Sophie Summer Ltd was founded by Josefina Villanueva Alonso during the 2020 lockdown. As a luxury handbag lover browsing online every day, she noticed how almost every luxury bag is made of the same material -- leather. She believes that, whilst leather is traditionally stylish and durable, there are many more materials out there that are equally long-lasting and fashionable.

Josefina hails from the Philippines and, after moving to England in 2016, she wanted to introduce beautiful, high-quality Filipino handbags made from natural materials such as Abaca and straw to the holiday-loving and socially-conscious British shoppers. The ultimate goal was always to help local artisans in poor communities to help provide for their families. 

She believes that steady demand creates steady income. And so she decided that her way of helping would be to create a platform to promote demand for traditionally made handbags by artisan communities who would otherwise not have the chance to sell their masterpieces to online customers. She decided that the rest of the world, particularly UK customers, needed to see these beautiful creations and she believes that they will embrace them.

With her background in IT and marketing, Josefina launched Sophie Summer to be an inclusive platform to showcase beautiful, independent, artisanal designs, with the goal to be a leading marketplace in the near future.

Sophie Summer is named after Josefina’s daughter and inspiration, Sophia, and Summer for her hometown, where it’s summer all year round. Founded during the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic lockdown period, Sophie Summer Josefina's her way of helping artisan communities sustain an income during the crisis. It is also her way of dealing with nostalgia over her beloved home country. She aspires to build a company and a brand that her daughter and her generation can be proud of.

Read her startup story here.