Senreve accessories combine luxury, versatility and durability – WWD

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Senreve is a small luxury accessories company that strives to make a big difference.

“By 2023, our goal is for 50% of our offering to be made from vegan and sustainably sourced materials,” said Coral Chen Chung, Founder and CEO of Senreve.

“We currently have four vegan leather offerings and have worked each year to find innovative, new and more sustainable materials,” Chung said.

Leather has traditionally come from the slaughter of cattle, raising concerns about animal welfare and its impact on the planet, and recently there has been a movement to use vegetable mattersuch as cactus and pineapple leaves as alternatives to animal leather.

In 2020, Senreve launched its first four vegan leather bags. In 2021, Senreve began developing leather bags using Mexican cacti carefully pruned to never damage or destroy the plant. The cactus requires little water and grows by absorbing C02, thus minimizing the carbon footprint for production.

In 2022, Senreve began using BioFabbrica – produced by biotech company Modern Meadow which uses biofabrication to create sustainable materials – to launch Vegan Terra Leather, which Chung describes as soft, supple and lightweight, yet durable, weather-resistant abrasion and water resistant. BioFabbrica, made from 100% vegetable protein and bio-polyurethane, “is an excellent substitute for animal leather, with many sustainable qualities like less water consumption, less use of chemicals and better rendering of colors. We were the first accessory brand to use this material commercially,” Chung said. Senreve also uses a differentiated pigmentation process that produces no dye runoff.

“It’s really indistinguishable from animal leather, and it’s by no means a cheaper alternative to leather,” Chung said. “It’s a more sustainable, animal-free option. We see a lot of demand for this from our community. We’ve sold multiple colors and styles since we launched it six months ago.

Later, “We have the potential to go fully vegan, but there are still technological and supply chain challenges, but we will eventually move in that direction,” Chung said.

“There are also many opportunities to make traditional leather more durable,” Chung added. “We will be watching this very closely. The key for us is to have a product that is durable, has that performance quality and doesn’t sacrifice luxury.

Coral Chen Chung, working with her design team in Florence, Italy.

Innovation is at the heart of the six-year-old company.

Chung founded Senreve in 2016 after leading the retail business at Medallia, a software company with a customer experience insights platform. “I’ve always had a passion for luxury, fashion and accessories,” she said. She also sensed “a white space in the market for bags that don’t compromise on functionality, versatility and luxury, and for busy women on the go,” Chung said.

Chung is a major shareholder in Senreve, while the lead investor is Norwest Partners. “It was a big deal when we raised capital from them at the end of 2019, because only about 2% of venture capital dollars go to companies founded and led by women,” Chung said. Chung said she was the creative force behind all the products, but worked with a product development and design team based in Florence and with artisan partners there as well.

Senreve’s first and most notable product is the “Maestra bag”, which can be worn as a backpack, shoulder bag, satchel or tote. “We are really known for the convertibility and versatility of our products. We have products that can be worn in different ways,” Chung pointed out.

Senreve’s Aria, Midi Maestra, Cadence Shoulder Bags in a Chablis colourway in collaboration with MM LaFleur.

The bags are usually designed with pockets and compartments to easily store and access phones, keys, key cards, credit cards and lipsticks, and even have ring hooks. Styles are designed with versatility, for dressy or casual occasions. For example, a fancy chain can be interchanged with a casual leather strap, or bags can be carried using a top handle or strap, or carried hands-free, creating different looks for the same bag . Bag chains can be worn as bracelets or necklaces.

The collection also includes a “rainbow color spectrum” and a range of leather finishes and styles ranging from matte to shiny, light to heavy and smooth to textured, Chung said, adding that vegan leathers from Senreve are durable and resistant to scratches and stains. and water resistant.

The collection has grown to more than 100 storage units, Chung said, though she declined to specify the company’s volume. Business grew “very organically, by word of mouth.”

“We definitely have a lot of new product expansion opportunities,” Chung added. “We are doing more small leather goods and accessories, and introducing new shapes and styles, especially in the lsilver bag arena because people are traveling again and returning to the office.

“We also have the ambition to develop in other categories. We did some tests. We offered limited-edition products,” including jewelry, candles, cashmere, and home fragrances. Collapsible summer straw hats have sold out and will be reintroduced next year.

The digital native brand primarily sells through its own website as well as on Shopbop, Stitch Fix and offline with Neighborhood Goods. There are also two Senreve stores, in San Francisco and Singapore. A third is expected to open in New York next year. Sites are explored.

When asked if selling both animal leather bags and vegan bags sends a mixed-brand message to shoppers, Chung replied, “Traditional barriers of defining yourself as a vegan brand or a leather really aren’t there in the consumer’s mind anymore. People are very accepting from a brand perspective. We’re like that too. Senreve is all about versatility. It’s about this idea of ​​conflicting forces coexisting. , of dichotomies that co-exist. It’s not in conflict with our brand message of offering multiple choices. At first, there was some risk around that, but the way we’ve executed has been very consistent with our brand vision and message.

“Senreve, which means meaning and dream in French, is about the coexistence of dichotomy,” Chung said. “The brand wants to be very diverse and inclusive of different options. We want to create options and we want to be very innovative. This is consistent with the direction the consumer is taking. Gen Zers are open to defining themselves as they want to be defined,” true to themselves.

“I’m not vegan but I’m very concerned about making sustainable choices in my life,” Chung said. “My husband is a sustainability investor. Our personal portfolio is very focused on sustainable technologies and sustainable startups.

The price of Senreve accessories and bags ranges from around $85 to $1200. “We demand a high price because the materials we use are quite innovative, high-quality and expensive,” Chung said.

Regarding the brand’s aesthetic, Chung said, “It’s very timeless, very feminine, witty, with lots of color. It’s not 100% trend driven, but there are things that make it not that bad. There is an element of the unexpected. »

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