Ever since first announcing her engagement to Prince Harry, the Duchess of Sussex has become one of the most-watched fashion icons in the world thanks to her chic style and love of classic, understated looks. And the brands she picks to wear are reaping the awards – a recent study found 'the Meghan effect' results in brands she wears enjoying a 35 per cent increase in their desirability. And one of those luck brands is Scottish luxury accessories label Strathberry – Prince Harry's wife has been spotted carrying its bags on three different occasions, including on her official visit to Edinburgh. As the brand prepares to open its first stand-alone London store in London's Burlington Arcade, we got husband and wife duo, Leeanne and Guy Hundleby to spill the beans on what it's really like to experience The Meghan Effect...
It’s no secret that the Meghan Effect struck when she wore one of your bags! Did you know she was going to wear it?
No it was a complete surprise! Like many other brands we have relationships with stylists and we believe the bag found its way to Meghan via one of them.
How did you find out the news?
The day last December when she carried her first Strathberry, I was in a meeting in the office and received a message from one of my colleagues.
What was your first reaction?
Initially, we were just delighted to see Meghan carrying our Midi Tote but soon afterwards the phones started ringing constantly. We were thrilled and honoured that she chose to carry a Strathberry bag. We saw sales increase immediately by about 200-300 per cent, which was fantastic.
The East/West range will be available in a variety of rainbow colours, exclusively available in the store
Did you have to hire more staff and rope in family members?
Our team is now double the size it was this time last year and we will soon be moving to a bigger office just around the corner. We also have a small team working from our unit in Spain and are now are very excited to be opening our first store in London.
Strathberry in London's Burlington Arcade
How did you celebrate the day she wore one of your designs?
It was such a busy yet exciting day for us and we did not have time to stop until the evening. But later on we took the whole family to our favourite restaurant in Edinburgh.
What was the most surreal moment from that time?
The phone ringing constantly and the amazing positive feedback we received from so many friends and colleagues around the country.
What do you think the USP of Strathberry is?
We have a huge focus on creativity and quality – there aren't many brands offering the same level of considered design, attention to detail and quality at our price points. In addition, our recognisable silhouettes and use of the metal bar have become a brand signature.
Do you want to pinch yourself with how far you've come?
It has been an amazing journey so far. Every so often we take a step back to reflect on how fantastic the last year has been. And now we're finally opening our first ever store in the heart of Mayfair at the luxury fashion destination, Burlington Arcade. The new boutique will be a home from home for Strathberry in London and we will be hosting events to showcase the brand's new collections.
It hasn't been all roses though, surely! What's been the hardest thing to navigate?
The balance of working life and family life. No matter how busy it gets in the office, the homework still needs to be completed on time and the dog still needs to be walked!
What's the plan for 2019? Tell us more!
There is certainly a lot of development in the pipeline, so do keep an eye out for updates! Next year we have a number of new styles launching and are also progressing with a number of different collaborations which will take us in a new direction. Burlington Arcade where our shop is based will also celebrate its 200th anniversary next year, and we're so excited to be part of such an historical shopping destination.
Strathberry Burlington Arcade opens 5 November.