I'm doing a series of giveaways on my Facebook page, dear readers! Just visit my page for a chance to win some fun prizes!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Vince gave me a handmade leather satchel!

I fell in love with the Cambridge Satchel a few months ago and was over the moon when I finally received it. But I had a few issues with it: the leather is too stiff, the hardware is made of nickel, and the buckles, the buckles! They are a terrible inconvenience when you're accosted by mall entrance guards asking to inspect your bag.

A lot of people who bought the bag also had the same comments. So I told Vince I wanted to improve the satchel's design. That was a couple of weeks ago. Now you know that the Cambridge Satchel was Vince's Valentine's gift to me so he didn't like it that I was not completely happy with his gift. So Vince (the best husband ever!) found a leather craftsman, told him what I wanted, and had a bag made to my specifications.

On Monday, I shrieked and shrieked when Vince handed me this:

When I showed it to some girls at work, they wanted one, too. Vince said the girls at his office said the same thing. So, hey, I'm going into the bag business! I have four designs lined up already and I'll be posting about them as soon as I have them ready. For now, all I have is the satchel. Do you want one, too?

I still have to tweak some details, like the tanning of the leather. It's completely tanned manually so there is an unevenness to the shades, dark brown here, lighter there. A lot of girls (even me actually) like that unevenness because it looks like faded leather. What do you think?

If you want to see the bag details, click here.

If you want to see the 13" dark chocolate version, click here.

*I didn't include my head because I have two huge pimples (twimples, Vince calls them) and I was having a bad hair day.  Outfit details: Kate Torralba halter top, Zara mini skirt, Nine West sandals


  1. I like! I hope you'll come up with bigger bags. :D

  2. WANT! <3 The uneven, aged finish is not for everyone but it's definitely my cup of tea! Perfect for my business casual days. :)

    I'd love to have one in black, same uneven finish. Ping me once you have more deets please. :)

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. And so this is THE bag...I am interested to know in what colors and sizes they come in :) hehehehehe! the stitching I like very much :) Best to have a guide on how to take good care of your leather bagssss...

  5. congratulations on your new business!

    i'm not into satchels so i'll be waiting for your other bag designs. i hope i can afford one :)

  6. I had similar hesitations with the branded bag coz it does look very stiff, though I love the colors.

    I am very excited with YOUR bag so I can have one soon ;))) I'd like mine to have a more even color though.

  7. hi ms. frances, sent you an email. that satchel is love at first sight!

  8. You are absolutely right about the cambridge satchel cheapo thing! When i carefully looked at it, I was thinking, are they serious when they tried to blogged how wonderful the bag is? Hehe. The material is very light and parang made in china. No offense to the cambridge satchel owners ha. But I really fell in love with the colors but the whole craftmanship thing - parang very ordinary at hindi cya worth it sa price nya!

    Wow, you are so business minded! Keep it up and more power!!! Can you make other than the brown bag?
    Do let me know and the PRICE ofcourse!

  9. the bag really looks nice, especially the model also =)

  10. Thanks everybody! I won't answer your questions here. Kindly send me an email and I will drown you in details!

  11. I do want to say that I love my Cambridge Satchel, despite all I said above.

    I also will have to offer my satchel in neutrals. I was told colors will be expensive na because of the special paint they have to use. Paint, you ask? Yes! Leather never comes in pink, yellow, red or blue! Unless it used to be an alien.

  12. That is superb craftsmanship!
    I like that the closure has magnetic snap buttons. This satchel reminds me a little of my school days ;-)
    Your hubby has GREAT taste and he obviously knows you very well!

    And congrats on your new bag business!!! Wish you loads of success!

  13. Hi Frances, it's a good idea to create the perfect satchel but I'm a little iffy on the ethics of basically copying the cambridge satchel (despite the tweaks). How would you feel if someone just copied your designs? In the craft world I think it's generally ok to copy and 'recraft' a design for personal use but it gets more complicated if you plan to sell them. It's just something to think about as you open your new business. Maybe you can consult some of your design friends regarding this issue?

  14. Hi Chat! Thank you for bringing that up. I think I will write a longer post about that topic but let me answer you now.

    In the fashion world, there is no copyright. Yes, that's why Coco Chanel has no claim on the pearl necklace, the tweed skirt suit and the quilted bag. Under current copyright law, things that have a utilitarian value are not protected by copyright. That will be clothes, shoes, furniture, notebooks, pens, etc.

    Of course, if it's the exact same design, that's blatant copying! If you actually look at my bag, it doesn't look like the Cambridge Satchel. You have to see it in person. It looks very rugged and weathered and tough. Not the cutesy love that is the Cambridge Satchel.

  15. Here's a video that helpfully explains that the free-for-all of fashion is what makes it a billion-dollar industry:

  16. Thanks for the reply Frances, I watched the video na. I guess I haven't really seen your satchel up close so I'm not too sure how different/similar they would be. While I disagree w/ some of the comments in the video (like how can she really compare the sales of food vs sales of books as a justification for the lack of copyright?) I understand that it is an ongoing conversation/debate w/ differing views on the issue, and she makes a lot of other valid points.

    Just to explain my comment, I wasn't making an accusation or anything (sorry if it seemed that way :( ). For a while back I sold etsy-type bags din, and it made me ask myself how much of my designs were "inspired" by others, how will I feel if someone made a very similar design but different material? That's why I said I was 'iffy' about it. I also haven't really figured out how I feel about the practice and how guilty I am of it.

  17. I like! Congrats on the new venture, F! Let me know when you have other colors or sizes, so I can feature you in my column. Game? :D

  18. Is that a 13" that you're modeling? Have you considered attaching a handle on it? That was one of my concerns about the Cambridge, only the biggest one has a top handle, if I remeber correctly. I just think it'll make it a little more versatile in terms of carrying options.

    BTW, I heard that you're swimming in orders already. Congrats!

  19. Chat, oh no worries, I don't feel accused at all. I'm sure some people wondered about what you wondered about so it's good to address it.

    I always say do as your conscience dictates. Honestly, I don't think you should feel guilty about selling bags "inspired" by others. The Mulberry Bayswater is "inspired" by the Hermes Birkin. Actually, a ton of designer bags look like the Birkin. There are a ton of totes, doctor's bags (or speedy as LV calls it), quilted bags, etc. No one's suing anybody.

    But if your conscience can't handle it, then yeah, do something else!

  20. Jane, sure! As soon as they're available, I'll send you a press kit =) Thanks!

  21. Dontsmile, it's the smallest one, the 11". We asked our leather artisan. He said it only makes sense to put a handle on the bigger bags. The smaller ones daw, it will just be a design thing. Maybe, maybe!

  22. Hi! I'm surfing for satchel when I stumbled to this. I've seen other satchel online which is also made in the Philippines but they are made of synthetic leather. Lucky!:D I'm interested, can I also ask for the details of the bag? (I hope I can afford it).XD my email is



  23. Thank heavens someone shares the same sentiments I have with the Cambridge satchel.

    You're very blessed to have a husband who'd go out of his way to please you, fashion-wise :)

  24. So pretty! I sent you an email :D


Thanks for dropping by my blog! It really means a lot that you spare the time to read... and comment!