It seems the piping on a Balenciaga has a thin plastic wire beneath the leather and can easily crack and poke through. I usually do lots of research on how to care for a bag when I get it. I'll waterproof it, condition and clean it as needed but somehow I missed that the piping would be an issue. Only after the fact did I discover that I should have reinforced it but once it's damaged there is nothing you can do. Very disappointing for a $2,000 bag.
I immediately called Nordstrom customer service and they told me to go to my Rack or regular Nordstrom and see what could be done. Unfortunately Nordstrom just changed their policy and no longer does repairs for customers and they just shrugged their shoulders at the Rack where I purchased it.
I then emailed Lovin My Bags to get a quote for repair (and never heard back) so after a recommendation from a TPF member (The Purse Forum - if you're not already on that forum, you should be) I called Rago Brothers in Morristown, NJ thinking they would be cheaper than a NY repair place.
A week later (and $240 poorer) I picked up my Bal. They put in a brand new piping and it's good as new. For $150 they could have just patched the corners but I know that would have bugged me so I just went for it.
They did leave me with this red mark that wasn't there before. (Red sharpie?) I spotted it when I picked it up and they took it to the back to fix it, but I made the mistake of not double checking it when I left because it's still there. Maybe I'll use a black sharpie over it.
In hindsight, perhaps I should have just taken it directly to Balenciaga in NYC (maybe it would have been free?) but overall I'm pleased with the repair and my Bal is back in service.
It was on TPF that I read I should use Zelikovitz Satin topcoat on the piping to fortify and prevent further wear and tear. I'm going to wait a little bit before painting it because the piping already looks a little darker and I'm hoping with some time and wear it won't be such a stark contrast.
With the influx of all my new sample sale-d designer stuff, I've started a round of protecting the goods. About twice a year I pull everything out. First, all new leather pieces are sprayed with a rain and stain protectant. Then I look over my older stuff and condition and spray them as needed.
My two favorites are Apple and Collonil Waterstop - both are available on Amazon or eBay. I really need to source them locally so I can find them for less than $10 a pop. Yes, sometimes I actually have to pay retail. All you do is spray on a two light coats (I wait 24 hrs in between to let them dry) and voila - you are protected from rain and most stains. A client this week told me that her daughter accidentally dumped her hot chocolate in her new black leather Burberry bag. She did not treat it - but she was lucky and after a quick rinse it looks good as new. For those of us who are not so lucky - go buy a couple bottles right now.
Other products in my arsenal include Leather Honey conditioner (keeps bags buttery soft and makes scratches virtually disappear) and Meltonian cream shoe polish (I have a rainbow of colors for touch ups). I'll be sure to show before and afters of those products next time I pull them out.
So the lesson today is take care of your designer bags BEFORE there's a problem. A $10-20 investment will more than pay for itself in the long run.
PS - I've been playing with fonts for the watermark on my photos - do you prefer the new script or my old block letters? I'm undecided...would love to hear what you think :)