Julie Deane, and the birth of The Cambridge Satchel Company

Published in Inspiration

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Image courtesy: The Cambridge Satchel Company

There is a proverb that says, "Necessity is the mother of invention." According to the Oxford Dictionary, the meaning of the phrase is, "when the need for something becomes imperative, you are forced to find ways of getting or achieving it." For British mom, Julie Deane, the need was a better school environment for her children and the invention, The Cambridge Satchel Company.

In 2007, Julie's 8-year-old daughter, Emily, came home from school with both physical and emotional bruises. Emily's injuries were the result of a bully at school, and at that moment, Julie knew she had to find a better place for her daughters. But what options did she have? They couldn't afford private school which had a price tag of £24,000 ($31,000.00). The most they could spare at that time was £600 ($775). After considering her options, and over a traditional cup of English tea, Julie had an idea. She was unhappy with the options of school bags that were available and went in search of a satchel. In the US, a satchel can bring on images of anything from a paper bag, to a large briefcase used by men in three-piece suits. According to Wikipedia, in Britain, "the traditional Cambridge and Oxford style is a simple design that features a pouch with a front flap." Julie thought that since the satchel was such a popular style in Britain that it would be easy to find. To her surprise, she found that there weren't any satchels being made in Britain. This was it, this was her invention for her necessity.

After creating a prototype at her kitchen table, Julie enlisted the help of her mother to get things going, and in five years, she was able to take that $775 and turn it into a $65 million dollar company. According to Yahoo Finance, The Cambridge Satchel Company is now selling bags to 120 countries around the world, and in 2013 Julie opened her first retail location. The Cambridge Satchel company now has 5 retail locations in the U.K.

Every day people around the world have new and innovative ideas about products or business adventures they would love to try. How many times have you heard "You are such a remarkable cook! Have you ever thought of opening your own restaurant?" or "You have such an artistic talent, you need to share it with everyone." Chances are, the people on the receiving end of these comments have thought about it and would love to take that leap of faith and try something new. So, what stops them? Usually, it is the thought of how expensive it is to start a new business. In Julie's case, she started with just $775. This is less than the cost of rent in most major cities in the U.S. According to CNN, in 2016, "new business creation was at a 40-year low." Many are afraid to give up the financial stability of working for a large company in order to branch out on their own.

Despite the low numbers, there is a desire to bring back the "mom and pop" stores and the corner barber shops of years gone by. There is something comforting about walking through the doors of a restaurant and seeing your neighbor in the kitchen, or purchasing a satchel that got its start because of a mom's pursuit to solve an everyday problem.

Julie Deane's story is not only one of success, but of a mother's love and inspiration. She saw her necessity to give her children more options and she created her invention. What better way to show your love than to take the ultimate leap of faith!

A penny for your thoughts!

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