Satch & Fable 13″ Leather Satchel W/Pocket Review – $139

Twelve years ago in India, Fabrizio Giuliani, an Italian teaching English to Tibetan monks, found a guy making “cheap” leather bags to tourists. Falling in love with unique qualities of the leather, he decided to use that leather to create his own bags with enhanced durability and construction techniques. Satch & Fable bags are created using the Buddhist concept of Wabi-sabi which finds natural beauty in imperfection and impermanence.



The most unique aspect of this satchel is the full-grain goat leather. Goat leather is naturally lighter and more water-resistant than cowhide.  Fabrizio describes this leather as Moroccan leather. Although this leather is actually from India, it is tanned using traditional Moroccan techniques. “Traditional” Moroccan leather tanning is not nearly as pleasant nor easy compared to mechanized Western techniques. In a nutshell, the leather is arduously hand-washed at least five times. At the fourth wash, the leather is “shampooed” to remove odors (from what I’ve learned, this is the ESSENTIAL step). The leather is then gently dried in the sun for 2 hours, re-wet, and then hand-rubbed. Goatskins are smaller than cowhide so up to two goatskins are used to make a single bag. Because of the sourcing and traditional tanning methods, no two bags will ever be alike.


The goats are raised and sourced locally from Rajasthan, and the tanned skins are brought to the village workshop for construction. There are only 3-5 local workers who produce these bags by hand. The brass buckles and rivets are also from India. Vintage sewing machines are used to place the cotton stitching.



Satch & Fable 13” Satchel with Front Pocket (on bottom) and Satch & Fable Pouch ( on top)


This satchel breaks all the rules. It does not have a 100-year warranty. It is not made from military grade materials or imported fabrics from Italy or France. It will not stop a bullet for you. This bag is not 10 lbs.  This bag is a lightweight, casual alternative to the rugged beast bags out there. My particular satchel is 13’’x10’’x5’’ although various size options are available.  It comes with three internal compartments with a padded one just for your laptop, two zippered pockets, and an external front pocket. This featherweight entry to the satchel arena is a welcome reprieve to the pounding that my shoulder has taken from my full-grain cowhide briefcase that I use for work.

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Who knew imperfect could be so beautiful? You can see every blemish on these tanned goatskins but they are subtle and gorgeous. This bag is not pretentious nor does it try to be something it’s not. This is one of those kids you hated in college – someone who doesn’t have to try, but always looks good and grabs all the attention. Out of the bag, it seems like a bag that has been loved for many years but there’s still years worth of aging and patina left for you to do on your own. There are darkened shadows and creases at just the right spots. The leather is so soft and light yet tough. According to the Wabi-sabi concept on the website, there may be an imperfect stitch here or there, but I can’t find a single one.


Here’s my favorite part – you really have no idea exactly what your bag will look like before you get it. Because of the traditional hand-tanning method, your bag’s leather may look COMPLETELY different than the next one. Opening up the bag is like opening up a Christmas gift or pulling a fish out of water.


Yes, these are the exact same bags made of the same type of leather.

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The Satch & Fable 13’’ Leather Satchel with Pocket at $139 is a welcome alternative to the heavy full-grain cowhide bags flooding the new-entry market. It won’t break your back and it won’t break your bank. This bag is perfectly imperfect. If you’re looking for a beautiful broke-in bag that can save you several years worth of patina this is it.


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  1. I have one of their bags. Terrible smell that didn’t subside. Also, the straps are fraying, despite having only been used a handful of times. Poor customer service and seemingly cheap bags. They do look cool, if you can get over the stench. Durability is questionable. Not sure if it’s just an issue with the strap in question; however, they don’t stand behind their products, so I guess I’ll never know. Seems like a fly by night operation, only interested in profits.

    • I have to admit I was worried, but I didn’t notice a smell with either bags. I do know that traditional moroccan tanning is a stinky and long task and that may be why some bags could smell, but when speaking to Fabrizio, he said they have a special shampooing step to remove strong odors.

      In terms of the quality of the construction, the company does stress that they find beauty in “imperfection” and that which is “transient”. I specifically asked Fab exactly how long does he expect his bags to last and he said they are not trying to make a lifetime 100-year guarantee kind of product. Instead, he wanted to make an affordable line of attractive leather bags that you could enjoy for some years before tossing it and getting another completely different looking bag to enjoy (After all, the materials are mostly lightweight goatskin and cotton stitching – not your typical 10oz cowhide with marine grade nylon stitching).The target audience seems to be those who like to pay less and routinely change up or upgrade their items and not for the buyer who wants to invest a lot of money into one big final purchase. I felt like he pretty honest and definitely wasn’t trying to talk up or make these bags seem like they were something they are not.

      In terms of communication, he seemed most immediately responsive through his e-mail, but honestly I haven’t had to use their customer service yet. Hopefully, they can resolve your strap issue or replace your bag if you aren’t satisfied.

      Hope this helps!

    • Nah…the smell was definitely not a problem in my case. I find the smell addictively (almost) pleasant. 🙂

      Durability…this was inexpensive for the type of bag, so I wouldn’t expect it to last. 3-5 years of moderate use at most is my guess.

    • In response to Brendan —
      Does it make a dif that you’re not paying $1200 for the bag in terms of it wearing out so fast? Not really. If this were properly cured and if it were the product claimed then it ought to last several years when kept moistened and clean and dry. Cases in point are leather products made by Red Wing Shoe Company, known for excellent craftsmanship and long-lasting products. Their products are very competitively priced and do not have an odor even though they go through an extensive “tanning process” in prep to be made into shoes. And they last for years and years even when subjected to barnyards and construction sites. They do not compete with this company for bags so I think it’s ok to bring it up in this forum. (And FULL DISCLOSURE: I do not work for Red Wing Shoe nor any of it’s purveyors.)
      And the odor is one that I have often wondered, not as an owner of the bag but with a friend who told me about the site because I am a fan of certain leather products, how long it takes to go away; does it ever? I suspect it is a leather chemical used in the process of treating hides. It is not a nice chemical for humans. However, since I don’t own the bag but only smell it once in awhile, I am not claiming that the chemical that is smelled is anything other than an “acquired taste”, as they say!
      Sorry for the length of this.

      • Hey Mjolnir – Less expensive leather products often use chrome tanned leather made overseas. Lots of chemicals go into that process. If you want nothing to do with that then buy leather products made by either Wicket & Craig, Herman Oak, or Horween. They will be much more expensive. You get what you pay for. There is a huge difference between these bags and a $1200 bag. About a $1000 difference.

        This article is a little over-the-top in hype but you can get a good idea what you are buying:

        The US based tanneries that used chromium tanning such as Horween are regulated pretty stringently by the EPA.

        Comparing bags to boots is apples and oranges.

  2. I’ve had one of these bags (still have, in fact). It’s a great bag, to be honest. I had no smell issue at all. It’s held up nicely, and looks great after 4 years. From a craftsman point of view (I’m Mascon Leather), It’s amazing that they can create such a bag at such a low price. No, the leather is not 100% top quality, but for the price, it’s 100% worth it. I’d have twice that money just in the leather for a bag that size. not to mention 20+ hours of labor.

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