I started The Cambridge Satchel Company almost 10 years ago. What started on my kitchen table as something to help me send the children to school has grown to include such an incredible following and enable me the opportunity to do things I never could have imagined.
We are incredibly lucky to have something that every young brand hopes for: customer loyalty. Our customers – who come from all over the world – are the most wonderful fan base we could ask for. But more than just buying our bags; they constantly act as our sounding board; telling us what they love, why they love something and how they use it in their daily lives, and what else they wish we made. They love the Britishness of our brand, the fact that all our bags are made here in the UK, and that even though we’ve grown since our humble beginnings, that we haven’t changed or strayed from our principles.
As we near our 10th anniversary next year, I’ve been thinking about how we can continue to grow as a company and offer our customers something completely new. So I am thrilled to be launching the next phase for our brand: Cambridge Life.
Cambridge really is the most incredible place; it’s my home and my constant source of inspiration. Looking around – the grand old buildings, the bikes whizzing past, the bustling market, the wonderful coffee shops, the passion that people put in to their work here and the talent we’re surrounded by – it’s very hard not to be inspired by this place. It doesn’t matter that I’ve been here for so long; I still feel lucky to live here. With that backdrop, it’s easy to create something that has been styled and designed in a timeless way because you can’t turn your back on that much history and tradition.
Cambridge Life is about taking a piece of Cambridge into your homes and your daily life; small pleasures that make life that bit more joyful. Life can be so stressful but we believe there is a different way of doing things; balancing a hectic schedule whilst also ensuring you’re nurtured, happy, and taking time for the things that matter.
We’re initially launching Cambridge Life with a small but beautifully formed offering: cashmere scarves to make autumn bike rides or long train journeys a little more cosy, scented diffusers to ensure your house never smells of it’s furry inhabitants (beloved though they are), and scented candles to signify a moment of pause and precious ‘me time’ when you light it each evening.
It’s no secret that running The Cambridge Satchel Company, maintaining its growth and taking all the opportunities that come our way has been challenging. I confess that there was a period, when the business was growing and the team expanded, that I felt quite disconnected from it. During that time, one of the most important things for me was to make sure everything at home felt good and happy – that when all around me felt frantic, my home was a sanctuary. It might sound rather superficial, but sometimes when it feels like you can’t cope with another thing or there aren’t enough hours in the day, it helps to come home and put on the kettle and light a beautiful candle that makes you feel, even just for one minute, that you’re on top of it all. There are some things that you can’t sort out with a good smell, but a good smell never hurts!
For me, that smell needed to reflect all the things I love about my city; green notes to reflect the College gardens and my own love of gardening, ozonic notes to reflect the fresh air and the tranquility of the river going through Cambridge and the depth of the city; vanillin reminiscent of the smell of old library books, and – because I am English after all – bergamot to evoke the joy of a steaming cup of Earl Grey tea.
The cashmere scarves were inspired by the oversized scarves that the Cambridge Boat Club ‘boaties’ wear. It’s wider than any you’ll find – meaning it can double as a security blanket on your travels – and long enough to loop around a few times and still fall beautifully. It needed to be the softest scarf I had ever touched, and unisex too.
As we move forward, we’ll be launching more products that we hope will bring you a little Cambridge happiness; whether you’re at home, in your garden, or out and about. But for now, I hope you’ll enjoy a quiet moment of joy and the comfort these new pieces will bring you.
We hope you love them as much as we do!
- Julie xx