I’ve long admired/envied Fife-based Scaramanga’s leather messenger bags, folios and accessories. So when the opportunity arose to get my metaphorically grubby mitts on a new leather portfolio to keep my laptop safe and secure on client visits, how could I say no?!?
On the off-chance that you haven’t heard of Scaramanga – where have you been hiding? – let me give you a little essence of their back-story.
Scaramanga was founded in June 2006 by Carl Morenikeji (pictured below), who was so taken by the discovery of an iconic vintage leather satchel on a visit to India, that he was inspired to re-create that level of quality and craftsmanship for customers back here in the UK. Carl sought out artisans with the traditional leather-working skills required to make high-quality, modern leather satchels and bags. Latterly, he’s also started sourcing unique vintage furniture, bringing the Scaramanga ethos and quality to the home.
Although the business only has a small team, Scaramanga operate 2 large stock warehouses in Fife, they have a High Street presence in both St. Andrews and Edinburgh, and were awarded Retail Business of the Year award in 2013.
The majority of Scaramanga’s leather satchels bags are made by a family-run business established 75 years ago, and in the same way a leather bag would have been made 80 years ago in the UK. And all of Scaramanga’s products are fairly sourced, directly from unique and traditional craft-based families and small enterprises.
Scaramanga uses “Hunter” leather made from buffalo hides because they’re tough-wearing, give a large yield and boast a varying leather grain “that ages beautifully”. The leather is tanned using a semi-vegetable tanned (VT) method, which means more natural substances like tannins, dyes and oils are used instead of harmful chemicals like chromium salts. Better for the tanners. Better for the environment.
So now you know. That’s Scaramanga in a nutshell. Now onto my ‘end-user experience’.
However, before I’d even caught a glimpse of my new leather portfolio case, I was taken by the branded, draw-string protective cover, which I will dutifully use to store the case when not accompanying me on client visits. Not only that, but inside a found a sweet little hand-made card with a personalised message from Katie. A nice touch, and one which other retailers could learn from.
But onwards to the portfolio case itself. The first thing that strikes you is the quality of the materials and finishing. From the thickness of the leather, through into the detailed, attractive stitching, to the stylish inside lining and pockets. The portfolio case oozes quality, and radiates style. I couldn’t be happier with how it looks and feels, and it’s now my go-to home-from-home for my laptop.
But looks are only half the story. How would the portfolio case work in real life?
Well, the good news is that it works as good as it looks. It easily swallowed my 15” laptop, mobile and notebook; so I was packed, primed and ready to go.
As soon as I stepped into my client’s office, my new leather companion was attracting admiring glances and immediate questions. Where did I get it? Who made it? Can I have a look? Well, needless to say, the clients loved it as much as I did, and I’m sure they’ll be visiting Scaramanga’s online shop to purchase their own in no time.
The overall verdict? Well I have to say that the Scaramanga leather portfolio has greatly impressed me. The quality of materials and workmanship are superb, the finish is excellent, and the visual form is sleek yet practical. Top marks to Scaramanga, and I’ve already got my eye on a messenger bag. Oh, and a travel bag. Or two.
To date, Scaramanga has been one of Scottish fashion’s largely unheralded brands, but that’s about to change. So why not explore their unique offerings over on their website, or pay their bricks and mortar retail shops a visit. Tell them Not Just Tartan sent you.