Michigan Bespoke Luxury Leather Goods Beau Satchelle Interview #1
I have received so many compliments about my new yellow Michelle Designer Handbag. It just adds elegance and class to every single outfit. You may have already noticed that I pretty much use it non-stop. It’s become my go-to bag!
This hand crafted designer bag also brought in many questions about the low profile, Michigan based and made luxury brand behind it. So today, let’s take a look inside this local gem, Beau Sachelle and you may just fall in love with them even more. Read the interview with T. Michael, Luxury Designer/Leather Artisan at Beau Satchelle LLC. This is part 1; please come back next Wednesday to read part 2.
1. Tell us a little bit about Beau Satchelle and what sets your products apart?
Beau Satchelle stands for Beau is beautiful in French and Satchelle, pronounced like Michelle where the ‘T’ is silent, stands for Handbag or Satchel; thus meaning “Beautiful Handbag”. We build beautiful handbags!
Our guiding principle is “Bespoke Luxury for the Discerning Individual” which stands for meticulously handcrafted luxury for those who have had the latest Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Michael Kors etc, and want something different from the normal. We also cater to those who desire to express their individuality or want an heirloom luxury good that has functionality to fit their everyday lifestyle. Rather be it a travel bag with enough room to fit all of your necessities including tech accessories neatly in its place, to an evening clutch bag to match the gown or new shoes purchased for a charity, holiday or after five event, we can make sure you have a highly crafted quality leather good and conversation piece all in one.
With our vision, passion and craftsmanship, we always keep the professional and the connoisseur in mind. And, the gratification we feel when an owner of one of our luxury goods says “I just love my new bag” is what sets us apart because each hand-stitched bespoke piece has T. Michael’s stitch signature throughout.
2. You are the Luxury Designer and Leather Artisan behind Beau Satchelle, tell us a little about how that started.
Unaware of the way life would bring me back to leather working, the initial urge hit me back in college when I was unable to find quality belts without breaking the bank. So, I searched and sought a way to build my own. Finding the local leather store and reading books on belt making, purchasing and using the right tools was the first step in what was then a necessity gone hobby to now a startup business.
Later in life, the situation reoccurred with the need of another briefcase after my career took me through several ‘brand named’ cases where each only survived 2-3 years tops. I desired high quality craftsmanship without having to spend a fortune then turning the corner to find the same product elsewhere for less. The searching was not only frustrating, it took up quite a bit of time and I decided to have a go at it again and create something myself.
Having an Engineering background during the country’s recession, I knew that whatever I put my mind to, I could see it through. Not knowing what that was until I took to the internet and started inquiring about the art of leather work and leather crafting. It was fascinating! Not only did I start to heavily engage in learning this art, I decided to take on the truest form of it: hand-stitching.
A leather sewing machine was, at that time out of the question and budget. Knowing that if I invest in something, I could soon get tired of it or get back to network engineering work; it would stay there collecting dust, depreciate in value and would be a waste of finances. With that in mind, the quest for more ‘traditional’ leather working continued.
I became more and more amazed with the results of what two needles and waxed thread could make when freshly cut leather is stitched together. How I lay out the leather hide, cut evenly shaped, sized and accurate pieces, add some stitching holes and build something to hold personal items and valuables is rewarding and humbling.
3. In this age of using machines for just about everything, what sparked your interest in hand crafted luxury leather goods?
Good Question! Some companies make their leather products with sewing machines and call them ‘hand-stitched.’ However, they’re actually machine sewn products that are driven by the worker’s hands and not some sort of programmed or robotic sewing machine; this makes a significant difference in the final product.
All of our leather goods are actually sewn by hand with the traditional ‘saddle stitch’ and is by far the superior stitch when sewn properly. This doesn’t discredit machine sewn products as some have great quality as well. It just comes down to a matter of preference and taste.
The main difference is how the two stitching methods refer to the production process. The saddle stitch goes through each hole in the leather (twice) as opposed to machine stitching where is doesn’t go ‘totally’ through all pieces. It has a thread at the top and bottom that loop each other in the middle of the leather. And, if a stitch happens to break or come undone, the line of stitches could possibly unravel causing that whole piece of leather to come apart. This will not happen with the saddle-stitch!
Please remember that many machine made products are constructed very well; we just want you to know that handmade takes longer and is why ordering bespoke products will normally cost you more.
4. There are many designer luxury handbags on the market, what does “real luxury” in a bag mean to you?
“Real luxury” means many things to me but the most important I find to be the quality of materials and superior craftsmanship whether it is by hand or machine. This is very important for durability and longevity. However, design, branding and lifestyle play an important roll as well.
5. I know you hand craft those amazing bags, how long does it usually take for you to make one?
The art of handcraft has many steps; from design to pattern making, sampling to modifications, hand cutting materials to assembling, hand-stitching to edge burnishing and finishing to hardware installation, just to name the basics. Many people would be in awe of the many additional steps that are required to complete our bespoke leather luxuries.
I would say that if we already have our pattern completed and have sampled the product and it is ready for production, depending on the degree of difficulty, it could take 20-40 hours to build and complete an average sized handbag by hand without any machines.
6. How would you describe your design style?
My design style is traditional, classic and elegant with a touch of modern luxury. I have an admiration for designers of luxury sedans and boutique style luxury hotels that have been brought current with the amenities of modern day times; technology, insulation, functionality and the creature comforts of today’s designers and the lifestyles they showcase. It is a delicate balance that I continue to try and perfect with our luxury products and branding here at Beau Satchelle.
7. What projects are you working on right now?
Glad you asked! The Michelle Luxury Designer Handbag; the one you own will be built in colors for Spring/Summer2017 but only one per color and there will be no duplicates. We want to roll out a limited edition in 3-5 color combinations in honor of our current first lady’s new venture upon leaving The White House.
Another project we are currently excited about is a bespoke travel tote made with French calfskin; lightweight and the perfect ‘carry-on’ size for the traveler who’s taking a weekend trip or just doesn’t want to check a bag. It is airport and tech friendly and will provide a mobile charging station for your Smartphone and tablet. Its user functionality will make getting through customs a breeze. We will introduce this one right before the winter holidays!
To be continued!
What does luxury mean to you? For me, true luxury is how the human component interacts with the element of time–it’s the years spent perfecting a particular skill that can be used only on the finest products. It shows the obvious pride of the craftsperson behind it and stands the test of time, just like what T. does every day. Follow Beau Satchelle’s Instagram to see the newest product updates. I can’t tell you how cool it is to own a product that can not only last you a lifetime, but is truly a “one of a kind”. The best part? It attracts exactly the right kind of attention and appreciation for you.
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All videos and photos if not credited to a certain person, are by Robert Buck and Grace Liang.
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