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Charlotte Lamb

She used to be a lawyer, but the owner of handbag label Lamb 1887 tells Marie Davies she has a heritage in leather manufacturing

Why did you launch Lamb 1887?

My family has a history in leather footwear. My grandfather started the William Lamb Group in 1887, hence the brand name Lamb 1887. William Lamb footwear, which is based in Leeds, still designs and manufactures for brands such as Boden, Russell & Bromley and George at Asda. I’ve been brought up in the industry and have previously worked at William Lamb.

Those links must have helped with setting up Lamb 1887.

Certainly the infrastructure was there. Although we had to find another factory to produce the bags, it definitely helped with the production process.

Who are you designing for?

I wanted to design for the young professional in their 20s and 30s, who wants to buy quality but not pay over the odds for it. Most designer bags retail at £500 plus; I want to produce quality bags with value for money. All of the Lamb 1887 bags are made from Italian leather and lined with natural suede - surprisingly, even some of the higher-priced brands don’t do this.

What handbag styles are in the range, and what is the pricing architecture?

Wholesale prices go from £40 to £100, retailing at £99 to £240. There are seven styles and each one comes in a combination of three colourways that includes dove grey, nude, white, tan, purple and black. They range from clutch bags to a quilted tote and shoulder bag.

Do you have a background in design?

I don’t have any formal design training. I picked up a pen last year and started sketching and working from samples. My background is as a lawyer, which has helped me set up the business side - numbers make sense to me.

You launched a transactional website,, in April. Do you have any wholesale stockists too?

We were excited to get our first retail order a couple of weeks ago from Accent in Leeds, where we are now stocked. This premium boutique exemplifies the type of selected stores we are looking for.

So what retailers are you targeting?

A number of selected department stores such as Fenwick, John Lewis and House of Fraser, in addition to premium independents.

Do you have any stock available at short order?

The William Lamb Group parent company is doing the fulfilment, so we have huge capacity for stock and storage. Our first stocks have almost been exhausted from our internet sales but a second batch has now arrived and these bags are in the warehouse. Stock can be delivered almost immediately.

Where do you see the brand in three to five years?

Being stocked in leading department stores and retailers across the globe. To have global coverage would be the main goal, in cities such as New York and Hong Kong.


Quickfire questions

Which is your favourite style from your collection?

The Capri clutch in beige (left). It sold out within a couple of weeks online.

What brands do you admire?

Temperley London. I bought my first piece from Temperley when I was 20 and, years later, I still have that skirt and wear it regularly. The designs are timeless, feminine and glamorous.

Who would you like to see as the face of Lamb 1887?

Kate Middleton, Blake Lively or Emma Watson - they’re all classy and sexy.

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