“Every girl living in the city yearned for the simplicity of life on the beach, yet when on the beach they missed the bustle of city life. I wanted to design something equally versatile for both elements of life.”
meli melo is a combination of designer Melissa Del Bono’s rich Italian and patriotic English Heritage, paired with the inspiration from her daily life. Named after Melissa herself, ‘Meli’ was the playful nickname given to her by friends and family whilst ‘meli melo’ means a mishmash of things. It seemed natural that the nickname evolved to become the name of Melissa’s brand. It's this mix of Melissa’s upbringing that gives meli melo its unique DNA of luxury Italian Design and raw London Cool.
Having grown up in a fiercely entrepreneurial family, Melissa always wanted to start something creative of her own. An Island girl at heart, Melissa had been inspired by the large wicker baskets that the local women would carry on the volcanic Aeolian Island of Lipari, Sicily, where she grew up. In 2005, having never been to design school, Melissa drew her take on the local fisher women’s basket, interpreting the relaxed shape and the inverted handles from the traditional design. This became known as the BB Bag. She sourced the finest Italian leather and contacted the local Italian factories to produce the first samples of what would become her first meli melo Handbag, and the beginnings of her own brand. She found it both intriguing and comforting to take something from humble beginnings and make it into something beautiful.
In 2005, at the age of 26, Melissa launched meli melo from her London home, individually funding the label with money saved from a plane ticket she had purchased to move to Argentina. At a time of ‘it’ bags and logo loving, Melissa saw a gap in the Luxury Accessories market for beautifully made handbags without the extortionate price tag and harsh branding. She wanted to create timeless, effortless bags that women could wear everyday. Having previously worked for the in-house PR teams at Harper’s Bazaar, Tanner Kroll and Asprey, Melissa used her skills and contacts to launch her label.
The effortless shape and buttery soft Italian Leather of every meli melo handbag meant that the brand soon became a go-to label for industry insiders and A-List names alike. The Duchess of Cambridge, Sienna Miller and Poppy Delevigne were the first to wear the bags in 2005, favouring their subtle branding and timeless styles. This took the label from hobby to full time business almost overnight.