A group of people are huddled over a pair of Louboutin pumps with a broken steel stiletto. An animated discussion ensues about the best course of action for returning the shoes to their former glory.
In another corner, a team of cleaners are using sharp objects and toothbrushes to clean each trend on a pair of Youth Boots.
And in another part of the room tissue is being pushed into toe cavities, cotton dust bags are being ironed and black grosgrain ribbon is being cut to tie the beautifully branded bags together for return to their hopeful owners.
The company behind this reimagining of shoe and handbag repair is The Restory. They aim to reinvigorate the sector by bringing together the convenience of technology, the quality of rare artisan talent (mostly women) and the service of a team of credible consultants. As founder, Vanessa Jacobs, explains, “We are reinventing the restoration experience after decades of underinvestment and we’ve been inspired by companies such as Flowerbx and Vestiaire Collective who have managed to change people’s perception of their marketplace.”
Jacobs was inspired to start The Restory following a high-street shoe repair gone wrong. “I had just moved to London from New York and needed to get my lucky boots repaired for a job interview. What should have been a straightforward reheel and a polish, ended in an unapologetic disaster. Given London’s rich craft traditions I was surprised and frustrated, not just by the lack of a convenient service but also of a skilled restoration service,” said Jacobs. “Subsequent conversations with colleagues and friends confirmed that this was an all too familiar experience.”
Jacobs’ background in investment banking and management consulting served her well in putting together an integrated A-team of artisan and commercial talent.
The luxury accessories market in the UK is worth £2bn a year yet there are no credible or convenient aftercare solutions. But there is very clearly demand; Vanity Fair A-Lister, and recently crowned Vogue’s go-to shoe repair specialist, The Restory has won over 400 home and office clients throughout Central and West London in the last year and are growing revenues 15% per month.
The range of services The Restory offer, from shoe repair and leather restoration to complete bespoke refashioning, is earning them some impressive admirers from CEO’s to fashion elites and more.
“Currently, we are concentrating on providing The Restory’s services in London but we will be expanding across the whole of the UK,” continued Jacobs, “Looking further ahead, the plan is to offer new services and products and then we will look to bring The Restory’s much needed skills to Europe and the US.”