Maria-Paula Herrera, founder of MAPA Collective, was born in the United States to Colombian parents. Her family moved to Guatemala, Greece, and later Spain before landing back in Chicago. Always a lover of fashion, Paula was influenced by the cultures she encountered throughout her international upbringing, collecting handbags and accessories all along. She has found some of her most treasured pieces in her native Colombia.

Recognizing her friends’ interests in her accessories collection, Paula realized that she could be the bridge between these friends and the unique exotic leather pieces that she found on travels to her homeland. From there, MAPA Collective was born, and with it, a dual mission: to create products of impeccable quality and style that are timeless and luxurious, and to promote self-sufficient and sustainable employment in Colombia.

The use of the highest quality materials makes MAPA a collection of handbags and accessories that any woman would covet. Every bag is handcrafted out of exotic skins, natural leathers and textiles. While able to seamlessly transition from day to night and formal to informal, each piece is subtly unique.


Paula holds an MBA from The Wharton School and an MA in International Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. She received her Bachelor in Business Administration from the University of Michigan, with a minor in French Languages and Culture. After working as a management consultant in New York City after college, Paula shifted her focus to entrepreneurship and retail, with a focus on Latin America.

When she is not sketching designs for MAPA Collective, Paula is discovering new and unusual uses for things and dreaming of the next hidden bazaar to explore. An avid yogi and certified instructor, her favorite pose is sirsasana, a headstand, which she loves because it lets her see the world from a new perspective.


MAPA Collective operates under the supervision of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the Colombian Ministry of Environment, Housing and Sustainable Development. The finest materials are sourced from premier manufacturers that practice legal and sustainable uses of non-endangered species, and contribute to the repopulation program of the caiman species.

For more information about conservation, please visit http://www.cites.org