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Official APRIL IN PARIS (custom leather artisan) Thread: Feedback, Pics, Reviews

post #1 of 109
Thread Starter 

I thought we needed an official thread for APRIL IN PARIS, a bespoke leather maker of superlative quality (Hermes trained, uses only superlative hides, saddle stitching, hardware, etc.)


I've recently commissioned a bespoke work bag from her (a large shopper style tote), having had tons of bags over the years. I will update this thread as the process continues.


PRICING: Since it is a bespoke item, obviously every bag will be very different. Nevertheless, for comparison, her bags generally start around $2800 for calf and go up to $10,000 or more for alligator or exotic pieces (this information is also published on her website, and on other sites, like PurseForum.) For comparison, a similar leather bag from Hermes would be about $7000 and $40+000 for alligator/exotics. Louis Vuitton leather bags of a similar style, made by machine (and not by hand as with hers) are well over $3000 and go up from there. As such, again, for a completely bespoke piece, I find the prices quite reasonable (all things considering.) Tom Ford or Valextra, too, is $3000 plus. Even Prada or Gucci would be nearly $2000, and they are made from very mid-range or even low-range hides, hardware, and manufacture.


PROCESS: It is a completely bespoke item; she can do anything. You give her ideas, or solicit them. She has any color or type of leather you'd want, and is open to "tweaking" anything in the bag to fit your needs. She will provide an estimate, and then you can negotiate a specific timeline to receive the item. Do others have stories/pics/recs/reviews they'd like to share? So far in the process, I can't speak more highly of Bea (the owner), her professionalism, her openness and flexibility, and also her personality (she's very friendly, warm, and helpful.) Can't wait to get the bag itself in a few months!

post #2 of 109
She is great to deal with, and one of the nice people I know. Work is exceptional. One year she brought in an artisan parfumer from France and invited good clients to come and learn to blend a scent. Maybe you'll get in on that too. We were out of town.
post #3 of 109
Thread Starter 
^I'm glad you posted on this thread, matt, since you probably have more experience with her than anybody else on the forum. Would love to see pics! Here is the color combo I chose for the bag... I told her the general effect/idea I wanted, and she sent me swatches. We picked a grained semi-soft calf ("stingray print" calf), which is durable, but not too stiff OR too soft. Reminds me a lot of Hermes Togo, but perhaps even better because it is not as heavy (less stiff than Epsom, less "slouchy" than Clemence). Quality of the hide is really excellent and probably sourced from the same French tanneries... though I didn't ask her yet exactly which tannery she uses. Outside of the bag is in the dark brown shown. Inside is in taupe (second color... a grayish/brownish taupe), with accents (cell phone pocket, folder pocket) inside in denim blue. I'm a terrible photographer and don't have a good camera, so the colors look washed out... they are very subtle, rich colors. In terms of overall style... it's RELATIVELY similar to the bag on the right (though with important "tweaks" to fit my needs.) Color/layout of the bag like the first one. Actual bag is a version/one-off/prototype based on this second bag I already own:
post #4 of 109

post #5 of 109
rach, I like the colors you've selected. Looking forward to seeing the finished product.
post #6 of 109
Thanks ^. Been in the market for a murse myself.

- M
post #7 of 109
She did a couple of small leathergoods for me. Great service and products.
post #8 of 109
I visited the shop and met Bea once several years ago. She couldn't have been nicer or more accommodating - let me watch her work for a spell and answered several questions.

I ended up using someone on the east coast to make some wallets b/c easier to meet, look at skins in the real, etc. - but I think the quality of Bea's work is outstanding - at least from what I saw years ago. I doubt that's changed.
post #9 of 109
Originally Posted by rach2jlc View Post
She has any color or type of leather you'd want..

Does she have box calf (her website only shows grain)?

post #10 of 109
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Kuro View Post
Does she have box calf (her website only shows grain)? Thanks.
Yes, she does. I decided on the grained/printed calf only because it doesn't scratch and my experience with Hermes box calf, especially, has frightened me with how it scuffs/scratches. As I mentioned, the leather I picked is closest to Hermes Togo, but again, she has her leathers sourced and dyed for her specifically (so these leather "types" are just references for convenience.) She also can work with the leather to give you the consistency/feel you want (for example, if you want slightly stiffer or slouchier, she can do that, even within the same type of leather.) On her website, listed above, should be some more pics. I don't have permission to post pics from her "private" area, but you can easily email her and they'll give you a password to see lots of pics. There are also a number of images online if you google "April in Paris" (use quotation marks) and bag or "Beatrice Amblard," who is the owner.
post #11 of 109
Awesome project and I have no doubt it will be a looker of a bag once finished.
Can't wait for the updates.
post #12 of 109
Rach, were you here in San Fran? I walk by there all the time, since one of my offices is just down the street from her shop. She's been great - a fine craftsman with a gift of great customer service - every time I've walked in there, but have never bought anything. I have, however, drooled over her portfolio of previously commissioned bags. Edit - great color choices, rach, but why a textured leather for the interior?
post #13 of 109
I dislike the bag style, like a grocery tote. It's also a bit feminine.
post #14 of 109
I'm surprised there wasn't a thread on her yet. I've been thinking about ordering/comissioning a wallet from her. If/when I decide to order I'll post the info.

Looking forward to updates on your bag.
post #15 of 109
I kicked tires with her on a project, which I never followed through with. Too bad on me, she was the utmost of professionalism and lightning fast replies. I should get that going again.
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