My New Work Bag:
In this video I reveal my new work bag, what fits inside, and compared it with my regular Midi Maestra. I also unboxed the Senreve Bracelet Pouch and showed you what ways you can use this.
During this filming, I became a Senreve Brand Ambassador. I explained in the video what this new relationship with the brand means, why I still film videos with no compensation and no sponsorships, and what perk I have for my readers.
A Story of Impeccable Customer Service
The first time I heard of Senreve was through Instragram.
They placed an ad, it appeared on my feed, and quickly caught my attention. The photograph of the handbag looked like a cross between the Celine Belt Bag and the Givenchy Antigona.
But as soon as I had a better look, I realized the handbag's design is actually distinct and all its own. The only similarity to the French luxury brands was the sound of its name, and that was because the company 'Senreve' is a portmanteau of the French words for 'sense' and 'dream'.
The bag is the Senreve Maestra, and it is a 4-way convertible handbag made for the multi-functional modern individual who does not want to compromise luxury with utilitarian needs. It can be worn over the shoulder, as a back-up, on the crook of the arm, and even as a cross-body.
It was uniquely designed from a mix of sources: the founders' vision, who are two female Stanford-grad corporate executives who saw a market need for a luxury working bag, from crowd-sourcing means, and the collaboration of creatives they consulted who had experience designing for Gucci, Givenchy and Chloé.
I got to chat with one of its sales consultants via the Senreve website. Who would have known that when she introduced herself as 'Wendy' that she would turn out to be the 'Wendy Wen' who is the co-founder and current Chief Operating Officer of Senreve. They had just launched a month earlier (November 2017) and she was wearing many different hats in the company. And because customer service was clearly a priority, she, along with Coral Chung, the CEO of Senreve, are actively part of the sales and customer relations team. I found out all about Wendy's official title AFTER our chat when I was doing my research on the company. Her name was all over the online dailies as spearheading Senreve with Coral.
As much as I was impressed to be doing customer Q&A with the COO, I found this to be an clever tactical move. By engaging directly with their customers and setting a great example to their small team of sales associates, Senreve is able to effectively market why their handbag is unique and worth its mid-luxe price tag (i.e. from $95 SLGs to a little above 1K for their priciest bag).
I do not take these kinds of purchases lightly. Wendy gave me factual answers, was pleasant and friendly as possible through words and emojis, and did not push aggressively when I said I need a few days to think about it. Usually, I would put off the research and decision until I feel the interest wears off. But not this time. I was really intrigued by Senreve.
My research led me to various feature stories and reviews written by the fashion and business press. But there were very few. The company, at the that time, was barely a year old. And yet the feedback and accolades they were receiving were impressive enough to convince me to take a chance on my gut feel. I purchased, not one, but two bags. The Senreve Blush Doctor bag and Senreve Mimosa White Maestra bag. Within a week my order arrives.
The Senreve Blush Doctor bag was stunning! It was a boston/doctor-style type of handbag with a nudish-pink hue. It was so pretty! I started using it right away. I had quite a few inquiries when I used this bag. What is the brand? Where what is made? Where can they buy it? And believe it or not I even had the sales associates of Hermes at the Palo Alto boutique ask me about it.
Now the Senreve Maestra in Mimosa White did not receive the same reaction from me. When I unwrapped it from its package, I was overjoyed to see that it was so much better than I expected. But when I tried it on in front of the mirror, there was something about that beautiful white color that did not sit well with my skin-tone. The size of it looked quite big too, even though I had a tall 5'11" frame. I told myself I need to give myself time. So I placed the bag on my shelf but several months had gone by and I was not compelled to reach for it.
Instead I find myself ordering another Senreve Doctor, this time in the Black Noir. I now have two bags of the same style but different colors. Whereas in the past I would have argued one style is enough. I did the uncanny.
Meanwhile I had a dilemma with the Senreve Mimosa White Maestra as it continued to occupy my shelf. It had been over six months already, way past the return timeline. But the Senreve sales tag is still attached. I remember Wendy and her customer service skills and decided to take a chance and ask for an exchange.
Guess what? Senreve allowed it. Not only that, they were willing to pay for shipping. Whoa! Did this really just happen? Honestly I could only shake my head in pleasant disbelief. This company knows how to treat their customers!
So my replacement arrives and I find myself with the Mimosa White in the Mini Maestra, which is the smallest version of the bag. I liked it, I really did. But unfortunately a Senreve customer marketing email came in earlier and they were announcing the release of a 'Midi' size, which is the in-between size of the Maestra and the Mini Maestra. Oh no! I wanted to see it.
Senreve was doing a pop-up event in a department store about thirty miles away. I decided to drive over and have a look at this Midi.
And when I saw it, that was it. I wanted the Midi Maestra.
So I write Senreve's customer service again and had asked if they are willing to do a second exchange. And guess what? They allowed it again! Same courteous email response and instructions on how they will cover the return shipping.
OK...WHO does that? Two exchanges on them, with pleasant customer response to boot?
Truth be told this is WHAT luxury brands are supposed to do. The premium price customers pay warrants the need to feel important and to feel the brand has their best interest at heart. This is what builds loyalty, trust, and most importantly love for the brand.
So I send back my Mini Maestra Mimosa White. And I waited for my Midi Maestra in Chestnut brown. A couple of weeks later I receive a Senreve email of apology. There was a huge demand for the Midi Chestnut brown that has caused a production delay for a few more weeks. For this mishap, Senreve is returning $50 back to my credit card for the inconvenience.
Goodness, how many times am I going to shake my head at their outstanding service? Does this type of traditional TLC still alive in this generation of fast technology, innovation, and competition?
The Midi Maestra Chestnut brown arrives and my fickleness ends. We have a loving relationship. I take her everywhere. The Midi even flew with me on a long vacation to Manila and Seoul. And she came out still looking brand-new despite being exposed to humidity, sporadic rainfall, and sightseeing. She's been through cars, boats, and planes. And yet her beautiful leather pebbled surface remain perfect.
The worse would come byway of curry sauce accidentally spilling droplets on the surface. I was mortified, until I remember the Senreve care instructions is to merely use a damp soft cloth or baby wipes. True enough, after lightly cleaning the affected area, the curry odor and stain was completely gone!