Thu, 27 Aug 2020
A former flight attendant from Newbury has designed a new brand of luxury leather bags that offer the seemingly unobtainable – a laptop bag that is protective, comfortable to carry and that looks stylish.
After launching her company Alder on International Women’s Day in March last year, Sarah McGill has already won a loyal fanbase thanks to a range of bags that strike a balance between utility and elegance.
She is also a finalist in the National Business Women’s Awards for Best New Business in November.
Ms McGill’s previous career working as air crew for an airline meant she travelled extensively and was familiar with the world of international travel, luggage and bags.
The Alder range is the result of lots of listening to what customers want. Ms McGill jokes that she used to run up to commuters at train stations to ask them about their laptop bags and to get an insight into what people wanted.
She involves her social media followers in every step of the process and uses this feedback to help her design her range. The product is then handmade by fourth-generation artisan leather workers in Somerset.
Ms McGill has designed the collection so that women can feel comfortable wearing the bags to work on the train, in the boardroom and socially after work, knowing that it never looks out of place.
The range is renowned for its luxury finish and sleek, minimal look and special touches to ensure the bags are as adaptable and flexible as possible.
For example, Ms McGill has designed a strong integral strap that converts it seamlessly between a shoulder bag, cross-body bag and rucksack.
Wide straps distribute the weight evenly and having the option to vary the ways to wear the bag helps to reduce stress on the back and shoulders.
Ms McGill said: “Alder is aimed at the professional woman who wants to remain stylish and feminine in their work environment but also wants something practical for their daily commute or work travel.
“As jobs become more transitory and less office-based, more and more women are carrying their laptop, tablet and other electronic devices with them frequently.
“There’s a real need for a lightweight, hands-free laptop bag that doesn’t compromise on style, yet is practical and hard-wearing. Alder bags are luxurious and don’t look corporate and functional.”
Ms McGill’s Welsh background has inspired the brand and name. The Alder is her birth tree in Celtic tree mythology and those born under this sign are said to be strong and bold with a desire for adventure and to experience new places.
The Alder tree was seen by ancient Celts as a ‘protector’ which fits with an Alder laptop bag which protects the tech and contents.
Ms McGill said: “I am looking forward to the challenge of being recognised worldwide as a respected British brand that is renowned for its quality, innovation and style.”