As the single use items are leading these days, the restoration services are particularly rare. That applies to shoe repair and bag restoration most of all. How did you arrive at this business idea, what inspired you?
After having moved from Amsterdam to London, I decided to continue my career in finance. It was much easier to live without a car in central London. However, as the public transportation services and the underground in particular are very busy and overcrowded, I started walking a lot. That meant my expensive suit shoes got worn out quite fast. As I was attached to them, I decided to look for professional shoe restoration services.
I had a mixed experience, as most of the cobble services did not offer a complete solution. I was looking for complete restoration possibilities and I could not find any. I was also faced with ordinary service points, rather than a luxury service.
As many of my friends and colleagues shared similar experiences, I came to an idea to bring a new quality to this established industry and I started the process of information gathering and solution testing…
Can you save every single shoe or bag?
It really depends on what they are made from. In the case of leather items, such us quality shoes and bags, we can restore 99 cases out of 100 cases. Even those severely damaged (e.g. chewed by a dog) can be saved. Unfortunately, more and more shoes are made partly from rubber or other synthetic materials. In case of a broken rubber sole, we cannot help much. The same goes for bags too, however, they are still mostly made from leather.
How long does the restoration process take and how does it work?
We offer a fast shoe or bag cleaning service, which takes 1-2 days only. The vast majority of restoration projects can, however, take up to a few weeks. There is no single procedure, as each case is different, but taking bag repair and dyeing as an example:
– We start with preliminary cleaning
– Next comes the repair process
– Then we clean the whole bag again
– Once cleaned, we dye the bag; that process may need to be repeated a few times
– Finally, the bag needs to dry out and we cover it with a protective coating to keep it in good shape for longer
What was the oldest item you managed to bring back to life?
We received a pair of hiking boots that were some 100 years old. Thanks to the superior quality of leather used for their production, we managed to restore them completely and the end result actually exceeded our own expectations. At the end of the renovation service, the boots looked like they were a few years old and worn a couple of times only.
What are the best shoe/bag care practices to keep them in a good shape for longer?
There are a few simple rules, which should massively extend the lifespan of our favourite shoes and bags:
– They should be cleaned regularly and kept under correct humidity conditions
– It is recommended to regularly use nourishing products for leather, just like we take care of our own skin
– With some bags, if they are not being used for some time, it is recommended to fill them in to maintain their shape and structure
– In case of shoes, the cedar shoetrees are great to keep them in a good shape and remove any moisture
– And a few more tips regarding shoes: it is better not to use them every single day, always loosen shoelaces, and never ever wash trainers in a washing machine!
Photo: Agata Kocon Photography