Made in Britain
It’s an exciting time to be launching a brand that is hand-on-heart Made in Britain – and the stratospherically successful Cambridge Satchel Company is testament to what can be possible when you stick to your guns and embrace Made in Britain.
Cambridge Satchel Company
This week the Cambridge Satchel Co. open their first pop-up store in Spitalfields Market in East London and I explore in brief what has made the old school satchel – inspired by Harry Potter – a global success.
Around the kitchen table at her home near Cambridge in 2008, The Cambridge Satchel Company was born after Julie Deane and her mother came up with a plan to make a few satchels to a traditional design. Starting out with just £600, and adamant from the outset to keep manufacturing in the UK, the colourful satchels have enjoyed global success and today is exported to 110 countries. Prestigious stockists include Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Bloomingdales and Niemen Marcus and brand collaborations include Comme des Garcons, Christopher Shannon and Vivienne Westwood. In additional to its colourful traditional satchels, the range now includes accessories and fabulous good old-fashioned storage trunks.
Fashion bloggers loved Julie’s satchels from the early days, helping catapault Cambridge satchels up to the heights of fashion stardom. To show her appreciation, Julie’s first store, in London’s Covent Garden, features a basement Blogger’s Lounge for passing bloggers to hang-out, write and have a cuppa. So impressive is Julie’s story of embracing social media, the Cambridge Satchel Co. success story has been told across the world on a Google Chrome advert, snowballing a following for her products even further.
I first heard Julie’s story at Pure trade show in London earlier this year. Passion is a most vital component to success in fashion, she said, and recounted her determination to find a manufacturer and her refusal to take no for an answer. Without a fashion background, Julie has shown how her passion for her venture, and being resolute about her determination to keep her manufacturing in the UK, have paid off.
Despite rapid growth and stocking retailers in 110 countries, the Cambridge Satchel Company remains firmly committed to UK manufacturing and in 2012 opened a 30,000ft factory in Leicestershire taking on young apprentices to train a new generation in the craft of leather working.
Opening in Spitalfields
And in response to London retail demand, Cambridge Satchels are opening another store in the heart of London Spitalfields. The new pop-up store opened last week in one of London’s coolest shopping areas, just in time for Christmas and includes a range of new colours and prints which also sees the label expand into mini satchels with matching journals and notepads in a limited edition capsule collection, which is bound to be a another success.
“There is one part of London that has long been home to vintage, and from December 2013 it is home to us – we are proud to announce the arrival of London East, our pop-up shop at Spitalfields just in time for Christmas.”
With many accolades now under her belt including ‘Best British Entrepreneur’, ‘Manufacturing Entrepreneur’ and ‘Export Entrepreneur’ of the year’ at the Great British Entrepreneur awards, 2013 really has been a fantastic year for the still very young company. As part of the delegation who recently travelled to China with the Prime Minister to promote British business, the Cambridge Satchel Company has firmly established itself as one of Made in Britain’s fashion elites.
Long may success continue for Julie and other British brands committed to high quality, great style and the integrity that comes with making it local. Thank you, Julie!