Alder is a new British brand offering luxury leather bags, designed by Sarah McGill, a former flight attendant who wanted to offer the seemingly unobtainable – a laptop bag that is protective, comfortable to carry and that looks stylish.
Despite launching just last year on International Women’s Day, 2019, Alder has already won a loyal fanbase thanks to a range of bags that uniquely strike a balance between utility and elegance.
Sarah’s previous career working as air crew for an international airline meant she travelled extensively and was familiar with the world of international travel, luggage and bags. However, extensive research has been key to Sarah’s success and the Alder range is the result of lots of listening to what customers really want. She jokes that she used to run up to commuters at train stations to ask them about their laptop bags and to get an insight into what people wanted. She involves her social media followers in every step of the process and uses this feedback to help her design her range. The product is then handmade by fourth-generation artisan leather workers in Somerset.
Sarah has designed the collection so that women can feel comfortable wearing the bags to work on the train, in the boardroom and socially after work, knowing that it never looks out of place. The range is renowned for its luxury finish and sleek, minimal look and special touches to ensure the bags are as adaptable and flexible as possible. For example, Sarah has designed a strong integral strap that converts it seamlessly between a shoulder bag, cross-body bag and rucksack. Wide straps distribute the weight evenly and having the option to vary the ways you can wear the bag helps to reduce stress on the back and shoulders.
Sarah has given careful consideration to details such as secure pockets and to a quilted lining that offers protection for a laptop and wires. Each bag has a large internal zipped pocket for personal items, a clip on which to hang keys and a slip pocket for a phone. It also has a concealed zipped pocket that is accessible to the owner from the outside of the bag for easy access to train tickets or travel purse.
Sarah added: “Alder is aimed at the professional woman that wants to remain stylish and feminine in their work environment but also want something practical for their daily commute or work travel.
“As jobs become more transitory and less office-based, more and more women are carrying their laptop, tablet and other electronic devices with them frequently. There’s a real need for a lightweight, hands-free laptop bag that doesn’t compromise on style, yet is practical and hard-wearing. Alder bags are luxurious and don’t look corporate and functional.
“An Alder bag is very much an investment, artisan piece that quietly exudes quality and will improve with age due to the luxury leather that is used to make it.”
Each Alder item comes with a lifetime guarantee and the range includes a leather laptop sleeve, a credit card travel wallet and keyrings in the same colours and make a thoughtful gift for someone special or an investment piece for yourself.
Sarah is in the final sampling phase of a laptop tote, with a planned launch date of August 2020.
The gorgeously tactile new tote is called the Christie and comes in four colours. It is made of ethically-sourced leather, hardware from the UK and stunning attention to detail means that essentials such as a laptop and all other work items are protected by a quilted lining.
She adds: “My latest design is a tote bag that I am naming ‘The Christie’ after my friend Ruth Christie who travels extensively with work. She said that other women seem to ‘glide’ through airports with one hand free whereas she is bogged down with pulling a trolley bag in one hand and holding a heavy laptop bag in the other hand.
“I have designed a tote based on Ruth’s comments and lots of research. ‘The Christie’ is a large tote with a protective built-in slip pocket to protect tech plus a detachable strap at the back that means that the tote can be secured to a trolley bag. There are wide leather straps for comfort and made in the softest leather, allowing the owner to ‘glide’ confidently and smartly through the airport with one hand free for tickets or coffee.”
Sarah adds: “I am looking forward to the challenge of being recognised worldwide as a respected British brand that is renowned for its quality, innovation and style.”