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Cuyana Tote Review: My Experience With This High Quality Handbag

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Reviewed by Amanda Hitchcock

Last Updated February 2022

Cuyana Tote Review

If you’re in the market for a high quality leather handbag from a company whose ‘fewer, better’ philosophy is centered on using high-quality materials that are crafted with integrity, then a Cuyana is a brand you should consider. Let me tell you why.

Featured Product: Cuyana Classic Leather Zipper Tote with Tote Organization Insert

Cuyana Tote Bag Experience

Price: $228.00 for the Classic Leather Zipper Tote + $95.00 for the Tote Organization Insert

The Classic Leather Zipper Tote is the perfect stylish and versatile accessory to take along with you through all of life’s adventures - whether you’re running errands around town or packing a couple of outfits for a weekend away - this bag has your back. Available in nine classic neutral colors, this tote is a polished finishing touch to any outfit.

Ratings Breakdown


Better overall quality than other similarly-priced designer bags on the market. The leather is thick, and the stitching on the bag is even and sturdy. Both exterior and interior zipper hardware are substantial and operate smoothly.


The Classic Leather Zipper Tote gains a 5-star rating because of its ample sizing and impeccable construction; at prices that are significantly less than some other designer branded bags with similar specs.


This bag is ideal for everyday use; it has enough space for your keys, wallet, laptop and much more. The straps are well-designed and keep the bag balanced on your shoulder, even when the bag is open and you’ve only got one strap on your arm.


The brand Cuyana earns its 5-star review because of its pledge to help others through various avenues - such as empowering small business craftsmen throughout a number of countries.

Who is Cuyana?

Cuyana was launched in 2011 by co-founders Karla Gallardo, who is also the CEO, and Shilpa Shah, CXO. With their philosophy of ‘fewer, better’ for women’s fashion, Cuyana is a brand founded by women, for women; keeping the principles of functional products that are rich in meaning at the heart of the company’s vision. Cuyana believes that having fewer items that are of better quality is a way to give their consumers timeless pieces that hold up to daily use.

They choose quality and sustainability at every opportunity. This goes for sourcing and producing all of their products - clothing, jewelry, accessories, etc. (not just their leather handbags!).

Woodley & Lowe Brand Story

Additionally, Cuyana continues to show their commitment to give back to women in need. Through a partnership with ThredUP, Cuyana sends complimentary shipping labels with every domestic order, so that women can donate their unused clothing with ease; and by pairing down your closet through H.E.A.R.T., you can help other women who are in need. Their ‘fewer, better’ motto is backed up with action, down to providing the donation shipping labels, so that women can easily help other women.

Sustainability is also at the heart of Cuyana’s vision - so much so, that they’ve committed to reaching 100% sustainably-made materials by next year. There is an intentionality that is apparent with this brand, which I would love to see more of in the world. It is clear that Cuyana’s commitment to a well-rounded set of core values and high-quality products is strong. Pair that with high-quality materials that are made to last, and you’ve got a brand that takes the stress out of shopping responsibly.


  • High-quality construction and attention to detail
  • Stunning appearance in person
  • Soft, yet structured leather construction
  • Generous interior space to accommodate a ton of storage
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Shoulder straps are sturdy and well-constructed
  • Zipper functions smoothly
  • Organization insert provides a variety of pockets to keep goods separated
  • 2-year warranty
  • Repair and Refresh Services available (temporarily suspended due to COVID-19)


  • Pockets from organization insert are deep can make it challenge to find things
  • Border of the insert tends to collapse on one side, so it appears to become a pocket, though it is not meant to be one
  • With so much interior space, this bag may be quite weighty when full
Wearing Cuyana Bag
Cuyana tote storage

Cuyana Tote Review Experience And Performance

I must say, the more I use this bag the more I love it! I switched to the Classic Leather Zipper tote from a (much) smaller leather backpack, so at first I was concerned that this bag would be too weighty for everyday use. However, this bag has proven me wrong! The shoulder straps are so comfortable and distribute the weight of this oversized tote perfectly.

Given the size of the bag, I appreciate that the tote insert was sold separately rather than sewn into the bag. This greatly opens up the options on how the tote can be used. The insert is fantastic to keep everyday items separated and easy to find. 

Cuyana Tote Comfort

However, if it is removed from the tote, the bag easily becomes a weekender than can fit a couple of outfits + toiletries. Again, the intentionality of this brand is obvious, especially in their attention to detail. The only detail I personally would add to this bag would be the little metal stud feet, so that the leather does not touch whatever surface it's set on directly.

The organization insert keeps everything where it belongs, and even features a (brilliantly designed) drink holder with an elastic opening to keep your beverage secure. The straps are well-designed and keep the bag balanced on your shoulder, even when the bag is open and you’ve only got one strap on your arm.

Cuyana Tote Pockets

Although the tote can get a bit weighty when it is filled up, the ability to large items securely with ease makes the Classic Zipper Tote a must-have. The pockets in the Organization Insert are quite deep, so deep in fact that it can be a challenge to find things if your items do not have their own designated space. However, this also means that you can keep larger items separated.

 Lastly, the durability of the Classic Tote is superb. In the time I’ve had the bag, I think I’ve thrown everything but the kitchen sink in it...and it remains looking shiny and new! Quite impressive, actually. Overall, the experience of carrying this tote has been top notch.

Classic Leather Zipper


Classic Leather Zipper Tote


Softly structured and secure, our lightweight Classic Leather Zipper Tote is perfectly suited for work or a weekend getaway.

Made in Argentina, where our leather goods are cut and assembled by hand in small workshops owned by a family with two generations of experience.


Are Cuyana Products Good Quality Products?

Definitely yes. These products are well-made, with sturdy construction and quality materials that should last a long time, especially if well-cared for according to the instructions.

Cuyana Bag Quality

The Zipper Tote is assembled by hand in Argentina in a small family-owned workshop. Its product page shows it is LWG (Leather Working Group) Silver Certified, meaning the leather is responsibly tanned. The Organization Insert is made in a woman-owned factory in Turkey where artisans have been producing letter goods for centuries.

Guyana’s focus on quality materials, construction, and responsible manufacturing, and repairing rather than replacing definitely makes it easier to meet their goal of keeping their items in your closet and out of landfills.

Is The Cuyana Tote Worth The Money?

If quality is what you're looking for, you're not going to find a better value than this tote. $228 is not unreasonable to own a bag with this versatility and a brand with this level of awareness.

Cuyana Bag Insert

I appreciate Cuyana’s approach to sustainability and responsible manufacturing. I also appreciate their honesty. The Organization Insert product description page notes that they used a polyurethane-based microsuede because of its durability, but that they are currently researching non-plastic options.

Cuyana Coupons and Discounts

Sign up for emails for a 10% discount off your first order of $150 or more.

Classic Leather Zipper Tote


Classic Leather Zipper Tote


Softly structured and secure, our lightweight Classic Leather Zipper Tote is perfectly suited for work or a weekend getaway.

Made in Argentina, where our leather goods are cut and assembled by hand in small workshops owned by a family with two generations of experience.


How to Care for Cuyana’s Leather Goods

Wipe a soft, dry (or soft damp) cloth across the bag gently every other day. More thorough leather cleanings need to be done, but only a couple of times per year. Cuyana offers spot cleaner and conditioner to help maintain their goods. Instructions for how to remove buildup can be found here.

Cuyana provides dusters for their handbags, which makes storing your bags upright in the closet a breeze. This will also help to maintain the shape of your bag over time. That being said, I personally do not anticipate my tote spending much time in the closet, because I’ll be too busy using it!


Cuyana Handbag Summary

With so many choices available at the click of a button via online shopping, it can be overwhelming to even know where to start as a consumer. Cuyana helps narrow the playing field by thoughtfully sourcing and manufacturing their products, and is continually revisiting what it means to be a conscientious brand. 

Reviewing Cuyana Tote Thoughts

This carries through in all of their products, including their Classic Leather Zipper Tote, which features EWG Silver certified leather. If you’re in search of your ‘fewer, better’ handbag that can withstand daily use, look no further than Cuyana.