“My father taught me how hard it is to make money, but how important it is to work at something you love.”

– Daniela Hernandez

If you’ve ever rummaged through your handbag to discover a half-eaten muesli bar, or tossed it onto the back seat only to have it land in a pool of sand, you may want to turn away, because Daniela Hernandez is about to form in you a deep appreciation of the artistry and craftsmanship that goes into the making of a handbag. Especially those made in Colombia by her father, under Daniela’s divine brand, Handez.

Born in Colombia in 1996, Daniela spent her childhood surrounded by leather. “My father had a small factory where he made leather goods. We were all involved from the beginning,” she tells us. “My sister and I would hand out business cards and were taught how to sell. I can see now that it was a good lesson, but at the time it was really challenging. Most of our friends were out playing, but we were figuring out how to make a business work, learning to sew, or practicing painting leather. Now I can see that my father was teaching me something I could use in my future.”

It wasn’t just leatherwork that Daniela learned from her adored father, but also the importance of working with purpose. “My father taught me how hard it is to make money, but how important it is to work hard at something you love,” Daniela says.

While leather would eventuate as being Daniela’s life purpose, after school, she obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance, but soon realised that she wanted to explore more of the world. “When I was in Colombia, I felt like I was already living an adult’s life, even though I was only 18,” she says. “So I decided to come to Australia to have some fun!”

Lo and behold, the journey didn’t turn out to be quite what Daniela had in mind. Rather than long days at the beach and exploring the Australian coastline, she was met with the harsh reality of learning to live by herself, finding a job, and figuring out how to survive in a new country. “I did everything,” she says. “For years, I worked in hospitality, in cleaning, in childcare. I realise now how naive I was.”

While Dianiela did eventually secure a professional role in Australia, she soon realised that it just didn’t light her up. “I just wasn’t as happy as I thought I could be,” she says. “So, I decided to do something where I could work with my hands and work from home. The perfect solution was selling pieces from my father’s collection.”

So here we are. With Handez, we are lucky to be able to select from a collection that demonstrates a dedication to detailed, elegant designs, high-quality materials, and an obsession with time-honoured craftsmanship. “My father and I, together with our small team of artisans, have created leather pieces with function and soul that will remain timeless across all seasons,” says Daniela.

Daniela’s ideal client is someone who appreciates the process and notices the small details in her work. “I am really sentimental. I owe this whole business to my father,” she says. “My family is the main point of my life, and I want to make them proud. I want to showcase these products and create a legacy that maybe, one day, I can pass on to my own children.”

It’s a legacy we look forward to seeing unfold.

Published by Amy Malpass-Hahn