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From the humble beginnings of a £600-pound budget, The Cambridge Satchel Company has since become a celebrated brand worldwide. Founded in Cambridge, England, by Julie Deane and her mother Freda Thomas in 2008, the brand hasn’t stopped growing since. The company now sells its products in over 120 countries and has made almost $21 million in profits.
This cult accessory was first created by Julie to raise funds for her children to attend private school. But, it completely catapulted to success in 2011. Inspired by traditional leather school bags for children, these accessories aim to diminish fast fashion trends and prioritise timeless styles. Below, we discover how The Cambridge Satchel Company uses sustainable methods to create its ” target=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener sponsored nofollow”>stunning bags.
What Ethical Practices Do The Cambridge Satchel Company Use?
The Cambridge Satchel Company uses many ethical practices. These all aim to reduce waste and negative environmental impact. Firstly, their satchels are made using natural leather hides.
While they may be unsuitable for vegans, the hides are by-products of livestock farming. These materials would have otherwise been binned. So, the company tries its best to make use of ‘unwanted’ resources.
Secondly, the company makes products that are long-lasting and free of synthetic materials. Say goodbye to throwaway fast-fashion pieces. These satchels are made from sturdy leather, which is very resilient and will stand the test of time. This makes buying cheap quality bags seem totally pointless and highlights the importance of slow fashion.
Even if your bag is eventually damaged, the company offers free lifetime repairs on all purchases. Whether it be a full restoration or replacing a single buckle, the company will always offer a hand. They also use every scrap of fibre they can to create their bags. For instance, they make animal keychains out of scrap leather so that nothing is discarded.
Their packaging also reduces waste. Satchels are delivered in ethically-made cotton bags instead of plastic. These can be reused for many purposes. Why not use it as a fruit and veg bag at the supermarket or a laundry bag? The choice is yours.
How Does the Cambridge Satchel Company Reduce Their Environmental Impact?
Next, the company tries to reduce its carbon footprint wherever possible. When delivering, the firm travels the shortest distance possible to bring you your item. If you live in Cambridge, they even deliver it by bike!
For other UK orders, their factory is located on the mainland in Leicester. This reduces any fuel wastage from aeroplanes often used by companies who cheaply import their products from abroad.
While other businesses use slave labour from overseas, The Cambridge Satchel Company looks after its talented workers. Deane stated, “Even when I had a 16,000 bag backlog, I fired an unethical manufacturer rather than work with him”. Once again, this shows how important ethical work practices are to the owner.
How Is The Cambridge Satchel Company Aiming to Be More Sustainable?
Since 2018, the company has paired with multiple charities to raise money for the conservation of animals. Partnering with The Aspinall Foundation in 2018, the company aimed to increase awareness for the protection of giraffes. Fittingly, their special designs featured an iconic giraffe print motif.
20 percent of profits from every bag sold was donated to the charity. These funds helped to breed endangered giraffe species. Where possible, the giraffes were also released to protected areas where they could live out the rest of their lives in the wild.
The foundation also breeds and releases various other species. These include Gorillas, Black Rhinos, and Clouded Leopards to name a few. So, not only are customers buying a beautiful bag, but they are also helping to protect wildlife.
Plus, the company helps to create opportunities like those made for Deane’s children not long ago. Through contribution schemes with The Royal Opera House and the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST), Deane helps to provide life chances for young people. This helps to invest in the future, educating young people on the importance of sustainability looking forward.
Both of these projects demonstrate that the company not only seeks to perfect its own ethical practices, but also aims to spread the message of sustainability to the next generation and to the wider public.
How Could The Company Improve Its Sustainability Practices?
While the company clearly prioritises ethical practice, there is always room for improvement when it comes to sustainability. Although the company respectably makes their bags, they do come in tens of different colours.
While it’s good to give customers a range of products, the vast array of colours would suggest that there are a number of different dyeing processes all taking place at once. Reducing this range could help to lessen the number of chemicals needed during production and would give buyers a more limited but refined choice.
Although they do have a vegan range of bags, the company could also look into branching out from their traditional leather to recycled materials instead. Their practice at the present somewhat reinforces the meat industry by using ‘wasted’ materials. In reality, the meat industry still accounts for almost 15% of all global greenhouse gas emissions and so using leather perpetuates it.
What Are Their Best-Selling Products?
There are heaps of best-selling products that are all very popular with customers. Much-loved styles include ” target=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener sponsored nofollow”>the Bowls Bag priced at £195, the Poppy sold at £175, and the Sophie at £425. Although they seem expensive at first glance, customers must consider the lifetime repairs feature on all purchases. Instead of buying 10 new £20 bags that are bound to break or become untrendy over time, why not buy one eco-friendly and timeless bag instead?
Overall, The Cambridge Satchel Company is a very sustainable brand that has done its best to reduce waste wherever possible. They have even been an international hit with hundreds of celebrities including Alexa Chung, Zooey Deschanel, and Taylor Swift.
You can find these bags on the official Cambridge Satchel Company Website or through a variety of vendors including John Lewis, Selfridges, and Gretna Green. What are you waiting for? Grab one for yourself today and make the change!
This post was featured on Links à la Mode fashion roundup by Independent Fashion Bloggers.
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