SEVERE WX : Winter Weather Advisory View Alerts

How Meghan Markle put this brand's bags on the map

When Meghan Markle stepped out of a limousine for a stroll with Prince Harry just before Christmas, she gave a big bo...

Posted: Apr 12, 2018 12:00 PM
Updated: Apr 12, 2018 12:00 PM

When Meghan Markle stepped out of a limousine for a stroll with Prince Harry just before Christmas, she gave a big boost to a small Scottish company.

The couple was visiting the city of Nottingham on their first official royal event following their engagement. For Leeanne Hundleby, co-founder of Scottish leather goods brand Strathberry, the most important thing was what Markle was carrying -- one of the company's bags.

"I was in a meeting and received a message from one of my colleagues," she told CNNMoney. "Soon after the phones started ringing constantly."

After Markle wore the company's $675 midi tote, the bag sold out in 11 minutes on the company's website and traffic across Strathberry's sites that day skyrocketed 5,000%.

It was a huge boost to Hundleby and her husband, Guy Hundleby, the company's other founder.

The Edinburgh-based couple set up Strathberry in 2013. Their inspiration had come from a trip to Spain the previous year where they encountered a group of leather artisans.

"We always had a desire to do something different with our lives," Hundleby said. "We loved the idea of creating something global, yet still staying true to our roots."

They quit their jobs in production and finance to build the company. While neither had a background in fashion, they said design involving "clean lines and strong aesthetics" had always been a shared passion.

The couple, both of whom are 46 years old, work with Spanish artisans to make the bags, a process that can take up to 20 hours per product.

The name Strathberry is a nod to both the Scottish Gaelic word "strath," meaning a "wide river valley," and the berries that were traditionally used to dye Scottish materials.

For the first two years, the couple ran Strathberry out of their home, selling small, handmade batches of their bags at a few high end retailers in Britain.

In 2015, they launched a Kickstarter campaign that raised around -122,000 ($172,000). The money helped the brand expand its staff to about 20 employees and start selling bags in the United States, Asia and the Middle East.

Related: How a designer got his scarf into "Black Panther"

The Meghan effect

Strathberry bags had been carried in the past by celebrities including pop star Lily Allen, according to the company's Kickstarter page. But none of them had an impact on the scale of Markle.

And it's more than just a one-off bump. Strathberry's daily web traffic these days is roughly five times as high as it was before Markle was first spotted with the bag, Hundleby said.

In February, Markle gave the company another lift, carrying its $545 East/West Mini bag on a visit to Scotland. The bag sold out "almost immediately," Hundleby said.

Strathberry said the first bag "found its way" to Markle after the company shared some of its products with high-profile stylists.

That move paid off. This year, Strathberry expects sales to increase as much as 40% thanks to the growing awareness of its brand.

Related: Scotland's craft beer punks are bringing their brews to America

The majority of its spring and summer collection has already sold out, and it's planning to send its products into more department stores in the UK and Malaysia.

"This is hopefully only the start to our journey," Hundleby said.

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2699233

Reported Deaths: 57322
CountyCasesDeaths
Kings34720810951
Queens32440110394
Suffolk2527993673
Nassau2239883326
Bronx2123706802
New York1755004657
Westchester1473702354
Erie1222932028
Monroe960181244
Richmond919661967
Orange61473944
Onondaga58601808
Rockland55139782
Dutchess37627507
Albany33929409
Oneida32627634
Niagara28121414
Broome27865432
Saratoga24009222
Schenectady19020243
Ulster18785288
Rensselaer17067192
Chautauqua14614189
Oswego13890132
Putnam13013101
Chemung12630174
St. Lawrence12554143
Steuben12197187
Ontario11437118
Jefferson11088105
Wayne9986101
Cattaraugus9777154
Cayuga9585112
Sullivan939390
Genesee8444143
Herkimer8139141
Clinton790446
Fulton7678109
Tompkins728161
Madison7219108
Warren707094
Livingston703775
Montgomery7027159
Washington645676
Tioga623673
Cortland602088
Allegany5867119
Columbia5600113
Chenango545295
Orleans535995
Otsego525561
Franklin525325
Wyoming516664
Greene486188
Delaware428251
Lewis412539
Seneca314567
Essex292737
Schoharie261524
Yates195333
Schuyler187620
Hamilton5103
Unassigned1362
Out of NY0336
Utica
Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 20°
Oneonta
Cloudy
27° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 14°
Herkimer
Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 20°
Old Forge
Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 35° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 20°
WKTV Radar
WKTV Temperatures
WKTV Severe Weather
Game Day Deals - New Deals Each Week
Stuff the Bus Locations
Saluting Those Who Are Proud 2 Serve