Hello. My name is Mariana and I love leather bags. This Ni QUA Manico Mini (2,395.00 Php) is my most recent acquisition. I won it by entering Topaz Horizon‘s birthday giveaway, which gave me the chance not only to own a Manico Mini but to customise it to my liking as well.
If you’ve followed me for long enough, you’ll already know that I’m a big fan of Frances (of Topaz Horizon) and that she’s influenced quite a few online purchases that I’ve made in the past. I admire the woman for many reasons, not the least of which is her ability to say it straight, whatever “it” might be. There aren’t many writers who can do that without being over-simplistic or boring–and Frances is far from boring. BUT before I go too far and wax poetic about the woman and come off borderline-creepy, I just wanted to say that I’m happy to have won my Manico Mini from her because she’s super cool.
Now the reason I wanted to talk about my bespoke Manico Mini on the blog is not to brag about winning it or anything like that. I wanted to put a good overview of the quality of the bag on the internet so that any prospective Ni QUA customers know what to expect. It’s a brand that’s only available online at the moment and I know that something like this will be useful for those who don’t want to make decisions about purchases without being assured of quality (and rightly so).
The Manico Mini is my second bag from Ni QUA, which tells you something in and of itself. I like that the brand makes use of real, good-quality leather, and also that the pieces are stitched together and that they don’t line the interiors of their bags. It’s a specific kind of look and if you’re not into it, you won’t be into these bags. If you’re on the fence, I can tell you that the great thing about simple leather bags with minimal hardware and no lining is that they are extremely lightweight and pretty darn durable. You still want to refrain from getting these wet, but that goes for all leather products.
As I mentioned earlier, my Manico Mini has been customised to my specifications. This includes blind embossing, choice of colour for the leather panels, handles, and strap, as well as choice of hardware. Ni Qua offers this bespoke option for all three sizes of the Manico bag design (Mini, Medium, and Large) but you can also buy them in solid/plain colours.
You can also see in this photo that the edges of the bag are not sealed–again, part of the raw, unfinished feeling of the bag. The stitching is straight and neat, but my one major complaint about the bag is that I think the thread should have been thicker/of higher quality. Customising the bag was super, super fun. For the Mini size, you can opt to have it with or without the long strap, and I am definitely a long strap kind of girl. If you do choose to forego the long strap though, you can specify the drop for the top handles to anything between 3 to 8 inches. Mine are set at 3″ because I won’t have to sling the handles over my shoulder (that’s what the long strap is for, duh).
As for the colour selection for the leather panels, Ni QUA provides ten different options. You can check out their website to see all of them and you can really create a unique feel to your bag depending on the colour combo. For my Manico Mini I chose tan for the body and base, a pretty deep oxblood shade for the side panels, and a light taupe for the handles and long strap. I was initially going to have the oxblood shade as the main colour on the body, but I love how it turned out because having it predominantly tan means I can take the bag from “winter” to summer. The taupe works nicely because a pure white would have been a bit too stark for the look I was going for. The bare interior and the magnetic closure. I use a lot of small pouches, so I don’t have to worry about things scratching the leather. It is pretty much a bucket bag though, as the magnets aren’t very strong and even when the bag is half full, they don’t really work to keep the top closed. So don’t use this when shopping in Divi or something, obviously.I both love and hate that this bag is so TINY. I won’t be able to use it everyday because I’m a mommy-bag and girl scout kind of person: I need to have everything in my bag. I have been trying to change that and become a little less over-the-top lately though… like on weekends or just in general when it isn’t necessary to have the entire world slung over my shoulders. I was out using this bag yesterday and I suppose not having space for a pack of wet wipes wasn’t the end of the world. It did feel nice to have less of a load on my shoulders for sure.
Here’s my Mini beside my tan Manico in the Medium size. I have had the medium one for a few months now and it’s holding up well. It is the perfect size for all of my essentials, plus a book (nothing huge of course). The Mini can hold my wallet, phone, extra battery, a couple of lipsticks, a comb, and blotting papers, but it is a tight fit. Will have to keep practicing when it comes to packing light, but I think I’ll grow to like it.
Overall, the Ni QUA Manico Mini is a very nice bag. It’s certainly adorable. For the price (again, 2,395.00 Php) it really isn’t bad because you get real leather and the pleasure of being able to customise it to your liking. The non-customised version is cheaper by quite a bit though, so if you’re happy with a one-colour bag check those out first.
Again, thanks a bunch to Frances! I love this bag and will always remember that I got it from you! :)