The Side Hustle: Sophie Fleming

Sophie Fleming decided to start her side hustle — building her eponymous handmade bag brand — after spotting a gap in the market and realising her career experience could help to make it a viable business.

23rd May 2017

Hi Sophie. So, what's your everyday job?

I work for a digital marketing company as a Marketing Manager for the B2B side of the business.

Sophie Fleming standing by car
Close up of Sophie Fleming bag

What's your side hustle?

I design leather bags that are all handmade in England.

How did you get into making bags?

When I was at university, I used to cycle up to campus every day and desperately needed a backpack to lug my laptop and books around. I was amazed to find that the only options in the shops were shapeless canvas rucksacks. A couple of years later, when I started commuting to central London for my first job, I realised the gap in the market for a more structured and formal backpack still hadn’t been filled — so I decided to do something about it!

Woman wearing rucksack looking at mountains
Close up of bag being made

What's your proudest moment?

I still think the most amazing thing is when I see someone wearing one of my bags in real life. The majority of my bags have been sold in Europe, but I will never forget being sent a photo from a friend when she spotted one in New York!

What inspires your designs?

Style balanced with practicality, and traditional English craftsmanship.

Who's your favourite accessories designer?

I’m a big fan of Anya Hindmarch. I love how much fun she has with her designs and her products are always amazing quality (absolutely key!).

Blue navy leather side bag
Close up of creme leather side bag

If you could collaborate with a designer, who would it be?

Someone like Charlotte Simone would be fun — you could end up with fluffy rainbow backpacks!

Last boxset I watched...

Sons of Anarchy. I’m slightly obsessed; I’m on the final season now.

Interested in Sophie’s bags? Head to or follow her on Instagram.


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