When you think of the tiny country that is Scotland, the following may spring to mind: Calvin Harris, tartan kilts, bagpipes, and rolling green hills – but luxury handbags? Never. Until now.
Born in 2013 in Edinburgh, Strathberry is the brainchild of Guy and Leeanne Hundleby. The brand is all about luxury, quality, and authenticity. Creating beautiful handcrafted leather bags, it caters to the woman who appreciates sophistication in her accessories. Drawing inspiration from its roots, the Scottish label uses rich tones and fabrics on its creations, finishing each shape off with a signature bar closure.
Today, the brand is popular amongst “It” girls all over Europe as well as celebrities across the pond. But, for the first time ever, Strathberry is coming to the Middle East. In anticipation, Savoir Flair sat down with co-founder Leeanne for an exclusive chat about her brand, her inspirations, and what’s next. Discover ten need-to-know facts about the designer and her label, below.
Strathberry was created by a husband-and-wife duo.
“When my husband and I first met, we always knew we’d love to build a brand together. In the early days, our studio was attached to our house, which meant we were able to integrate family and work life together pretty well. We have four kids and a dog, so life is never quiet or dull!”
The signature bar closure has a hidden meaning.
“The Strathberry collection is defined by its signature metal bar, which is a part of our DNA and inherited from the leather sheet music folios of musicians and performers. Both functional and elegant, the bar is clearly and easily recognizable, which was something very important to us from the beginning. We wanted people to be able to easily identify a Strathberry bag.”
The brand is influenced by its Scottish roots.
“Originally, the thinking behind the label was simply based on the observation that Scotland didn’t have a standout international luxury accessories brand, and we thought it would be an exciting space to develop. Over time, however, I have been amazed by how much our surroundings have shaped our collections in terms of colors, materials, and imagery. For example, the FW17 season has been strongly influenced by nature and the beauty of the Scottish wilderness in winter. As such, we have focused on strong earthy tones and introduced sumptuous new textures and materials that represent the landscape.”
Strathberry works with a family of Spanish artisans.
“Whilst traveling around Spain, we stumbled upon these amazing families who had embraced working with leather down through the generations. We were super impressed by their skills and high attention to detail. Their understanding of leatherwork, in many ways, is unparalleled. We still work with these factories, to this day.”
For the brand, a relaxed work environment is a happy one.
“We have a dog-friendly office and, on any given day, can have three or four dogs roaming around our feet! We also always celebrate with a cake when it’s a colleague’s birthday, but play a different version of ‘Happy Birthday’ over the music system each time. We’re soon going to run out of options!”
The Hundlebys are sentimental about their designs.
“The first ever Strathberry tote that we designed will always be special to us. We began by building paper models of the style that would go on to become our iconic bag. We experimented with shapes and proportions, lining up the paper models in a row. We would adjust handle sizes and bag depths until we felt the final design was perfect. To this day, we often pull together paper models to get a feel for a bag and its diameters.”
Strathberry is a hit in Hollywood.
Speaking of the qualities that her famous fans Margot Robbie and Julianne Hough have in common, Leeanne says, “The Strathberry customer is sophisticated and chic. She is an individual looking for something a little different. She likes to dress well, and appreciates quality and style. She is aware of fashion trends and not frightened to accessorize with color and shapes.”
Handbags are a personal passion for the designer.
“On my first ever trip to London, I went into a well-known luxury department store and was amazed by the beautiful bags and accessories on offer. From then on, I was hooked and would often buy glossy magazines to browse the beautiful photography and handbag images. Once I had secured a full-time job after university and started to bring home a monthly paycheck, the first thing I did was treat myself to a Mulberry bag!”
The couple respects the Middle East's love of quality.
“Women in the Middle East have a great sense of style when it comes to accessories. We felt they were not afraid to buy something a little different and show off their individuality. They also appreciate quality – something that is close to our hearts.”
2018 means big things for the brand.
“We are super excited about our SS18 collection, and have three new styles launching during the year. We are also progressing with a number of different collaborations that will take us in a new direction.”
Strathberry is available to buy here. The FW17 collection will also be available exclusively at Ounass this October.