The Process of Refurbishing a Leather Handbag

This is the story of how far I’d go to carry the same bag for nearly a decade… After the bag I carried daily for six years began showing signs of distress, and I discovered it was no longer in production, I sought out the original producer. Thankfully, he remade what I consider to be the best bag ever invented.

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About the Manufacturer

Justin Paul, Inc. is a Brooklyn-based luxury handbag manufacturer. Roy Campos is the founder and owner of Justin Paul Inc., and has served the fashion industry since 1989. You can absolutely expect personal attention throughout the development stages and production process, and a product made of the finest quality. Roy’s talented team’s motto: “There’s no cutting corners to reach perfection, a simple truth.”

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The Prototype

My original handbag was designed by Teich, a New York-based designer. The pocket configurations, were exactly what I needed. Two large pockets, and three small zipper pockets — one on the interior, and two on the outside. This setup gave me plenty of room to compartmentalize all of the do-dads I carried around. A long, skinny pocket for pens and chapstick. A narrow, slanted, easy-to-reach exterior pocket for my business cards. And of course, the two large pockets for everyday items, such as my wallet and sunglasses… It was a dream come true.

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When the lining of my beloved handbag tore, I reached out to Teich, and was told it would be just as costly to have the lining repaired, as it would to send it to the original manufacturer. Allison, creative director at Teich, was kind enough to introduce me to the original manufacturer, Roy Campos.

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The Process of Refurbishing

After taking a look at the bag, Roy told me that it would be just as costly to make a new bag as it would to reline it. With 30 minutes left until closing time, I decided to take a look around the factory with him and see if there were any leathers and linings that piqued my fancy. Admittedly, I didn’t find any that completely replaced my old love, but I did find a warm, maple leather that reminded me of the first time I laid eyes on my now aged purse. We started there, and moved onto linings. The old lining was produced in Japan, Roy told me, and he had run out long ago. At last, we stumbled upon the most fitting lining I could have discovered. I decided to take the leap, and we picked out the final details — rivets, pulls, and zippers. The talented individuals at Justin Paul, Inc. allowed us to film the process of refurbishing a handbag for a client. Watch the refurbishing stages from cutting out the old to sewing in the new.

More than a Manufacturer

As it turned out, Roy and I were both heading back to Manhattan from Brooklyn — and as fate would have it, we were heading to the same block in Manhattan. He to replace some machinery tool, and me to visit a friend at Venmo HQ. We talked about our families, and what brought us to New York. We had a lot in common, actually, and Roy made me feel clearer about where I was going in life. In fact, he reinvigorated a light in me, a desire to do what makes me feel passionate. He came from a family of cobblers, he told me, and when he came to New York, he just fell into the leather goods business, fell in love, and has been doing it ever since. The way he jaunted across his factory, and spoke about his work reminded me that I, too, once put passion above societal expectations.

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While I chose to get a new purse created, I’m certain that this is the perfect design for me, and I will be wearing it for another six years.

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In short, all I’m saying here is that love and passion can drive a person to do things that were once unimaginable. How many goods in your home were produced by people you personally know or have met? Or, did you ever love a product so much that you sought out the person who made it? It’s sagas like this one in my life that showcase what true passion, curiosity and respect look like. Knowing what I know now, I’m even more touched by its beauty. I only wish that this sort of passion can seep into every other aspect of my life, and may you and yours find the excitement in every day goods, and happenings to seek out their true roots, and unique beginnings.

Special Thanks to Roy Campos, Allison of Teich, & Maker’s Row.

If you enjoyed this post, here are some more articles on the art & process of manufacturing:

A Furniture Partnership Success: Treeline Woodworks & Martellas 
Messenger Bag Process: From Sketch to Finished Product