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Demand for bags sees firm set to create 40 jobs at site


A leather bag company is creating 40 jobs at a factory.

The Cambridge Satchel Company is opening a 30,000sq ft site in Syston after seeing demand for its bags soar.

The business is also transferring 40 staff from its Wigston site.

The new jobs will be full and part-time – including a number of apprenticeships – and will be filled over the next six months.

It is the latest bit of good news for the county textile industry after Basic Premier – which makes T-shirts, skirts and dresses at a £1 million factory in Rolleston Street, North Evington – said it hoped to increase its staff from 50 to 200 before the year is out.

Another knitwear company, BS Attwall, has said it hopes to increase staff numbers from the 30 it had at the start of the year to 160 by December. The firm has just completed a multi-million pound deal to buy a 130,000sq ft factory in Forest Road, Humberstone.

The Cambridge Satchel Company makes about 1,000 designer satchels a day.

The bags sell online and at department stories such as Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Selfridges and Bloomingdales.

International sales are also booming.

It now turns over about £12 million a year – six times the amount of business it was doing in 2011 – and has a further 30 staff at its Cambridge headquarters.

The new factory will open in Fosse Way, Syston, at the end of the week and the company is advertising for skilled machinists, leather workers and craftsmen to join the team.

Company founder Julie Deane said: "I'm extremely passionate about supporting British manufacturing and ensuring the longevity of leather craft in this country.

"One hundred per cent of my production is based in the UK and the new factory is a way for us to continue preserving the tradition of this craft while offering skilled home-grown workers steady employment.

"Our apprenticeship scheme will offer the next generation of craftsmen training and support, securing the future of this valuable trade."

She said the company's new premises would be four times the size of its existing site, which will eventually allow it to increase production threefold, expanding its collection to include small leather goods, in addition to the brand's leather satchels.

Since its launch in 2008, the brand has developed a global fan base, selling to more than 110 countries, securing major international stockists, collaborating with Google Chrome and high-profile designers and building a following among celebrities, fashion bloggers and fashion editors.

Talks were recently held with Zong Qinghou, China's richest man, about a possible deal to sell the British bags in one of the world's fastest-growing retail markets.

Ms Deane said: "This is an exciting time for us as we start our expansion into different markets and into different product lines – successful candidates will be able to join us on our journey and be part of the success we have enjoyed for the past five years."

Ms Deane is the RSM international entrepreneur of the year in the European Business Awards 2013, and the exporter of the year 2013 at the Natwest UKFT Awards. The product won accessories brand of the year at the 2013 Drapers Footwear & Accessories Awards, and has picked up a Queen's Award for international trade.

Fashion entrepreneur Tom Joule talks about increasing his use of Leicestershire textile manufacturers in today's Business Weekly supplement.

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