I started The Restory because I was tired of the whole aftercare experience. When I went back to brands or retailers they either couldn’t help, or I’d have to jump through hoops to produce old receipts or wait 16 weeks for the work to be done. If I did find someone on the high street, their capabilities were limited and the quality was inconsistent. At The Restory, we always try to present a solution, and we’re blessed to have a very creative and multifaceted team.
We love a challenge. An older man once brought us both his and his father’s school-boy hat boxes – one of which was over 100 years old. They were so old that when you touched them, the leather would turn to dust. Thais (my co-founder) had to find a chemist to mix us a special bonding solution to drip into the leather to keep it constituted. She made all new straps and re-lined it in new velvet. As a result, someone will have a very nice heirloom to cherish for a long time. Another of my favourite case studies is a YSL bag that got chewed by a labrador – it’s funny how many items we get sent that have been chewed by a dog…
Always buy protective soles for your shoes. At The Restory, they’re £35, and they’ll make your shoes last forever. It also makes them a bit comfier, too. In terms of looking after them at home, try not to wear them in the rain, but if you do get caught out, make sure they dry naturally – don’t put them next to a heat source, for example. Try to keep them in a box when you’re not using them, not piled up with other shoes, and if they’re leather, good conditioning will help keep them hydrated.
For an effective at-home leather conditioning treatment, we like Carnuba cream. Use a small amount on a clean cloth and buff it in afterwards. A protective spray is always a good idea for suede and nubuck, but be careful not to spray too close or let big drops fall as these can cause watermarks on some fabrics. If you’re nervous, we offer this service for just £18.
Another trick to protect your shoes is to put a piece of carpet remnant (about the size of a car mat) under the heel of your right foot when you’re driving – it helps protect the back of that shoe. Be sure to change it regularly otherwise it will get as dirty as the regular carpet in your car.
Suede isn’t as tricky to look after as everyone thinks. You just need to be gentle and avoid wearing it in the rain. A light-coloured patent is much more difficult – it absorbs colour easily, so you have to be willing to be really, and I mean really, careful. This is slightly controversial, but from a restorative perspective, natural leather is better than faux leather. The latter is generally unrestorable due to the plastic content (although we’re working on ways to make it so).
Shoes with leather or rubber soles are generally the most repairable. However, if you take early action with pre-wear solutions, it is possible to protect trainers and other moulded sole shoes, too
We don’t just repair shoes – we also do bags, wallets, briefcases, luggage and even leather clothes. When it comes to caring for your bags, keep them stuffed when you’re not using them and use a pillow for larger ones. For small bags, use old socks or a small towel to help them keep their shape. Keep them in their dust bags, away from heat and don't put them on the floor at work or in restaurants, pubs or bars. Don’t overload them, either – most of them are not made to bear that much weight, regardless of their size. Keep them clear of any potential chemical spray when getting your hair coloured, too. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we've had a few pieces come in for restoration due to the odd antibacterial gel spillage, too – I’m happy to confirm it is salvageable!
The process of creating a bag is a completely different to repairing or restoring one. This is especially true when it comes to more advanced services like colour and leather restoration. It can be incredibly complex, and that’s why these services aren’t offered too widely. We’ve invested heavily in understanding that complexity and, while we’re light years ahead of others, we still have more research to do.
Luxury can last a lifetime when you look after it. Through our website and partnerships with Harrods, Selfridges and Harvey Nichols, we provide an on-demand, trusted and globally accessible service. We’re on a mission to help you fall in love with your favourites all over again. It's why we do what we do.