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Senreve CEO Q&A: The Instagram-Famous Handbag That Redefined Luxury

Coral Chung, co-founder and CEO of Senreve. Senreve

What prompts a lady to splurge $1,000 on a purse she most likely doesn’t want? Apart from the plain reply that she simply has cash, it typically takes a history-rich model story and countless lavish advertising and marketing campaigns (along with impeccable design and high quality, in fact) to justify slapping on a four-digit price ticket. That’s, till a two-year-old Silicon Valley startup referred to as Senreve proved that it’s completely attainable to promote a luxurious bag with out a longtime model title or an extravagant storefront.

In November 2016, two Stanford-educated trend veterans, Coral Chung and Wendy Wen, based Senreve with a easy aim to make a classy laptop computer bag for working ladies. (Imagine it or not, one simply didn’t exist.) The miraculous factor was, earlier than the startup was capable of elevate sufficient funding for promoting and advertising and marketing, its flagship design, the Maestra bag, shortly started showing on the arms of celebrities and fashionistas like Priyanka Chopra and Selma Blair and on Wendy’s Lookbook on Instagram.

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Driving on its social media wave, Senreve graduated to domesticate a robust community of influencers and model ambassadors (which co-founder and CEO Chung stated was “largely natural”) and break into department shops together with Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Farfetch.

Earlier this month, Observer sat down with Chung in New York to speak in regards to the design story behind Senreve’s iconic Maestra bag, how the model fills a market void left by conventional luxurious homes, and its rigorously crafted social media and pricing methods.

Observer: Amongst Senreve’s many choices, I believe most individuals would agree that the Maestra bag is your most iconic mannequin. It has a really distinctive look of its personal that’s not like any established model. Who designed that bag?
Chung: It was my design imaginative and prescient. However it was fairly an enormous collaboration between myself and the designers we labored with who had beforehand designed for Gucci, Givenchy and Chloé.

The Maestra bag has a singular look that’s type of a mixture of knowledgeable satchel and an off-the-cuff backpack—all underneath a really minimalistic end. Clearly a whole lot of thought went into it. What are the highest stuff you thought-about when designing this bag?
It’s actually an art-meets-science course of. “Senreve” means “sense and dream” in French. It’s this complete concept which you can have an expensive fantasy bag with the flexibility of on a regular basis use. So, all of our merchandise have that design language in thoughts. Our design method is much less about what established manufacturers have made and extra about structure, artwork and performance. We needed to know how ladies needed to make use of their luggage. And what we discovered is that, to most ladies, a purposeful bag means it may be used all through the day on completely different events. So we selected a traditional and minimalistic look, season-less and impartial colours, toes on the underside and really stain- and waterproof leather-based.

Senreve locations a robust emphasis on assembly the wants of millennial working ladies. Are you able to speak a bit in regards to the disconnect between this group of patrons and present luxurious manufacturers?
Properly, take me for instance. What I discovered as a younger skilled was that I might by no means discover that excellent work bag. And I didn’t really feel that luxurious manufacturers had been creating merchandise for somebody like me. Conventional luxurious manufacturers make purses which are pure equipment—it’s one thing lovely however very fragile. And I additionally discover the way in which they talk about their manufacturers and market their merchandise feels very indifferent from the actual world. Actually, all of us want an aspirational trend piece of some type. However we wish to join extra instantly with ladies and the way they stay in the actual world at present.

Coral Chung sporting a Senreve clutch on the 2019 Met Gala in New York. Jamie McCarthy/Getty Pictures

However price ticket–smart, Senreve sits fairly near the posh vary of purses. The Maestra bag retails from $698 to $895. Is it strategic to maintain the worth under $1,000?
Sure. It’s actually essential for us to make the worth level accessible to a level and but disruptive to conventional luxurious manufacturers. Most of our clients are of their mid-30s. However we don’t wish to exclude youthful ladies who’re simply getting into the workforce. To somebody who’s 23 or 24, that is typically one in every of their first main luxurious purchases. If you concentrate on the worth level, it’s much more palatable than, say, a $3,000 bag by a standard luxurious model. On the flip facet, the way in which we’re in a position obtain this worth level is thru our high-quality, made-in-Italy manufacturing course of and a direct-to-consumer mannequin, which saves a whole lot of “center man” prices.

It’s fairly uncommon for a trend startup to attain the extent of recognition Senreve has. And I really feel that social media performed such an enormous half within the model’s fast rise. What function does social media play in your advertising and marketing technique? For example, do you spend some huge cash in working with influencers?
At first, a whole lot of social media buzz was simply phrase of mouth. I’d say the overwhelming majority of our influencer partnerships are natural. We’re very selective about which influencers and celebrities we work with. It’s not nearly whether or not they have 10 million followers; it’s extra essential that they’ve a style degree and class that may signify our model, and likewise that the demographics of their followership are aligned with who’re clients are.

We’ve labored with many various pockets of ladies, whether or not they’re executives on Wall Avenue, artistic and tech folks, or younger professionals in authorized and accounting fields. I believe one of many largest differentiators for us is a really genuine model story. It’s an organization based by two feminine entrepreneurs with real expertise and understanding that we’re creating merchandise to serve this contemporary lady and her multifaceted life-style. That viewpoint is essential. And that story interprets very properly to different ladies.

An off-topic query: What purses did you employ earlier than Senreve existed?
Properly, I had labored at Prada, so I had a whole lot of Prada purses. However I’m undoubtedly a purse collector if you’ll, so I’ve my share of Hermès and Chanel.

Do you continue to purchase new luggage from different manufacturers?
I don’t. And I don’t use another luggage, as a result of I actually really feel that every one of my desires and wishes are fulfilled by Senreve. And, as a founding father of an organization, it’s actually essential to signify your model. Truly everybody in our firm makes use of Senreve merchandise. And for the male members on our group, they’ve bought it for his or her mothers or their sisters or their girlfriends.

Each you and Wendy have labored within the trend trade for a very long time. What are your observations in regards to the ups and downs of purse tendencies? Are digital-native manufacturers like yours notably susceptible to the disposable nature of quick trend?
Iconic luggage are actually exhausting to create and set up. I believe luggage which have reached that kind of standing will keep round for some time. They don’t seem to be precisely “fashionable luggage,” if you’ll. I believe regardless that there’s loads happening within the trend world by way of quick trend and issues like that, purses is definitely a class the place folks are inclined to worth timelessness and traditional seems to be. I’d say the general development in purses is shifting away from logos and towards extra minimalistic seems to be. It’s all about distinctive shapes and colours, fascinating supplies and a refined illustration of luxurious as a substitute of an enormous brand that symbolizes a sure degree of standing.

Senreve CEO Coral Chung on How an Instagram-Famous Handbag Redefined Luxury

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