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Cambridge entrepreneurs launch specialist handbag store, Beaudurof





The new shop, specialising in luxury, multi-purpose handbags, has opened in the Grand Arcade.

From left, Jacqueline Gilbert and Frances Brandon. Picture: Keith Heppell
From left, Jacqueline Gilbert and Frances Brandon. Picture: Keith Heppell

Located on the site of the old Radley shop, the business is the brainchild of Frances Brandon and Jacqueline Gilbert, who met when they were students at the University of Cambridge (at Newnham College).

Jacqueline, 36, who is originally from New Zealand, said: “We opened on Thursday of last week [December 3]. We are a local company, founded in 2015.”

Jacqueline continued: “We do absolutely everything ourselves - we outfitted the shop, we do all the photography... and we’re here for 43 days.”

If the pop-up is successful, the store could become a permanent fixture. “It all depends on if Cambridge loves us!” said Jacqueline.

From left, Frances Brandon and Jacqueline Gilbert. Picture: Keith Heppell
From left, Frances Brandon and Jacqueline Gilbert. Picture: Keith Heppell

Jacqueline says that things have been going well so far, noting: “We’ve set up the store a bit like a gallery, where we show photos of us actually doing all the designing and manufacturing, and the innovation process.”

Jacqueline added: “We were founded in order to address a credibility gap in the market - for women who needed bags that were beautiful but also a bit more versatile.

"I was a management consultant and I was constantly trying to convey my credibility to executive clients, but I was travelling all the time - and the only bags available on the market were backpacks, satchels and purses, non of which had the utility that I needed as a working professional.

"So we looked around, couldn't find anything on the market, went to experts in the industry and said, 'Please could you make this' and they said it was impossible - it was something that the market had tried to create for years. We then spent three years trying to solve the problem."

From left, Frances Brandon and Jacqueline Gilbert. Picture: Keith Heppell
From left, Frances Brandon and Jacqueline Gilbert. Picture: Keith Heppell

Jacqueline says the type of bag they sell is a "beautiful handbag" that can be converted into a "beautiful backpack", without anyone realising.

"Both forms, you can't tell that it would be the opposite," she explained. "So the backpack you can't tell it would be a handbag and the handbag you can't tell it would be a backpack."

Jacqueline and Frances' products have received praise from Vogue magazine and the pair will also be part of the Queen's 95th birthday celebrations next year, as part of a celebration of Excellence in British Engineering. Beaudurof was also named in the European Product Design Awards.

beaudurof.com

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Harry Potter fans gather at the Grand Arcade in Cambridge

#ShineBright turns Cambridge blue for a final time by putting spotlight on Robinson, Newnham and Churchill Colleges and Granta Park



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