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Image / Style / Irish Design

Irish Design Spotlight: Landa 


By Sarah Finnan
17th Sep 2023
Irish Design Spotlight: Landa 

Created by Silvana Landa McAdam and her husband Andrew, Landa was born out of a life-long passion for leather and craft. Specialising in quality bags in sophisticated neutral palettes, each one is designed to last a lifetime.

Tell us about you and your brand
My name is Silvana Landa McAdam. I am from Argentina – my mum is Italian and my dad is Spanish – and I have lived in Ireland for over 20 years. My husband and kids are Irish. 

I worked in multinationals and the corporate world for many years. One of the highlights, and possibly where I learned the most, was with the L’Oreal luxury division where I worked with brands, directly from the “mothership”. My teams were always in Paris and London and I saw brands and products from start to finish. From the gardens in Grasse where raw materials were collected to labs, marketing and merchandising – I was lucky enough to see the whole process until it got to the consumer. I have a huge love for brands so it was only a matter of time until I’d launch my own, Landa.  

What is your mission?
I want women around the world to be able to wear a super interesting, practical, stylish and beautifully made product and feel so proud of it. I love seeing women rock one of our bags and feel that they own an interesting piece that will last for many years. I want our bags to make them look and feel good.

Did you always know you wanted to be a designer?
No. My background is in business development, business strategy, commercial and exporting. I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs. My grandfather fought in the war in Italy and moved to Argentina to start his cobbler’s business – this is what inspired my accessories brand. My grandmother was a self-made pant suit tailor. And my parents always had different businesses. The entrepreneurial gene was definitely in me. When it was time to launch my own brand, I knew it’d be related to the leather industry. 

What kind of items do you stock?
We design and produce accessories, mostly handbags for women with a small selection for men. We are generally known for functional and high-quality crossbody bags. Our cult product, the Teca bag – which retails for €385 and features interchangeable straps – has been a hit since November 2020. Our Cassia phone bag launched in 2021 in two colourways… we now have close to 15! I am super proud of our latest launch for Brown Thomas, the Sandalo Hobo Bag. All our bags are named after trees in Spanish. 

We use high-quality full-grain leather and tumbled leather and then play with interesting materials like raffia, shearling, straw, etc. Our small leather goods section is growing with new products introduced from Q4 this year. 

Was money/funding a concern when starting out?
Not right at the beginning. During my career in the corporate world, I was lucky enough to have good salaries and bonuses and I saved for years… I had a special ‘savings for my brand’ fund. That money got me started but left me very quickly! As a start-up, you don’t have the same resources (team and budget) as a big business, and this is where cash flow issues begin.

As we started to grow, we kept re-investing and needing more and more funding to scale up. We didn’t want organic and slow growth. We became Enterprise Ireland clients as part of their HPSU programme and they are going to fund us as well as two private investors. This is a crucial step for Landa’s growth and export journey. 

Best business advice you’ve gotten
Ask for help, use your network. So many times, we don’t realise the wealth of knowledge and helping hands that are all around us. I couldn’t have gotten to where I am now without some of the wonderful people I met along the way. You’d be surprised at how willing people are to meet you for a coffee and a chat. One door will open another and the rest is history. I have always been part of networking groups (like Going for Growth) and having these tribes and supporting voices is essential to keep going on this wonderful entrepreneurial rollercoaster. 

Favourite fashion/design accounts you follow
Redondo brand, Johanna Ortiz, Name the Brand, Chufy, Loewe, Adolfo Dominguez. I am heavily influenced by South American and Mediterranean style. I love Spanish and Italian brands and some from my home country too. 

Best fashion purchase
A white dress from Agostina Bianchi, an Argentinean brand. And many pairs of earrings from Argentina. I love bold and interesting ones for going out and then unusual hoops for during the day. 

Other Irish brands you love
Oh, so hard to pick – there are so many! Caoimhe Murphy, Urban Aran, Kindred of Ireland, IrelandsEye, Chupi, Noema, Nicki Hoyne, Magpie Rose Jewellery, Theo + George, KDK, FéRí, Caroline Duffy, Heidi Higgins, Laura Chambers, Begley & Bowie, Jill & Gill… the list goes on!

Most useful learning since setting up a business
Take care of your supply chain. It took us a few years to develop a supply chain that we are so proud of. We work with three factories (one in Spain, one in China and one in Italy) that follow our sustainable production ideas. They are all small, family-run factories that craft products in a traditional way and are ready to grow with us. Together we are always looking at ways we can improve and be more sustainable. Nurturing and developing these relationships is essential to our growth. 

Proudest moment so far
Being part of the Brown Thomas Group for three years and being in Forbes magazine four times!

I want my brand to be remembered for… being a gorgeous product that lasts for years and is practical and beautifully made. 

If I could have anyone wear my designs it would be… Amal Clooney and Eva Mendez.  

Imagery provided by Landa