Luxe bag brand Strathberry benefits from Meghan Markle effect

A small UK handbag brand has seen the Meghan Markle effect at first hand after sales of the bag she carried on Friday soared, with the item selling out fast. The four-year-old brand, based in Scotland, got a major boost as pictures of the Prince Harry and Markle’s first official engagement were circulated globally. 


Strathberry Instagram


In what now appears to have been an inspired move, brand founder Leeanne Hundleby had sent Markle some bags several weeks earlier, before her engagement to Prince Harry was announced. Hundleby, who started the label with her husband Guy in 2013, said the £495 tote bag sold out in 11 minutes. 

The company also said: “It was a fantastic surprise to see that Meghan selected one of our core styles to carry on her first royal engagement. The Strathberry midi tote tri-colour is now sold out and we will be restocking soon."

But aside from the impact that Markle has made on this one brand, the label’s experience is a major illustration of how much of a fashion influencer she is currently and will continue to be in the future. 

Royalty’s fashion influencer status varies depending on each individual royal family member, but we’ve already seen in recent decades how big an impact the leading royal ‘stars’ such as Diana, Princess of Wales and the Duchess of Cambridge (Kate Middleton) can make.

Meghan Markle has the potential to outdo both of them. She mixes the royal element with an undeniably well-dressed and attractive profile, plus the magic extra ingredient - Hollywood. Her headline-grabbing status as an American joining Britain’s royal family, as an African-American doing so, and as an established TV star, increases the exposure for any brand she chooses to wear.

Her reception in Nottingham on Friday was way beyond what might be expected for the fiancée of someone who’s fifth in line to the throne and Strathberry must be congratulating itself on one of the best pieces of influencer marketing ever.

So what is the label all about? The Hundlebys told The Telegraph they launched it because Scotland was lacking an international luxury accessories brand, despite having no experience in the fashion sector. It’s got a classic look with a distinctive signature - each of the firm’s bags is defined by its "clean lines and signature bar closure”.

The brand has been built since 2013 via a mix of traditional and modern techniques. On the traditional side, it uses handcraft-focused manufacturers in Spain to create each bag. More modern though is the fact that much of the buzz around the label was built via blogger engagement and that has helped it grow online, especially in China. And expansion funding has been achieved via that most contemporary of methods - Kickstarter. The brand raised £120,000 from a pool of 500+ backers, each of whom is probably feeling quite pleased at the moment.

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