Cambridge Satchel Company opens Oxford luxe townhouse
Britain's Cambridge Satchel Company has opened its latest store, in central Oxford, the new location having the "look and feel of a vintage-style townhouse”. And in that respect it's an interesting development with townhouse concepts usually being used for much more ultra-luxe brands.
The premium bags specialist said that the location, which houses the regular collection plus an exclusive range, “underlines the brand’s classic and authentic heritage design”.
It’s in a key spot to attract tourists and tourists are clearly important to the brand given that it already has a store not far away in Bicester Village. The new shop is on Broad Street, with customers being “greeted by a series of rooms including a cosy drawing room, a library filled with antique leather-bound books and a high-ceiling atrium. Reflecting the brand’s love of colour, each room is painted in a distinctive palette from oxblood, to royal blue, racing green and soft pink”.
The 1,620 sq ft ‘store’ is split across five floors, and the building also features two rooms for “seasonal customer events and hosting VIP guests of the brand,” a key feature of any townhouse.
It’s undeniable that a townhouse approach works well within the confines of historic Oxford’s city centre, but it’s still surprising that the brand has gone down this route as townhouses are the favoured option of brands and retailers much further up the price scale — think Hackett’s new Savile Row location, or Matchesfashion’s Carlos Place home.
But with it being important for the brand to differentiate itself from satchel-based labels that sell at lower prices, the move makes sense.
And the location is big enough to show the entire brand offer in the best light. The line-up there includes the new Doctors Bag and The Sophie that were launched in 2019. These were the first in a new premium line that uses soft grain calf leather. Meanwhile, the exclusive-to-the-store Oxford Blue collection can be found in the Emily, Cloud and Poppy plus a selection of small leather goods including the brand’s cat and dog key charms.
Founder Julie Deane said that given the label’s hometown is Cambridge, it has “always had an affinity with university cities. Just a stone’s throw from Oxford’s famous colleges and The Bodleian Library, the location of our new shop makes perfect sense to us. We were thrilled to discover what a rich history our shop has had in Oxford – previously being a leather shoemaker and a leather-bound book specialist dating back to the early 18th Century”.
The 12-year-old company also has stores in its home city and Bicester Village, as mentioned, plus London’s Seven Dials, and Grass Market in Edinburgh.
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