still to come. The number of requests motivated a move to a larger space as well as the development of a new product line. There are still many innovatively shaped Malonas with new patterns and other products waiting to be fulfilled.