LONDON — It’s been only five years since London-based handbag brand DeMellier launched, and since then the brand has attracted a strong following for its minimal designs.
The company is led by Mireia Llusia-Lindh, a Harvard graduate and former luxury strategy adviser to firms such as Burberry and LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. Llusia-Lindh’s business is now on track to becoming a $50 million brand in the next three years.
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Llusia-Lindh’s direct-to-consumer approach has been her bread and butter, and it means she hasn’t had to rely on wholesale stockists. “Seventy percent of our sales is still online,” she said in an interview. It was a strategy that allowed her brand to ride the pandemic wave steadily, without making any redundancies.
The sleek leather handbags have had the royal stamp of approval from the Duchess of Cambridge. “We’ve been very lucky to have amazing people wearing our bags, from the royals to celebrities and influencers without being paid,” Llusia-Lindh said.
In the handbag market, DeMellier bags sit at 175 to 585 pounds. It has always been crucial to the brand that its prices aren’t too high.
“Forty percent of our customers are very affluent and they have the Celine, Chanel and Loewe bags, but they also buy ours because of the aesthetic and values,” Llusia-Lindh said.
DeMellier leather handbags
All of the handbags are made in an ethically certified factory in the south of Spain, which by next year will be 100 percent powered by solar energy.
“We don’t use exotics, and we only use leathers that are a byproduct of the food industry. It’s a big problem in many countries as they have to burn them because they’re not used and it’s a huge CO2 emission,” she said.
The fashion and accessories industry is moving towards new materials — with mushroom fabrics taking center stage. But for smaller brands, suppliers are harder to access as the technology is still in early stages. Luxury brands, such as Hermès, are investing in companies to claim their spot and secure future sourcing.
DeMellier said she has found a leather that’s apple based, and has a “higher plant-based content” than most vegan leathers. The brand is preparing to launch a capsule collection of bestsellers in the new material.
Even though DeMellier ventured into knitwear last year with a four-piece collection, Llusia-Lindh is adamant that the focus for the next few years will be handbags, with ready-to-wear taking a secondary position despite customers frequently asking the company to do footwear.