Shelley Mac

The Early Years

I grew up in God's country, New Zealand, a place where I cherished nature, spoiled with an abundance of lush green terrain, mountainous ranges, golden beaches and a much slower pace of life.  In spite of this idyllic childhood, I yearned to explore further afield, so at the tender age of 17, I traveled to Japan and lived there for a year.  It was hard in the beginning, but eventually I fell in love with the culture and the people.  This was to be the start of my spiritual awakening.  

I returned home, only to leave these shores again, this time to discover my Celtic roots in Scotland.  Two years passed, and it was time to leave and venture outside of my comfort zone.  The Middle East was now calling. This path led me to Bethlehem, the birth place of Jesus. Israel literally brought me to my knees.  Every inch filled with so much history, and so much pain.  Jordan and Egypt blew my mind, but it was Africa that stole my heart.  I found solace in this land.  The children always greeted you with a smile, even in the worst of conditions. They were happy, because they didn't know any different.  Of all the wild animals I saw up close and personal, my encounter with the Gorillas in the jungle on the border of Zaire and Uganda was out of this world! I will always cherish those years of intrepid travel. 

The Music Business

Fast forward a decade, I am now a singer/songwriter, touring my own country, releasing original music to radio, and opening for some major rock stars.  You might have heard of a couple of them - Sir Elton John and Eric Clapton?  This was a very exciting period in my life, but after a while, something was missing.  I found myself back on that plane, this time heading to the US of A.  I was bound for New Orleans to record an album with Hall and Oats lead guitarist and band leader, Shane Theriot, but had to stop in Austin Texas to visit a friend. That first night, she took me to a show, and that is where I met my future husband, Texas rocker, Rod Williams.  It was Rod's show, and somehow, I ended up on stage with him.  Long story short, the chemistry very quickly spilled off stage, and we have been inseparable ever since!  Clearly, our paths were meant to cross.  Only a few months later, Rod joined me in New Zealand for my summer tour, and together, we opened for one of our biggest idols, Sting.  We eloped soon after, and that's when I moved my life permanently to Austin. 

Discovering Tulum
Now Mexico was on the radar, especially because, Rod had spent most of his childhood there.  Akumal was where his father, Julian, and dear friend, Dick, opened the first dive shop in the Yucatán Peninsula.  Rod's love for the region, and for cave diving, kept him coming back well into his adulthood.  Finally, he introduced his sanctuary to me, and I immediately felt right at home.  Tulum especially resonated, with the familiar backdrop of the jungle, beaches, cenotes and the unmistakable presence of, zen. To me, this was heaven on earth, and I knew I would keep coming back for more. 

Over time, I acquired many trinkets and clothing from Tulum, and would wear them on and off stage.  I was constantly approached by friends and fans, "Where did you get that?", and after a while I thought, "hmm... maybe I should start selling this sort of thing at shows and online?".   Two years of talking about it with Rod, and with my dear friend Paulina, (who started Maria Victoria five years ago on a shoestring and is now a global success), said to me, "Sheeelleeeeey, I'm tired of hearing about it, just do it!"  Oh and "I can help you" was a very important part of that conversation!  We sat down and worked on some designs and very quickly, I knew we were onto something special. Aside from the fact that all of our bags are hand made from 100% recycled plastic, I love that the designs remind me so much of where I come from, and where I am today.