Cambridge Satchel founder exits after sale to Chargeurs
Julie Deane has stepped down as chief executive of the Cambridge Satchel Co, the British accessories business that she founded with only £600 in 2008 and sold to French textiles giant Chargeurs this summer.
She’s been replaced by Carine de Koenigswarter, CEO and Chair of the Chargeurs-owned Swaine Group.
Swaine is the label Chargeurs acquired last year and that has been brought together with Cambridge Satchel to form the basis of an upscale brand grouping focused on British-made products.
Cambridge Satchel made a big impact in its early days and was a favourite business for on-trend brands to launch collaborations. The collabs it created included Comme des Garçons, Vivienne Westwood, J Crew, Melissa, and Ines de la Fressange.
However, the company has been loss-making for some years and Deane sold stakes to private equity firms.
Keen to maintain its UK factory base, Deane sold the business in August with Chargeurs having the deep pockets that would facilitate the investment Cambridge Satchel needs.
Julie Deane told The Times that her exit hadn’t been a forgone conclusion after the sale. She said: “It was incredibly important to me to safeguard the business and the jobs. Looking at the options we had, the best option was the acquisition by Chargeurs. They are a very big group and have the financial resources to reassure me the business is in good hands. I had fully intended to stay at Cambridge Satchel. It was only as things progressed it became clear that I had to act on my instincts. The new owners have their own vision and plans and I don’t want to be the miserable person in the corner. I am not the best at hiding my opinions.”
Carine de Koenigswarter said: “It’s an honour to take the baton from Julie Deane and move The Cambridge Satchel Co forward to its next stage. The success of the brand is proof that British craftsmanship, style and authenticity have a strong impact worldwide. Great Britain is known for its elegance and understated luxury. We at Swaine are committed to make Britishness the ultimate destination of true luxury.”
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