Invited into her home where she also runs her office, I was immediately doused in an enthusiastic South Asian welcome with wide smiles mixed with a European refinement and style. Marjorie was comfortably yet elegantly dressed and coiffed nicely with a bit of makeup to enhance her already beautiful features. She gestured with her long graceful arms towards the lovely living room where she had laid out a wide array of her clutches for me to admire. She was quite easy to speak with instantaneously, full of discreet panache and brimming with a sunny disposition. I liked her immediately.
Marjorie has inherited a collection of origins. Both her parents gave her their Philippine heritage, and from her mother she also got an American and Swedish background as well. Such an eclectic mix of genes gave her beautiful and exotic features that led to her modeling career which in turn led to her design career as she developed an affinity for design and style while working for fashion in front of the camera.
After concentrating on raising her children while they remained young, Marjorie decided it was time to get back into the professional world, but rather than work for someone else, she felt she had the power and duty to herself to create something on her own. Drawing upon all that she learned as a young woman in the modeling industry she knew that she wanted to design, and spent quite a bit of time reflecting on what exactly she would design. She concluded that she would begin by designing clutches, but not just any clutches, her’s would be boxes worthy of peaking the curiosity of even the most blasé of Pandoras out there in the world of fashion and luxury. She began designing clutches for her name brand in 2010, and in October of 2012 she orchestrated an entire re-branding to bring a fresh and elegant look as well as a contemporary approach to marking and communication for the promotion of her work. But before delving into where Marjorie Renner is headed, I want to offer you a look into her concept for her brand and what motivates her.
One of Marjorie’s desires in creating her name brand was to create something that brought her back to her roots. At the time when the idea came to her, she was living in Bejing
with her husband for his work. One of her objectives was to create luxury clutches as an in-imitable product that couldn’t be blasphemed in Chinese sweat shops, so she turned to the exotically rich land of her youth, the south coast of the Philippines. Her raw materials all come from this abundant source where of course she only uses legally harvested products, and works with reputable manufacturing sites that she visited, vetted and tested for herself to ensure that they use high quality products, display craftsmanship and do not participate in using child labor. One of the prominent materials she uses in creating her Pandora’s boxes is shell. Shell, abalone and water snake skin adorn her creations in all their exotic glory.
Her creations are gaining in notoriety, and they were featured in the Wunderkind Fall 2012 show
Marjorie told me that she has so many many ideas, and she sometimes has to reign in her creative energy in order to create a collection. She is one of those people who find it hard to sleep when too many creative ideas crowd her mind. For each collection she first develops her theme, then sketches it out. Her final drawings are sent with the carefully checked the specifications to the workshops in the Philippines for prototype production. When those are approved of by Marjorie samples are created for sales samples that are sent to buyers all over the world. Each bag is currently produced only in a few dozen examples so they are quite exclusive items.
Greatly influenced by nature, her designs are each small treasures to hold in your hand. When I asked her how does Paris influences her designs, she replied :
« Who will never get inspired on Paris! Everywhere you look there is inspiration. »
Opportunities are proposing themselves all over for Marjorie. During the recent fashion week, she was in New York city with her sales samples, and has a few major department stores in the Big Apple looking into carrying them. But she is a person who also sticks to her roots and sponsors a few charities that are close to home and to her heart. One program, Cameleon, that she supports, offers help and opportunity to sexually abused children in the Philippines where their parents can also be educated, learn a trade making simple handbags, and have a chance at creating a more normal life for themselves and their children. She also sponsors Pinoy Sojourners, a Philippino education foundation.
Marjorie Renner is a socially connected brand too, and interacts on Facebook and Twitter. She is also working on a tee-shirt design for fans and a little black dress, that can let her bags « pop » when worn…and stay tuned this summer for a possible Marjorie Renner fashion show!