Because I’m a typical fashion blogger and a horrible cliché, I’ve been coveting Mulberry bags since I started A Little Bird Told Me three years ago. There’s just something about the brand – maybe it’s the butter-soft leather, the always-on-point designs or the British heritage – that draws me in. I adored the Alexa, loved the Lily and dreamed about the Del Rey, and had been planning my purchase for quite a while, but never quite made the leap.
And that’s probably because, despite the beautiful craftsmanship and timeless design, Mulberry bags are HELLA expensive. Although I’m growing accustomed to paying £200 for a nice dress (hello Whistles), I still think £800+ is an insane amount to spend on a bag. That’s more than my monthly rent. It’s scary.
But, that niggling ‘must-have-a-Mulberry’ feeling stuck with me, and I found myself idly browsing the site, researching. Eventually I stumbled on a slightly different, yet still official, site. One that listed all the Mulberry Factory Outlets in the country… including one in York. My hometown. 45 minutes away from my house and a city I visit often. HE-LLO.
I’ve been to the Mulberry Factory Shop at Bicester Village before and wasn’t impressed – the stock was old rather than classic, and prices were still sky high. So when I took a trip to York one Sunday afternoon, I didn’t have high hopes of finding anything…
How wrong I was.
Unlike the Bicester Village store, the York Factory Shop was quiet. Well, there were people in there – quite a few of them, in fact – but it didn’t have the frenzied, bargain-hunting feel that Bicester had. The staff had time (and space) to talk to you properly, explaining why items were reduced. Many pieces in the York store were new season – there were plenty of Alexas and a couple of Lilys – reduced because of slight damage. And when I say slight, I mean the tiniest marks in unreachable places. Turns out Mulberry are real perfectionists.
I had an idea what I wanted when I walked inside – something more refined than the Alexa, so I could use it for night as well as day. But bigger than the Lily, to lug around all my useless possessions. Classic black to go with every outfit, and maybe some gold hardware to give it a ‘rock edge’ (fashion speak).
I tried on a few styles – a small Alexa in black, a classic Bayswater… and then spotted it, as part of a display on the top shelf. One of the girls from the shop helped me get it down and we cooed over it together. The snake print leather, as butter soft as I’d been promised. The perfect day-to-night size. Gold hardware. A chain handle. I was in love.
Jade, who helped me in-store, was fantastic – she showed me a few different ways to wear it (the chain handle can be looped short or left long), let me walk up and down with it on, twisting and turning in the mirror until I was happy. She also told me why it was reduced – a tiny grey mark on the leather, noticeable to only the sharpest eyes.
I took my Mulberry Carter Snake to the till and paid up. The originally RRP was £795 and I paid… £537. Still a steep price, but one I was happy to pay for such an investment piece. The bag is my ‘well done for getting to NYFW’ present and represents a year of crazy hard work to get my freelance business off the ground. I’ve used it every day since the beginning of September and my love for it shows no signs of abating!
If you’re thinking about your own Mulberry purchase and want to explore a cheaper option, I’d definitely recommend a visit to one of their Factory Shops. The shops also sell accessories and clothing – be careful with that credit card!
Do you own a Mulberry bag?