I define an IT bag differently.
Pop culture may classify this as the ‘designer staple’ or ‘must-have’ trendy bag of the moment.
I, however, need that IT bag to speak to me and answer one conundrum, “Of all the beautiful and bright, big and small, fancy and serious bags I see in the market, which is THE ONE that is stylish, completely functional, and amazingly sturdy that can be taken from work to play?”
This IT bag must match my on-the-go lifestyle. Because, like most women, I play many different roles, from wife to mom, to career woman, and to small business entrepreneur. So why wouldn’t I want a bag that can do it all?
Give me something that is stylish and chic…check! Timeless in design….check! Built with multi-uses and multi-functionality, ample room, and convenience….check! Stain-resistant, water-resistant, easy-to-clean, and will last me for at least a couple of decades…check!”
But alas I have not been so lucky finding this IT bag. I have probably accumulated nearly 40 in my wardrobe. But with each one I have to compromise style with function, or vice-versa.
However, thanks to the marketing prowess of social media I stumbled over something worth getting excited over.
Precisely a week ago, as I was resting in bed after a 10-hour work day, I turned on my iPad Pro and started browsing my Instagram feed. I follow a few fashion bloggers and seeing their stylish layouts usually relax me.
In one of the ad feeds I spot a gorgeous bag.
At first glance I thought it was a satchel.
I blinked and thought maybe it was a backpack.
Intrigued, I clicked the vendor site and realized the bag is actually all three – satchel, crossbody, and backpack!
But it was not a dingy bag. Quite the opposite! It was aesthetically beautiful! It had a minimalist vibe with clean lines, which is right along my fashion taste.
WHAT is this bag that is suddenly getting me all excited?
IT is the Maestra, created by a year-old San Francisco based company called Senreve.
Senreve is an portmanteau, derived from the French words for “sense” and “dream”. The brand proudly relates their purpose, “Our brand is built upon the coexistence of dichotomies: everyday and fantasy, tradition and innovation, design and versatility—creating an elevated experience that defies trade-offs. We believe women are multifaceted and can have it all—no compromise necessary.”
And in describing their bag design process they say, “Senreve was born when, as rising female professionals, we found ourselves in search of the perfect luxury handbag. We were seeking something that was beautiful and feminine, but also versatile enough to keep up with our everyday lives. However, we discovered most designer bags didn’t fully consider all of these needs, so we decided to take matters into our own hands….With Senreve, women are now free to go about their day with ease, empowered to better live their busy, modern lifestyles. From phone and wallet to laptop and lipstick—finally a beautiful bag that knows how to multitask..”
My goodness? Did they read my mind? They just perfectly defined what my ideal IT bag means!
But here is the surprising fact: the Senreve creators are not fashion designers. They do not have an accessories creative background. They do not even have degrees in design.
Instead they have impressive accolades in in Ivy-league schools and experience in the corporate industry. Creating this perfect handbag required the due diligence in understanding what women who are always on the go really need. And by no means was this a small task. According to their interview with the San Francisco chronicle, the Senreve Founders Coral Chung and Wendy Wen came up with a few dozen sketches. Then they tested prototypes with hundreds of women in their network.
The result is the Maestra, which is a multi-functional, stunning,and innovative design that SIMPLY GETS IT.
I was drawn to three basic things:
(1) Can be worn many ways yet still very sleek, eye-catching, and very impressive in design – Can hold a laptop (15 or 13 inches), has roomy compartments, and has ample space without looking too bulky.
BUT just because it can carry my work essentials does not mean the design looks utilitarian. No way. I want a showstopper piece because my bag is an extension of my wardrobe. It is has an important role in showcasing my personal style.
(2) No logo screaming at you – Personally I think the flashy design is antiquated. To have an IT bag with logos all over is really not my style. I prefer a minimalist yet stunning design that utilizes subtlety in branding.
This appears to be the preference of the Millennials and even established fashion mavens as most have recently gravitated toward the aesthetics of Mansur Gavriel, Everlane, Ssense, COS, Manufacture Pascal, and the like.
(3) Quality craftsmanship with a luxurious feel that is comparable to the likes of black label designer brands – The main three bag offerings of Senreve, the Maestra, the Doctor, and the Voya Tote have a base price of $895.
One might double take at the price. I certainly did, but then I began to read the story of how it is produced.
Foremost, it is 100% manufactured in Italy using the same factories that make Balenciaga and Fendi. The materials used are high-quality, such as Italian water-resistant leather (pebbled or long-grain finish) and a stain-resistant micro-suede interior.
In my recent business trip to the Newport Coast, I stopped by the stores of Vuitton, Gucci, Balenciaga, Fendi, Chanel, Celine, Dior, Hermes, and many others at the South Coast Plaza Mall, notoriously known as the favored dwelling of celebrities and the elite. The bags I saw were of course very captivating, but they run you north of $2,000 all the way to the high five digits.
Granted Senreve should not really be compared to brands that have been established for decades, some even centuries. Which is why the $895 price point should be considered from a design and manufacturing perspective.
The craftsmanship of Senreve is absolutely comparable to luxury labels and thus a real investment buy. Its per-use over time more than compensates the cost.
Think of it as four or five standard bags that you have in your closet that you could do away with just by having that one impeccably manufactured and head-turning workhorse handbag.
So the big question is…did I buy?
I have always been known to be very prudent and tactical in my purchases, and thus, I decided to sleep on it and do further research.
But the more I read the feature articles of the bag, the reviews from bloggers, and interviews from the Senreve founders, I felt the gravitational pull to be strong.
Then I consulted my husband. He was actually amused. He told me that for the several times he offered to have me select whatever I want from the LV or Gucci store I would always turn him down. And my reason was because I hesitate to spend on something that I really did not feel was the IT bag for me. Mind you, I have my fair share of LV, Celine, Gucci, Prada, and Dior, but truth be told I do not use them often. If I brought them to work I would require another bag just to carry my other essentials.
So why hold back now when I finally found IT, not only in the Maestra, but also in the other bag designs too (i.e. the Doctor and Voya Tote)?
Well, you already know what happened next. My all enthused glee is seen all over my social media.
Let’s just say I am emphatically thrilled that the IT bag I was looking for is fulfilled by Senreve.
And, not only am I a paying customer, but I also offered them complimentary Ad placements on my blog with NO affiliate links or commissions. In my own little way, I want to help further the brand name of Senreve so that more women can know what they are about and patronize their wares.
Not that they really need a lot of help. In less than a year after they launched, they have been praised by several publications, such InStyle, The San Francisco Chronicle, Racked, Fast Company, Refinery 29, People.com, W, Elle Magazine, Glamour, Entrepreneur, and many more.
Their bags have sold-out and have placed several on a wait-list. Consumers are responding positively and I can only wish the company continued success. When one creates a solution for multi-faceted women without compromising on quality, style, and function, how can they go wrong?
Isn’t it great when there are products out there that can give women all that they want?