Object of Affection: The Cambridge Satchel Company

I’m a sucker for a big beautiful bag. But I don’t want a brand name splattered all over it. And I sure won’t (and can’t) spend the silly stupid prices the latest “it bags” go for. I want something that’s interesting, well made, and ample enough to fit the contents of a studio apartment.

I’ve found it at the Cambridge Satchel Company.

This is a baller bag…for a brainy woman. (Even if it was originally designed for brilliant British school kids with cute accents.)

The company is young. It was started in 2008 by a British woman who mainly wanted to earn extra money for her daughter’s school fees. "I was quite obsessed with satchels at the time,” said founder Julia Deane. “I was reading Harry Potter to my children and I wanted to find them, because they are exactly what Harry and Hermione would have used at Hogwarts."

Little did she know the magic that would transpire.


Cambridge Satchel Company Neon Collection

Four years later, these satchels are a worldwide phenom. Still handmade in Britain, they’re now available in every hue imaginable. In fact, I’m going out on a fashion limb here and proclaiming that the satchel-style bags like those from Proenza Schouler (this version retails for $1,595) and Kate Spade (going for a more modest $368) are really just offspring of the Cambridge Satchel. Which can be had for well under $200, even accounting for the pounds-to-dollar conversion…

Proenza Schouler Satchel

Kate Spade Satchel

In other words, this is the real thing. Those other “it bags” are mere copies. And if that weren’t enough, they’ll even monogram your Cambridge Satchel with your initials (instead of someone else’s brand).

Monogrammed Cambridge Satchel - Hmm, those initials look familiar. Coincidence?

A good education doesn’t have to be wasted on the young. Now you know.


About Cindy Wall

Cindy’s a communications and marketing pro, a writer, a grammar snob, and a rapacious reader. In her own words, she knows “a little about a lot” — i.e., 19th century literature, Karl Lagerfeld’s latest adventures, professional bike racing, and when to use the Oxford comma. She’s a fan of indie film and music — and bullish on local eating and shopping.