Cora Jacob, former criminal lawyer, now an internationally reknown handbag designer, was in London this week to speak at the "Power of the Purse" conference celebrating the empowerment of women. Cora's story is fascinating--she started Cojac Leather products while still practicing law some 30 years ago and experimented in using indigenous materials and leather in her native Philippines. She first sold her bags door to door, and in 1982, she got her break when Princess Stephanie of Monaco, who was a buyer for Christian Dior, saw her bags at a trade show. Cora received the Golden Shell Award in 1982 for marketing and export excellence. She is also admired for her focus on empowering women--her non-profit foundation, Cora Cares, trains women to make bags so they can support themselves. After a decade away from the company due to health issues, Cora came back, and with the help of her daughters, formed La Cora Creatives, which has four lines of designer handbags, one of which is designed by her youngest daughter, Pinky. I was lucky enough to meet Cora, and see her designs first hand, and they are stunning, as the photos below demonstrate.