- Handbag Clinic in London restores, authenticates, and resells designer handbags and shoes.
- Cofounder Charlotte Staerck walks us through how an artisan restores a stained Chanel GST.
- This includes wiping the bag with ink remover, using a bristle brush with foam, and repainting the bag.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The following is a transcript of the video.
Narrator: I am Charlotte Staerck, and I’m cofounder and CEO of Handbag Clinic. Today, I’m going to walk you through how our artisan Chloe will restore this Grand Shopper Tote that has pen ink all over it. The Chanel Grand Shopper Tote reached around 2,000 pounds when it was able to be bought direct from Chanel. When this restoration’s complete, we would sell a Grand Shopper Tote for anywhere between 1,700 pounds and 1,950 pounds.
The first thing that Chloe will do with this item is remove all of the ink. The most important part of restoring this bag will actually be the initial cleaning, because ink can spread and can create more staining. We use a special ink remover. So, you can see Chloe taking the ink remover with a small cotton bud and gently rolling this over the initial ink. This is so that we don’t have any spreading, any further contamination of that ink to the bag. One of the main reasons for this is because ink is actually very oily, and oil and leather really don’t mix. We then also use a range of products. Some are solvent-based, which will help to dry out any areas which have absorbed additional oils. And then we also use products which have natural oils embedded into them, which will then nourish areas that have dried, such as the corners or any areas where the ink has been drawn out of.
We then use our specialist cleaning solution with the brush and a foam, which then will remove any excess product. Caviar skin leather is grained, so you need the brush to get into all of those grooves to be able to really make sure it’s clean and make sure it’s ready for the next stage of the process. Caviar leather, it gets its name from being a pebbled-texture leather, which means that it has printed into it this almost bubbled effect. If anything is trapped there or left in there, you would run the risk of that later peeling or coming away.
Because it is ink that has contaminated this, the cleaning process alone will not remove this stain, and we must apply other methods. In our research and development team, we realized that ink stains, in particular, were very stubborn, so we created a metallic solution which actually blocks that coming through to make sure in a year’s time you’re not going to start seeing that ink stain come through. Chloe takes the specialist solution and she applies it lightly with an airbrush throughout every area where you can see the ink.
Chloe will then create the color match, which we have discussed with the client in advance. This colorant, once created, will then be airbrushed on this bag. We always want to be as sparing as possible to ensure the texture of the leather is maintained. Because of the iconic CC quilting and the CC on the front of the item, which makes this item the iconic Chanel look, we want to make sure as little pigment gets onto those stitches as possible. And the bag is ready to go.