By Donald Jay Howton

Valeria Mallory of Birmingham has been passionate about handbags and fashion for many years. Originally from Bessemer, she is a 1990 graduate of Jess Lanier High School. Valeria often says, “I went looking for a job and hired myself.” She started It’s ME Handbags in 2017. Talkative and friendly, she enjoys ministering to people. She is sensitive to the needs of others. Valeria’s handbags complement her smart casual style of dress. Along with selling handbags, she also enjoys making gift baskets. She simply loves her work.

What is It’s ME Handbags? Valeria: The ME comes from the first letter in my last name Mallory and the letter E is for empire. It is my goal to build an empire for my family that will continue for generations.

What type of handbags do you sell? Valeria: I mostly sell ostrich skin handbags. However, the inspired Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Gucci handbags are always in high demand. Everyone also loves my crossbodies, duffel bags and wallets.

How do you market your handbags? Valeria: I attend several conferences, conventions and pop-up shops throughout the Southeast. The church conferences are my favorite because I get to minister to people through my gift of Word of Knowledge. My soul is fed at the same time. At the events I able to meet many pastors and shepherds who do God’s work in the kingdom.

Tell me about your family? Valeria: I was born in 1970 the youngest of two siblings to Mary Burton and the late Earl Brown of Bessemer. I have five children, Tashonia, 36, LaToya, 32, Chariot, 24, Chaise, 23 and Christian, 19. I have been a member of Rivers of Living Water Faith Church since 2003.

Where do you see the business in 10 years? Valeria: I hope to have a storefront. I am excited about one day having my own label of handbags.

What is your favorite meal? Valeria: I enjoy a traditional Southern meal especially ox tails, collard greens, pinto beans, mac and cheese, squash, cornbread and for dessert peach cobbler.

How does the public contact you? Valeria: For orders or questions, my telephone number is 205-213-0561. My email address is I am available to do home shows and conferences. I have bling t-shirts and jewelry for sale as well.

What is your favorite music? Valeria: I really enjoy listening to gospel music. My favorite gospel song is “You Know My Name” by Tasha Cobbs.

Do you have a favorite Christmas movie? Valeria: “Almost Christmas” starring Danny Glover and Mo’Nique.

What is your favorite Thanksgiving dessert? Valeria: I love sweet potato pie.