Introducing Strathberry: Get to know the Scottish handbags beloved by the Duchess of Sussex
By Britt Burritt
Married team Leeanne and Guy Hundleby launched Strathberry from their family home in Scotland just five years ago. Today their luxury leather handbags have reached the arms of Meghan Markle, who has carried them on several royal engagements, including a visit to Edinburgh.
"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 nearly two years," says Leeanne. "It was the largest—and coldest—room in the house!" Then in 2015, the couple raised $160,000 in a Kickstarter campaign. "We had considered taking outside investment but decided against it," she says. "It was a very successful campaign."
Nowadays Strathberry, which launches at Nordstrom this month, is operated from a Georgian townhouse in Edinburgh. "Edinburgh is a unique position in that life is less frenetic than other larger cities, and we have the space to breathe and think creatively," says Leeanne. Being based in Edinburgh also means that the Hundlebys get to work where they live with their four children and a dog. "We start each day by checking who has responsibility for what car runs and pickups with the kids, and then it is into work," she says.
While all the design work is done by the couple and their Edinburgh team, the bags are produced in Spain by skilled artisans using the best leathers. A single Strathberry bag can take upwards of 20 hours to construct. But the intense work—3,500 stitches, 36 pieces of leather, 21 hardware details—is disguised behind the simplicity of the design.
Strathberry bags are elegantly discreet—there are no garish logos or crazy embellishments. A small gilded "Strathberry" is printed at the bottom of all the bags, and a handcrafted golden bar marks each one. The name was inspired by "strath," derived from the Gaelic word for a river valley. The couple added "berry" as a reference to the ancient tradition of dying textiles with jewel-toned fruits—and their bags are indeed richly hued.
This understated aesthetic is distinctive enough that the bags can be spotted in the hands of the duchess, Lady Gaga, Margot Robbie and Natalie Dormer, who are all fans. "It is always exciting to see influential and talented women carrying Strathberry designs," says Leeanne. "The Duchess of Sussex carrying Strathberry has been truly incredible and helped raise the brand's profile."