Most of us are familiar with the Hermes Kelly bag, the Fendi Baguet purse, and the Chanel 2.55 bag; but have you heard about Launer handbags? Queen Elizabeth II won’t leave home without it. It was also the signature handbag of Britain’s first female Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.
A handbag is an intimate, powerful tool; it tells stories about the woman who carries it. Launer bags have been on the most powerful women’s arms for decades, the brand must be special.
The company takes its name from a Jewish craftsman, Sam Launer, who came to England from Czechoslovakia in 1941. Launer London is one of the very last British brands manufactured in England. Made in Walsall, West Midlands, the handcrafted bags are constructed with Italian leathers, suede linings, gold plated fittings, and finished with the Launer rope emblem.
Launer London was granted the Royal Warrant by Her Majesty the Queen in 1981. In the past 50 years, the luxury brand has built up a reputation with royalty, heads of state, and influential celebrities – including The Duchess of Cornwall, the late Baroness Thatcher, Princess Masako, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s wife Svetlana, Dame Judi Dench, and Dame Maggie Smith.
“I certainly feel, without the Queen’s support, we wouldn’t be where we are. She is a very loyal customer, and she seems to carry our bag in a lot of occasions,” stated Gerald Bodmer, the CEO of Launer London in the official website. Bodmer estimated that the Majesty owns at least 40 custom-made Launer bags dating back decades.
The older noble ladies might love the brand, but how about the younger generation? The 89-year-old Queen can be the only “spokesmodel” but it is vital for Launer’s future to expand beyond their target market. Realizing this problem, Launer London’s marketing team is starting to do social media campaign featuring fashion bloggers and celebrities: Paloma Faith, Kimberly Walsh, Natalia Vodianova, and Alice Manners to name a few.
Quoted recently in Birmingham Mail, Bodmer said: “Obviously, the association with such influential female figures in history has aided us massively, but we are seeing more bespoke bags being snapped up by a real cross-range of the general public, especially among 25 to 35 year olds.”
Today, the brand embraces more color and youthful design, with prices ranging from $850 to $24,000. Top sellers include the Diva, the Judi, the Royale, and the classic Traviata. Smaller purses, like the patent Lulu, the rounded Stella, and the multi-toned Sofia, will likely appeal to younger consumers. Any Launer bag can be customized in a variety of skins, tones, and engravings.
For many, Launer handbags symbolize class, tradition, feminine power and status. Bodmer told the Daily Mail: “We have always been understated, but there is an appetite for our timeless product now.” (MT)
Mckinney, Emma. “Shopping: Midland handbag firm’s Launer London long list of celebrity clients.” Birmingham Mail, 13 Feb. 2012. Web.
O’Brien, Catherine. “The Ultimate Tote Winner.” Mail Online, 11 May 2013. Daily Mail. Web.