Handbag Clinic has significantly expanded its repair workshop to cope with demand for its high-end restoration services after cleaning and restoring designer bags worth more than half a million pounds over the last 12 months.
The firm, which cleans and repairs handbags and accessories from the world’s most prestigious designers, has expanded the floor space of its handbag repair centre in Burnopfield, County Durham, by 15 per cent to 3,800 sq ft.
Additional space is necessary because of steady growth at Handbag Clinic, which has recently opened a store in Mosley Street, Newcastle, following an earlier launch on King’s Road, Chelsea.
Over the past 12 months, the firm’s restoration experts have brought 6,500 handbags, worth an estimated £550,000 back to their former glory. Alongside this, Handbag Clinic runs a service to restore red soles of Christian Louboutin shoes. There has also been investment in high-level security facilities, including a cage staff entering the repair centre must walk through, to protect customers’ designer accessories.
Handbag Clinic has also taken on new handbag buyer Charlotte Staerck along with three new apprentices in the past few weeks, as part of a recruitment drive to employ two new members of staff every month to ensure it has the skills needed to deal with designer accessories from the likes of Chanel, Hermés and Celine.
The firm is bucking the trend in the luxury goods market. A recent global report by consultancy company Bain and Co found that the global luxury goods market is now worth more than £700bn, but demand slowed during 2015 compared to the previous year for personal luxuries including jewellery and handbags.
MD Ben Staerck said: “We needed increased workspace to make sure we have the capacity to deal with a soaring demand for our specialist services.
“We’re finding that while customers may not be buying a new Hermés Kelly or a Celine Phantom, they are either coming to us to source a pre-loved bag or they are giving their existing accessories a bit of TLC.”
Handbag Clinic was launched in 2014 by Ben Staerck. Since then, it has swiftly gained a loyal celebrity following, including many of the Made in Chelsea cast and reality star Imogen Thomas.
It offers cleaning, protection, stain removal, repair and restoration services for handbags, shoes and other leather accessories.