Barenia leather bag review

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  1. #1 Jun 14, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2018
    Hi all,

    Back in December I posted here about barenia leather (https://forum.purseblog.com/threads/barenia-leather.976106/), a member introduced me to the brand van Astyn. Recently I finally purchased their Eley bag (http://www.vanastyn.com/shop-women/bags/eley-small-sling-clutch-in-cognac-barenia-calaf.html) so I thought I might just post a review here in case anyone is also interested in barenia leather products.

    I decided to order a cognac barenia calf item because I don't have any bags in this color and also it is the natural color for barenia leather. I am very picky about bag weight so I was thinking about getting the smallest bag available (Eley), however the chain details made me hesitate. I emailed the customer service about ordering alternative canvas/leather straps but was told this was not an option. In the end I still got the Eley bag.

    It came in after 2 weeks, which is not bad since I am in the US and the bag is shipped from Switzerland. A bit frustrating that it did not come in a box…and I paid ~$80 for shipping:sad: The dust bag is nice and has leather tags:
    dustbag.jpg

    The bag is nicely made, barenia leather feels and smells very nice.
    front.jpg

    There is a mark at the bottom of the bag. I emailed the customer service and was told this is normal patina for barenia leather (so basically they don’t consider it as defect). They did say that I can exchange it but another bag will have the same problem. They share some care tips which is helpful. Basically you can wipe barenia leather with water. I did try putting a tiny little drop of water on the leather and the drop did disappear quickly without obvious marks.
    water mark.JPG

    The hardware is pretty sturdy, and the chain feels pretty substantial. With strap and tag the bag is 976 grams, which is a lot heavier than I thought and no doubt the heaviest bag I own.
    strap.JPG

    The closure turned out to be a bit more cumbersome than I expected, because of the small piece under the clip-lock. Also the flap is very short and the clip-lock is oversized, so you have to really pull the flap to close it, and the top part of the bag has to be empty, making the capacity even smaller.
    closure.JPG

    The inner part of the bag is lined with fabric and nicely divided with several pockets, but to be honest considering the short height of the bag, I don't think these divisions are necessary. There is a wide back pocket which is pretty nice.
    FullSizeRender.jpg

    This is what I try to fit into the bag: sunglasses, card holder, key holder, badge, pencil case as cosmetic pouch, and iphone 7 I am using to take pictures. I can fit everything except the sunglasses (with room for phone).
    IMG_4668.JPG

    For comparison I have my Fendi mini by the way, which is smaller but thicker and has single compartment. As you can see they have pretty much the same capacity. I can fit the sunglasses in the mini by the way if I leave my phone out.
    with btw.jpg
    with btw2.jpg

    This is how it look on me. I am 5'2", the chain is adjustable so I can make it even shorter, but due to the east-west style I prefer holding it in my hand rather than wearing crossbody.
    mods.JPG

    Rating (based on its current sales price point):

    Quality (material + craftsmanship): 5/5
    Anesthetics and design: 2.5/5 (the look is ok with some originality, however the short flap and the clip-clock IMO have design flaws)
    Functionality (capacity + weight + strap length): 2.5/5 (too small considering the weight)
    Packaging: 1/5
    Customer service: 5/5 (emails are replied within one day)

    Overall: 3.2/5

    To be honest the leather quality and craftsmanship is exceptional, however all the design problems making me reluctant to keep it. I might be better off starting with a larger bag – they have one in speedy style and also a couple of shoulder bags.

    I know there have been discussions about declining quality in premier designers or designer bags overall, but this experience makes me think that sometimes better-known brands might still be a better choice. For this less known brand which has excellent quality, the fact that this bag doesn't work for me in so many ways is very frustrating. I am not saying high-end designers don't have design flaws - of course they do, but the abundant reviews make it easier to avoid those styles, and these brands or the department stores that offer them generally have more friendly return policy compared to 'indie' brands. It is a bit sad though the entire handbag shopping process has been stressful for me nowadays.

    Thanks for letting me share, I hope this is somewhat helpful. I will still keeping looking for barenia leather bags maybe until I can finally afford Hermes or Moynat barenia :biggrin::biggrin:
     
  2. Thank you for posting your observations. I considered this exact bag as well, but I was a bit hesitant seeing the lock and the heavy chain. So I am glad I didn't pull the trigger!
    I have tried their bags before (I have 5 and waiting for 3 more to arrive). Most of them are made of barenia leather and are of a big size. I was really pleased with them, although recently one of my bags, the most expensive of all of them, lost the sealant on the edge of the strap. Strange, given the fact that I haven't used it a lot!
    I believe that the recent price drop is due to company selling out the old stock.
     
    sonicxml likes this.
  3. Thank you for your thorough review and pictures! It was really good to read.
     
    sonicxml likes this.
  4. Thank you! Nice to know that there are other handbag lovers enjoying this brand as well :biggrin: I managed to get refund for this bag from my credit card company and ordered an Ike bag in cognac barenia instead. Sorry about the sealant on your bag. Have you contacted the customer service? I hope they can repair that for you!
     
  5. Thank you :biggrin::biggrin:
     
  6. 6520BA2C-A321-4B28-BEA3-E4A82F5DE559.jpeg 9A8695F8-8F02-4B3D-A42C-ECA40D8160CA.jpeg
    I’ve purchased three Barenia bags one is the same as yours. I can tell you the closure does become easier as the bag wears. The Barenia leather is still gorgeous as the day I purchased it. Love these bags❤️
     
  7. Great collection! The barenia Apri bags are gorgeous:tup: :hbeat:too bad that they are out of stock now, I always wanted a single top handle bag :P
     
  8. I was wondering how you like your Ike bag?
     
  9. I haven’t used it yet but I really like it! It came in a box and nicely wrapped. Weighs just under 1kg empty with strap, pretty roomy. Will upload more pictures once I start using it!
    143DBD2A-43F3-462A-9D1A-BAC419F07896.jpeg
     
    ODEDIHAIMS and bellebellebelle19 like this.
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  11. Twins! I asked because I ordered one (cognac barenia) and it's my fav bag now! I love it so much that I ordered 2 more Ike bags (taupe barenia and black calf ). I also ordered cognac Eley just to use the chain strap for Ike. I am obsessed
     
    image.jpg
  12. If you're comfortable with modshots, I'd love to see how the bag style in the back of your photo looks when wearing :flowers:
     
  13. 3B422942-C082-4DF7-85C0-5068EDEDC21C.jpeg
    I like this bag because you can wear it three ways as a handheld or you can tuck the handle inside the bag as attach the strap wearing it shoulder or crossbody. Sorry for the blurry pic.
     
    bellebellebelle19 likes this.
  14. That's awesome, thank you!! Looks as chic as I thought it would - just wanted to make sure :smile: thanks again :flowers: Do you find it heavy?
     
  15. It’s not heavy at all.
     
    bellebellebelle19 likes this.