When Katie at the Queen Bee contacted me, raving about the Handbag Clinic in her shop, I thought that this won’t work. Not so. Far from it.
I was wholly wrong. It is a very real thing. Any entrepreneur should have a heads up on this – lateral thinking at its best.
Charlotte & Ben, the owners of the Handbag Clinic in London, together with Olivia, their retail assistant, were on hand to show what they do. For a guy, a handbag is pretty much just something useful to carry around. To a woman, it is very much a must-have accessory. All women have a favourite handbag with some having many. They are used so much that they suffer wear and tear. So the handbag becomes less attractive and not so much fun to have swinging from your hand or dangling from your shoulder. That is, until now – the Handbag Clinic can make that old loved handbag look like new. Really.
Stepping back one. Ben had a business repairing leather furniture in London. When his technicians were on site they inevitably received requests to ‘have a quick look at my bag’, most bags being made of leather. So the business was born. These incidental handbag repairs were diverting the furnishings technicians from their other work. Ben decided to create the Handbag Clinic to concentrate only on handbags.
The Handbag Clinic has worked directly with some major names like Gucci. They have opened stores in Chelsea’s Kings Road and other key locations such as Newcastle, Leeds and in-store at Harvey Nichols Manchester. There is even one now in Qatar. Katie has managed to get them to open in her store – The Queen Bee in Monaco.
The value of the bags ranges from an ordinary bag to ones costing 5,000 and upwards. Ben has recently completed a restoration of a bag with a price tag of 120,000, that is in UK pounds. Since it opened in 2013 the Handbag Clinic has restored and cleaned in excess of 20 million pounds worth of handbags. That’s a lot of handbags. A lot of happy clients.
The things they do are quite amazing. Repairing damaged leather, recolouring, recreating handles that have seen better days, and so on. They know what they are doing – they are very professional. They know how to deliver the desired result.
Bottom line – Is there a market for this service? Too right there is. I am going with Katie in raving about this new idea. Brilliant. Clever. Fun.
The Queen Bee
Place de la Crémaillère
Tel: 33 6 03 02 42 37 (mobile)
All photos © and courtesy Mike Colquhoun