Established in 2013, Edinburgh-based luxury label Strathberry has become an international favourite since first spotted on Meghan Markle.
Meghan has been seen carrying the brand’s designs since her very first official royal outing with Prince Harry in Nottingham in December 2017 and naturally, everyone now wants one (or two) of their creations.
This November, Strathberry will launch an exclusive Middle East capsule collection available at Harvey Nichols – Dubai, featuring an elegant version of The Strathberry Nano Tote in luxurious embossed croc available in a range of bold yet sophisticated colours perfect for the holiday season.
Co-owner and founder Leeanne Hundleby talks to A&E about the ‘Meghan Effect’ on the brand and their plans for the future.
Tell us a little bit about your background and how you started Strathberry.
Strathberry was founded by my husband Guy and I. We always had a passion for beautiful handcrafted leather goods and a strong interest in design. On our travels with our kids, we were exploring the artisanal leather regions of Spain and were inspired by the generations of craftsmanship and skills in working with leather. We had a desire to create a brand in Scotland that had an international outlook and so established Strathberry when we returned to the UK. We started by building paper model versions of the now iconic Strathberry shapes and ran the business out of the studio attached to our house for the first few years.
Why did you decide to base it in Edinburgh?
I am from Ireland while Guy is from Scotland and Edinburgh is where our family – counting four kids and a dog called Jess – is based. Edinburgh is a stunning city with plenty to offer and we could not imagine a better home for Strathberry.
What is the current design scene in Scotland?
Edinburgh has a thriving and fast-growing design scene and it is a great place for creatives who want to work in fashion and design but want to be based somewhere a bit less frantic. We are only a few hours on the train from London so it can offer a fantastic work life balance. Scotland, in general, is a unique source of inspiration with its stunning scenery and beautiful landscape.
Describe the creative process and manufacturing?
The bags are designed in our Edinburgh office and beautifully handcrafted in the mountain regions of Spain. Both Guy and I are actively involved in the creative process and craftsmanship and attention to detail are at the core of our work here at Strathberry. We work very closely with our workshops and they have really helped us to grow our knowledge throughout the years. We are perfectionists and always aim to produce high quality luxury products for our customers to cherish year after year while still being true to Strathberry’s clean and contemporary aesthetic.
What do you think makes Strathberry different from other leather bag brands?
At Strathberry we have a huge focus on creativity and quality – there aren’t many brands offering the same level of considered design, attention to detail and quality at our price points. We simply don’t cut corners and love the fact that we are able to offer customers a product which is so carefully designed and beautifully made, yet at a price point which is more accessible. In addition, our recognizable silhouettes and use of the metal bar have become a brand signature.
How has your label evolved since the ‘Meghan Markle’ effect?
The response has been phenomenal since Meghan carried the three bags. We were already beginning to take the brand internationally, and have noticed an increased demand and awareness for the brand cross the globe. We have now secured more wholesale accounts and have observed an increased interest from fashion press and influencers.
How important was this royal recognition for the growth of your business?
Whilst we were already taking the brand internationally it would be fair to say that Meghan does carry significant influence and by carrying a bag from our collection she did excel the growth of the brand exponentially.
Who else would you like to see carrying your bags?
There are so many fantastic women we would love to see carrying our bag, from Beyoncé to Queen Rania of Jordan.
What challenges do you face today?
There are many challenges we face today from adapting to the latest technology to knowing our customers and treating them with a personal touch. However to be honest we always try to look at challenges as opportunities. We try to stay open-minded, flexible and innovative in our approach and attitude.
Why did you decide to create a capsule collection for the Middle East?
We always love working with our retail partners as it enables us to offer something different to our customers and we were delighted to work on a capsule for the Middle East. In this capsule collection we have reworked one of our iconic styles, the Strathberry Nano Tote, in luxurious embossed croc in a range of bold yet sophisticated colours.
How would you define luxury?
I would define luxury by the ethos for quality and craftsmanship, which is integral to Strathberry. Each bag can take up to 20 hours to make and they are handmade in limited quantities by skilled artisans.
What’s next for Strathberry?
We are opening our first store in London this November which is a massive milestone for the brand. We also have a number of exciting new styles and collaborations coming out in 2019.
Describe the view from your window today…
Strathberry HQ is a Georgian townhouse in Edinburgh’s West End, we are very fortunate and can see Edinburgh castle from the window.
What’s your personal motto?
As I have the 4 kids I find myself using the two same mottos over and over again.
- Manners Maketh The Man
- Treat others how you would want to be treated.
I think these are great mottos for a family.