Julie Deane and her mother Freda are thinking of ways to pay school fees for Julie's children. If they could start a business right there from their kitchen with a Â£600 budget, what would it be?
A CUP OF TEA + A BIG IDEA
SATCHELS IT IS
Julie loved her old school satchel but you can't buy them anymore. Satchels it is. They quickly decide on a name, draw the logo and within (literally) a few hours, The Cambridge Satchel Company is born.
TESTING THE WATER
Julie finds a manufacturer to make her six satchels just to test the water. They're exactly what she imagined: 100% leather in a classic vintage brown and they sell very quickly.
OUR FIRST PHOTO SHOOT
Julie picks the children up from school one afternoon and they have Cambridge Satchel Companyâ€™s first ever photo-shoot. Julie pays our first models, Emily and Max, in lemonade and chocolate bars.
IN VOGUE (LITERALLY)
Julie and Freda begin to dream up satchels in other colours. Julie finds some bright post-box red offcuts from a run of belts at the manufacturers, and soon they have their first brightly coloured satchel. Italian Vogue call (can you imagine the excitement) to request a red satchel for a photo-shoot and they know they are onto something good.
ITâ€™S IN THE BAG
Soon the satchels that were originally intended for students are now being picked up by the fashion pack. Bloggers and editors are excited about the satchels in a way Julie could never have anticipated.
Julie reads an article about bloggers being the future of fashion and decides to reach out to fashion bloggers all over the world to tell them about her satchels. Meanwhile, production climbs steadily from three bags a week to nearly a hundred. Things are happening very quickly.
ALL ABOUT BLOGGERS
A CSC CHRISTMAS
A big boost in sales comes when one of Julie's red satchels is featured in the Guardian Christmas Gift Guide. The orders are flying in and at first Julie thinks there must be some kind of glitch. They work hard to keep up with the increased demand - Julie's kitchen has turned into Santa's workshop.
SATCHELS ON THE DANCEFLOOR
Julie notices a recent order under the name of Sophie Ellis Bextor. She emails and asks, â€œAre you THE Sophie Ellis Bextor?â€ She confirms that she is the singer, yes. Sophie is one of the first celebrities to be spotted in a satchel and she's been a big fan of the brand ever since.
CHICKEN PIE + AN IMPORTANT CALL
Urban Outfitters call one evening to place an order, just as Julie is taking a chicken pie out of the oven for tea. That's a whole new level of multi-tasking.
COLOUR ME HAPPY
Julie decides it's time to make the next coloured satchel. She launches a competition with blogger Jessica Quirk to choose a new colour. The response is unanimous and the next coloured satchel is, what Americans refer to as, Kelly Green.
Julie is contacted by fashion bloggers who want to wear her satchels to New York Fashion Week. The satchels are on show in all their glory on blogger's laps in the front row of all the big shows. By the end of the week, the satchels have caused a bit of a stir.
SPOTTED ON THE FROW
LET'S GET TOGETHER
Julie gets an unexpected call from Rei Kawakubo, founder of Comme des GarÃ§ons (also a family-run, kitchen start-up). He says he loves their brand (Freda says, â€œI didn't even know we had a brand!â€). They decide to work together to create the first Cambridge Satchel Company collaboration; a real pinch-me moment for Julie and her mum.
A HELPING HAND
The designer Erdem orders a satchel and offers to help Julie and Freda on their search for the perfect shade of yellow as a new colourway (which was very nice of him.)
BLOOMING GREAT NEWS!
Bloomingdales get in touch to say that really want to start stocking the satchels in their store. Julie can't quite believe it - her bags are going to be on sale on 5th Avenue in New York! By the school holidays, the whole family are standing outside Bloomingdales looking at a window filled with Cambridge satchels.
Coloured satchels continue to be an obsession with the fashion crowd. From the feedback from their customers, Julie's mum thinks purple should be the next focus (the purple people are out there!) but they can't seem to find a shade they're both happy with. One day she finds a notebook from WH Smith with a cover that is just the right colour. The purple satchel quickly follows.
THIS TIME, IT'S PERSONAL
Towards the end of the year, the introduction of a hand embossing and personalisation service means people can make their satchels, truly, one of a kind.
By now production has climbed to a dizzying 3,000 bags a week, and The Cambridge Satchel Company bags are selling in 86 countries worldwide. While this is great news for Julie and Freda, the current manufacturers simply can't keep up with demand.
ALL AROUND THE WORLD
Julie decides to take a huge leap of faith and take control of production. It's time to open the first Cambridge Satchel Company factory.
NOTHING'S GONNA STOP US
Three weeks later (despite the front of the factory falling off and having to be stuck back on), the cutting machines are in, the sewing machines are running and the first bag rolls off the line.
A VERY IMPORTANT REQUEST
One afternoon. Julie receives a very particular kind of request from the team at Elle magazine. Bright colours are going to be the next big thing and they want to know what's the brightest satchel Julie can make. Julie rises to the occasion and sends them the first fluoro satchel. A festival-goer's dream bag, the fluoro satchels are a summer favourite year after year.
THE ALEXA SEAL OF APPROVAL
In December, Alexa Chung is spotted with her small, but perfectly formed (and monogrammed), 11â€ Navy satchel. The nation swoons and everyone wants to know where she got that bag. Needless to say, it becomes the Christmas bestseller.
Julie's story inspires Google Chrome and she is selected to star in their upcoming TV advert, â€˜the web is what you make of it', receiving over six million views on YouTube. Julie, her family and Rupert the dog quickly become â€œYouTube sensationsâ€ and The Cambridge Satchel Company becomes a household name.
WHEN GOOGLE FOUND JULIE
10 DOWNING STREET
To celebrate the award they are invited to Downing Street to have tea with businesswoman and Prime Minister's wife, Samantha Cameron. Julie designs a satchel especially for the occasion. It is called, of course, The Downing.
RED HOT WOMEN
Julie and her mother Freda win Red Magazine's Red Hot Women of the Year award. â€œOh my goshâ€, says Freda, â€œI'm a red hot woman and I'm in my seventies. How about that?â€
XOXO, GOSSIP GIRL
The Cambridge Satchel Company makes its small screen debut when the satchels are featured in the US TV show Gossip Girl and one is also featured in The Good Wife.
After the success of their first pop-up store in 2012, in February, The Cambridge Satchel Company open their first ever store in Covent Garden, London. This is a big and exciting step for what has always been a growing online business.
BRICKS AND MORTAR
FROM ROYALTY TO POLITICS
David Cameron asks Julie to join him on a trip to China with a group of businesses looking to expand their links with the Far East.
NEXT STOP, BUCKINGHAM PALACE
The success of the company is now being recognised on a Royal scale. Julie and Freda are invited to Buckingham Palace to meet HRH, where they are awarded with the Queen's Award for International Trade.
INTRODUCING VIVIENNE WESTWOOD
In October the company launches what is, perhaps, the biggest and most exciting collaboration to date with none other than British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood. Julie and Freda can barely contain their excitement.
The much loved factory in Leicester has done Julie proud, but an increase in demand requires an even bigger premises. The new factory is three times the size!
CAMBRIDGE, WE LOVE YOU
Not to be left out, the birthplace and hometown of the brand, Cambridge, gets its own store soon after.
All those air miles to China seem to have paid off and the company starts selling satchels on TMall, China's biggest global online marketplace. This move sees a new wave of Cambridge Satchel Company fans on a global scale.
A WONDERFUL THING
It's been a (very) good year but it's not over just yet. It is announced that Julie is to be awarded with an OBE for her services to British industry.
Between the HQ and retail teams, there's a lot of new faces joining Julie, Freda and the ever-growing Cambridge Satchel Company family.
The team take their satchels north of the border - opening pop-up stores in Edinburgh and Glasgow in time for the Christmas rush. A new satchel is at the top of everyone's Christmas list.
FLYING THE FLAG
In October, a flagship store opens in the heart of London's Covent Garden, with the new London HQ above.
Back in China, Julie creates her own version of the Great Wall of China â€“ â€˜The Great Wall of Satchels' as part of a festival in Shanghai. Prince William drops in and pays a visit to see what all the fuss is about.
PRINCE WILLIAM DROPS BY
IF ITâ€™S GOOD ENOUGH FOR TAYLORâ€¦
Taylor Swift is spotted at New York fashion week and back home in LA with her oxblood Twist Lock Satchel. The workshop has to work overtime to keep up with the demand for our fastest ever selling bag.
SOMETHING FOR THE BOYS
Whilst men have always been keen to get in on the satchel action, Julie doesnâ€™t want them to feel left out, so the company launches its first ever dedicated Menâ€™s collection.
A WHOLE NEW SHOP
The men need somewhere to shop too so Julie and the team decide itâ€™s time to open a new store in Shortâ€™s Gardens in Seven Dials dedicated solely to menâ€™s bags and satchels.
GETTING SQUIGGLY WITH IT
The Cambridge Satchel Company and Vivienne Westwood collaborate on a second collection, featuring an iconic â€˜squiggleâ€™ print from the designerâ€™s archives. This time the print is not only used on satchels but on some of the other best-loved styles of bags.
BEST OF BRITISH
As someone who has been heralded as a British success story, Julie is asked by the Prime Minister to run an independent review on self employment in the UK. She will spend the next nine months preparing her report.