The Handbag Clinic, the UK-based luxury handbag restoration and preowned designer resale retailer, has secured a “significant” capital injection to accelerate its growth in the UK and internationally and to drive the technological development of its e-commerce platform.
The investment was through the North East Venture Fund (NEVF) supported by the European Regional Development Fund and managed by Mercia Ventures, which makes equity investments of up to 10 million pounds across all sectors, specialising in software, consumer, healthcare and deep tech.
Ian Wilson of Mercia Ventures, said in a statement: “With sustainability a key issue for luxury fashion brands and consumers, the resale market continues to grow. The Handbag Clinic has established itself as the trusted aftercare service for the biggest luxury brands.
“This latest investment will help the company to continue its growth trajectory and pursue its ambition to become the leading global authority for preloved handbags.”
With continued sustained growth and investment from the NEVF, The Handbag Clinic has doubled the size of its UK-based team to 55 since the first investment in July 2021, with a further 10 planned for 2024. These roles are predominantly based in the company’s North East roots across finance, tech, marketing and creating the next generation of artisans.
In the last 12 months, The Handbag Clinic has reported record growth with a turnover of 1.6 million pounds and is on track for its forecast target of 3 million pounds for FY24. From October 2022 to 2023, the doubled its average monthly e-commerce revenues from 160,000 to 325,000 pounds. While year-on-year from 2022 to 2023 its e-commerce traffic is up 53 percent, e-commerce gross revenue has increased by 97 percent, handbag acquisitions are up 40 percent and total orders have seen an uplift of 57 percent.
The Handbag Clinic names Tracy Lewis as non-executive chair of the board of directors
To accelerate its growth, The Handbag Clinic is strengthening its board of directors, naming former Wacoal Europe chief executive Tracy Lewis as its new non-executive chair. Lewis has a wealth of experience and knowledge from the fashion, beauty, consumer, retail and impact investment sectors. During her career, she has led and supported brands to achieve global growth, including Wacoal, Eylure, Additional Lengths and Bluebella.
The Handbag Clinic is also investing in bespoke technology for its e-commerce platform to create a unique solution for its customers and luxury brand partners. This includes the addition of AI and microscopic imagery to its software to support its highly skilled team of authenticators – streamlining and supercharging its capabilities.
This will be spearheaded by newly appointed chief technical officer Will Chalk, who is a seasoned marketing and data analytics consultant with extensive experience across a wide variety of sectors and luxury brands.
In addition, the former aftersales manager for Chanel, John Cunningham has been appointed as The Handbag Clinic’s customer service and operations manager.
Charlotte Staerck, co-founder and chief executive of The Handbag Clinic added: “It’s been an incredible year for us at The Handbag Clinic and we’re excited that, with this capital injection and our new Board members, we can realise our ambitious growth plans.
“Tracy, Will and John are exceptionally talented – their unrivalled knowledge and expertise will add huge value as we take the business to the next level.”
The Handbag Clinic has established itself as the trusted go-to aftercare service for fashion’s biggest luxury brands, offering repair services spanning all luxury leather goods, including handbags, luggage, small leather goods, shoes, trainers and leather clothing. It restores more than 700 bags a month.
Its portfolio includes fashion brand partnerships with Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Bvlgari, Celine, Radley, and Ugg, and this year it opened permanent in-store concessions in both Harrods and Selfridges. The Handbag Clinic also launched a new year-round luxury aftercare programme, ‘The Inner Circle’ in June, offering luxury consumers a 360-degree care plan to maintain the value and condition of their items to “enjoy their wardrobes even more sustainably, all year round”.