Katre, A Bag Line With The Quality Of Designer Luxury Brands, For Less
This local leather bag celebrates 10 years, celebrity clients, and undying love for chic, quality pieces
There are many reasons why women love designer bags. Some love the feeling of carrying something premium. Some love their classic design and styles. While some love the quality of the leather, of owning something you can keep with you for a long, long time.
But what if you can get that same quality and classic feel, without having to shell out that much?
That’s what gave birth to the brand Katre, a homegrown brand by Kat Erro that specializes in chic leather bags and goods. 10 years ago, while working for Harvey Nichols in London, she realized that there’s a niche market of people who want quality over brand that she can service.
“When I was working there, I realized that while labels attracted customers, people buy designer bags most probably because of the quality. That’s why they can part with their hard-earned money,” shares Kat. So with that discovery in mind, Kat then took up short courses in shoemaking, personal styling, and interior decoration to build her knowledge and develop her idea even further.
When Kat returned to Manila in 2009, that’s when Katre started. “The goal was to make something beautiful, brandless that people will appreciate for the design and quality. We put really small logos because it’s really your bag, your brand. So when we monogram your name on it, that’s your bag.” she says. And throughout the years, without the need to advertise, Katre grew larger because of the customers who spread the word about their bags. “We have a VIP customer here where she gets stopped everywhere because they wanna ask what brand she’s wearing. We don’t advertise, we don’t have a budget for it. So it’s really the customers who really grew the brand for us.”
Apart from the quality and meticulous work that goes into every Katre bag, another thing that Kat is very proud of is their customer service. “Part of my learnings from that Harvey Nichols job is the importance of customer service. We want to build a relationship with our customers,” she says. That’s why they offer a lot of after-purchase services and limited warranties where they can repair any loose stitching, broken zippers, and bag feet that tend to pop off.
10 years after Kat started Katre, it’s now developed a niche following with a number of celebrity and society patrons. Kat shares how overwhelmed she feels seeing her friends and closest clients come together for her 10th anniversary celebration. “Who would have thought that we would be here, 10 years after? At first, I was just playing. But you pour all your heart and you don’t expect anything. You just do what you want to do.”
Here are some of our favorites from the newest collections and styles that Katre is introducing to celebrate their 10th year.
The City Tote
The City tote bag is the very first design that Kat came out with. “It’s based on what I need really,” she says. “I’m a tambak kind of mom. So I wanted a bag that can hold everything. The idea is you can fold it flat so you can take it on travels. Bagay siya with everyone, even guys!”
And this time, she’s reinventing this classic by introducing new colors and a smaller size. The bag also now comes with two handles—a shorter one for when you need it to be a hand bag, and a slightly longer strap for when you need to sling it over your shoulders.
“It’s simple but it’s really just what you need,” says Kat.
If you’re concerned about the bag being a “dump bag” if you’re kind of messy with your purse, Kat suggests to buy the bag with their various organizer accessories. Each piece can also be monogrammed so you can label which contains what. All their new collections also come with an inner hook that can hold your keys. No more dumpster diving for your keys when you get home!
Pronounced as “bwät,” where the “a” is a bit rounded—boite literally means hat box in French. Kat says she got inspired from one of her travels to Europe, and came back to Manila with a design for this circular bag that can still be folded flat, just like the City tote.
Now one of her most popular collections, the Boite has been reimagined for her 10th anniversary line with fresher colors—from Match green and Sunshine yellow to metallic hues—and a brand new quilted leather texture. The Boite comes in two sizes and can be seen here worn by Cat Juan Ledesma and Happy Skin co-founder Rissa Mananquil-Trillo.
For those who would like a smaller purse for their belongings, Katre also released new quilted textures and colors for the Thames, a purse that’s inspired from England’s River Thames. The Thames is also recommended by Kat to use as a camera bag, and has gained the approval of renowned photographer Shaira Luna, who owns one of the very first Thames model released this year.
Probably one of our ultimate favorites from the new collections is the Mount, which is not just a reinvention of a classic, but a new design altogether. This bag is not just sleek and beautiful—it’s also called the Mount Convertible for a reason. The Mount can be transformed into a handcarry, a backpack, or a crossbody, depending on what you need it for. When you buy the bag, it comes with two separate straps that can convert the handbag into a backpack or crossbody, and is equipped with two clips at the side to make it expandable when needed.
The Mount comes in two sizes, midi and petite, and comes in a variety of colors as well. Personally, the brown petite is to die for. It is the epitome of utility and style, transforming into anything that you need it for.