Handbag Clinic Secures £ 800,000 Investment to Drive Growth

From left to right, Ben Staerck, co-founder of Handbag Clinic, Jan Oosthuizen of Mercia, new president of Handbag Clinic Beatrice LaFon, CFO Sarah Jane Veitch, digital specialist Ian Griffiths and Charlotte Staerck, co-founder and CEO .

A A North East company that restores and resells luxury handbags to customers around the world has raised £ 800,000 from the North East Venture Fund (NEVF), supported by the European Regional Development Fund and managed by Mercia, and private investors, to support its growth.

The investment will allow Handbag Clinic to create around 20 new jobs at its Burnopfield, County Durham facility, further develop its technology and strengthen its management team.

As part of the investment, the company appointed former Claire’s Accessories CEO Beatrice LaFon as president and Ian Griffiths, founder of WhoCanFixMyCar, another Mercie-backed company, as a digital strategy consultant for help boost their e-commerce sales. He is also working with Durham University to adapt facial recognition technology to authenticate handbags and assess their condition and value.

Handbag Clinic restores around 700 bags each month and resells around 300, including luxury brands such as Hermès, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Dior and Gucci. In addition to its e-commerce site, the company has stores at King’s Road in Chelsea and Leeds, concessions at Fenwick’s in Newcastle and Colchester, and franchises in Europe and the Middle East. The Clinic transfers 90% of the stock purchased each month.

Handbag Clinic was founded in 2013 by Charlotte Staerck and her husband Ben, as a spin-off from her leather restoration company, the Furniture Clinic. Today it employs nearly 30 people, mostly in the North East, and offers a three-year program to train staff in catering techniques. He is also working with Durham University to adapt facial recognition technology to authenticate handbags and assess their condition and value.

Charlotte Staerck said: “Despite difficult business conditions during the pandemic, we have experienced steady growth and record online sales. We are delighted to welcome both Beatrice and Ian to the Board of Directors – their unparalleled knowledge and expertise will provide tremendous added value. They share our vision and, with the new investment, can help us achieve our aggressive growth plans, taking Handbag Clinic to the next level.

Jan Oosthuizen and Thea Tebble of Mercia worked on the case. Jan Oosthuizen said: “With sustainability now a central concern for many consumers, the clothing resale market has experienced unprecedented growth in recent years. Handbag Clinic is one of the market leaders. This funding will allow Charlotte and the team to strengthen her position and take the company to the next stage in its development.

Womble Bond Dickinson LLP advised Mercia while Handbag Clinic was represented by Square One Law. Ryecroft Glenton Corporate Finance provided financial support for due diligence.

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