Strathberry’s capital investment in a pandemic

Less than a month after Strathberry opened its flagship store in Covent Garden, its owners and co-founders – husband and wife duo Guy and Leeanne Hundleby – tell Drapers why the Edinburgh-based accessories brand is prioritizing to London stores.

Strathberry-Covent Garden store

Strathberry is an Edinburgh-based luxury leather goods brand launched in 2013 by husband and wife Guy and Leeanne Hundleby. Its products, which include handbags, purses and silk scarves, are handcrafted in Spain.

It has four stores: two in Edinburgh and two in London. Retail prices range from £ 55 for a pair of cashmere mittens to £ 895 for an embossed crocodile-effect cookie bag.

Strathberry is stocked at over 19 retailers around the world, including Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue in the US and Canada, David Jones in Australia, Galeries Lafayette in China, and Bloomingdale’s and Harvey Nichols in Dubai. It will launch with US retailer Neiman Marcus in November. It is also stored online at the Shopbop Fashion Marketplace. Founders talk to Drapers about opening stores in London during the pandemic.

As a brand whose philosophy is centered on high-end craftsmanship and meticulous attention to detail, the development of a growth strategy integrating bricks and mortar in support of online sales has always been a priority. a priority for us. The in-store experience really allows our customers to directly feel and experience the quality of our products and interact with the brand in a more engaging way.

Since opening our first store in London’s Burlington Arcade in 2018, we’ve enjoyed our presence in the city, and Piccadilly is the place to be. We were able to connect not only with locals but also with international clients from all over the world.

AW21 cutter

London is a cosmopolitan, diverse and avant-garde city, where no neighborhood is the same, and having two stores in the capital (in Burlington Arcade and Covent Garden) gives us the opportunity to embrace all its facets and to interact. with different demographics.

The pandemic brought a whole new set of challenges, but we were fortunate enough to be able to invest in new store openings as retail went through such a difficult time and brands faced permanent closures and delays. intermittent closures. Online has always been an integral part of our business and we have been very fortunate and grateful to have the incredible support from our customers around the world throughout the pandemic. This has allowed us to reinvest in the business and focus on our growth from retail to support online sales.

In December last year, we opened our first flagship store in our hometown of Edinburgh – a real milestone that we found particularly important as a Scottish brand. Having to close doors just two weeks after the store opened to comply with the new restrictions has been a difficult time, but since reopening we have been overwhelmed by the positive feedback and support from our customers.

What we have witnessed throughout the pandemic is a renewed appetite for retail and unique in-store experiences, which complement and enrich online shopping. Stores can offer face-to-face interaction with knowledgeable staff and immediate product availability. It really gave us a boost to confidently move forward with our plans for not one but two more stores in London during Covid-19.

AW21 cutter

The Covent Garden store opened on September 21 and offers a selection of our best-selling and iconic styles, including our Lana Osette tote bags and handbags, as well as our premium line of accessories, such as makeup bags, charms and silk scarves, customizable on site. We wanted to bring a specific luxury boutique touch to this space and offer an exclusive range of small leather goods ideal for tourists to pick up and take on their travels or for locals to buy as gifts for loved ones.

For the King’s Road store, we have developed a concept that will come to life in the coming weeks as we prepare for the opening this fall. More than just a store, this will be Strathberry’s new home in London with offices and a showroom for meetings.

This is certainly a great time for the brand, and we want to consolidate our presence in London, while considering our future strategy to expand international retail, as we react to demand in our emerging markets. and established. The actual interaction with the product and the customers is paramount for Strathberry in the next step of its journey.