I had wanted a leather satchel after stumbling upon an image of one by chance (namely, the neon line). I first stumbled upon the Cambridge Satchel Company and later discovered the Leather Satchel Co. on Amazon while searching for more satchels (I had been in the market for a very, very long time, haha*). I'm not quite sure which company came first or anything, but since the Leather Satchel Co. had the neon colors that I wanted at a cheaper price I went with them. (They also offered a guarantee, something that I did not see with the Cambridge, though I didn't necessarily look around for it so I may be wrong).
*I should say, I had been looking around at/for satchels for MONTHS. I compared the Leather Satchel to the Cambridge to random stuff on ebay and spent months trying to decide what to do because I am indecisive and spineless.
The Leather Satchel Co. sells bags on Amazon but since I wanted a few customizations I worked with them through their site. I will say, they were always very polite and helpful (even after I sent countless annoying emails full of questions) and answered all my questions fully.
I did run into two problems:
1. Their website seems a bit disorganized. There are really no links on the first page so I had to do a google search to find the many pages they had up (that were full of pictures and information). The website itself is great, very detailed and clear, I just wish it were all linked together a bit better!
2. As said, their customer service reps are awesome, but there was a bit of a time wait between emails. I did have some issue when I had confirmed that I wanted a bag but nothing was sent to me (no invoice or confirmation) for a couple of weeks after that until I sent an email. So, things may be a bit slow on the email front, but they were very nice.
3. There seems to be a few/quite a few loose thread ends but the stitching itself seems pretty secure. I guess I'll have to wait and see on this one but I do have the guarantee.
The bag shipped to me very quickly too! I did pay for shipping since it came from the UK but on Amazon the bag ships free (though without customizations). I was really surprised to get it when I did.
OH HOLY FUCK" (in a good way, it was awesome!).
The bag is crazy, ridiculous bright! I was a bit worried that it would be a watered down kind of neon but hell no, it is shocking bright. As they said, pictures do not do it justice, it is really, really bright.
Another surprise: the leather is really nice too! I had read some reviews on the Cambridge satchels and some said they found the leather rather stiff at first, which I have not found to be of issue. The leather holds its shape very well, but I have found it to be nice and soft. This was (after the color) my biggest concern since I really don't like stiff, hard leather but I really like this and I am a sucker for nice, soft leather.
I got the 15 inch because I like to carry a lot of crap around with me and it all fits really well. I will say that I kind of imagine the smaller ones looking a bit more "stylish" (at least, or especially, for the neon colors) but I'm happy with the size myself.
As for customizations, I got a handle on the top and magnet closures instead of the buckles. I had read a review (for the Cambridge, I believe, but w/e) that the buckles can be a pain if you want quick access to stuff which is something I need, and the handle is really convenient too.
When I wore it out to the mall I got tons of compliments, with people literally stopping me to tell me they liked it, to ask where I got it, and to remark on how eye searingly (in a good way) bright the color is. I can't recall the last time any accessory of mine got this much attention.
So I will say, if you are considering getting one of these, go for it. I do think it is totally worth it.
As to how this compares with the Cambridge company, I can't say as I've never touched any of those satchels, but I am very happy with what I have. If I were richer I'd buy a bunch in different colors but my Western style "poverty" won't let me.
*Note: I wasn't paid for this, I bought it with my own hard earned money. It cost about $175 or so (for the bag plus customizations and shipping).
UPDATE: I took some more pictures, and I plan on putting more up as well after this:
Funny enough, one thing I'm really excited about is what little picture I want to put in the card/ID holder. I don't just want my name or anything, I want a picture (a neat way to display art on the go, amirite?) but I want to find something that doesn't clash too much with the neon...we'll see!
Some Issues That Have Arisen:
It takes a while to give a really good review of things.
One issue I noticed after I started to use it was that the area where it folds open is already starting to show some wear. I really hope this doesn't become a major issue because this is something that is definitely worth sending the bag back (for repairs!) for. I don't use it every single day but I noticed the wear starting after about a week. I'm not sure how to feel about that.
Another "issue" although far less stressful is that of the little loose threads (of stitching) everywhere. Not a big deal, but noticeable. I also wish that the thread itself had been dyed the same color as the satchel as it would have created a more uniform appearance but again, not a big deal.
There is also some grime/discoloration/I'm not sure in one area of the bag (the upper part of the back) that didn't seem to go after even after cleaning. I cleaned the bag today and most dirty spots wiped away easily but that area didn't, I'm not sure why. I will clean it up more soon and report back.
Here is a picture of some of the wear that I'm talking about (along with one of those loose threads).