Today we have a fun conversation with Claire of Claire's Handbagcare. She was also a guest at our event Something old, Something new. She started her own business restoring bags five years ago. We were allowed to ask her some questions about her business, bags and jewellery collection. Time to mix & match!
Why did you start your business?
Claire's Handbagcare was born out of necessity. Asking the question: where are you going with your beautiful bag? You don't just go to the shoemaker with it. My friends and I saw that we had nowhere to go, so I started trying it on our bags. After a year or so I went online with my business.
What is your mission?
I have a lot of respect for certain brands, Chanel, Dior, and Hermès. Where there are really beautiful stories behind the designers and brands. I like the idea that these bags can also be passed on again from mother to daughter, to granddaughter. They are such beautiful pieces, so it is my mission with Claire's handbagcare that bags stay in use for a long time.
How does restoration affect the value of a bag?
This is different for each bag and each restoration. If you change the colour of your bag from white to black it will decrease in value, but if you restore your bag to keep the corners nice and the bag does not bare anymore, it will not change in value.
What branded bags do you handle? Is this only Chanel and Hermès?
I treat all bags that are of value to you. So if you have a very valuable old bag from your grandmother, then I treat that too. Because of the price I charge, there are mainly more expensive bags in my workshop, but in the past, I have also done unbranded bags that are very valuable to the customer.
How does your process go into action? What steps are taken?
First, a quote is provided and the bag is brought in or sent out. The process in terms of handling is difficult to capture on paper. When a bag comes in I clean it, repair what I can and also do the top layer. We always polish it again with our own product, which nourishes and protects the leather. The exact process I can't tell you, unfortunately.
Do you pay attention to how you combine your jewellery with your bag and what are your tips?
I don't combine my jewellery with my bags. Of course, it used to be that white gold or yellow gold couldn't be combined, but nowadays you can combine them very well so this is not a problem anymore. You have everyday jewellery, which I would not wear to a gala or a dressier evening. Then I go for a more pronounced jewel with a more pronounced bag. My tip for an evening bag is: not too big. It's not about showing off with your bag, but subtly matching it to the outfit and occasion and this will also apply to jewellery that here is also etiquette appropriate to the occasion.
What is your most treasured piece of jewellery?
If I have to express this in monetary value it is not worth much, but I have two bracelets from my sons that they received at birth. Two bracelets with a gold nameplate and with turquoise coral beads strung on them. I had a bracelet made of these, which is my most precious jewel because in this way they are always with me.
What are you most proud of in your company?
That we always work in a very personal way and that women from all over Europe know how to find me which gives me very nice contacts. For example, there was a lady who had saved very hard for her first Chanel bag and now has a whole collection, but still, her first Chanel bag remains the most precious to her. She works very hard next to her studies with her own company to be able to buy these bags and she entrusts her bag to me. That is what I am most proud of, that woman with a bag that is very dear to them entrusting it to me.
Got inspiration from Claire's Handbagcare? Read more!