January’s – ‘The Positivity Issue’ – Download Now

Reinvention is a smart, sustainable approach to luxury. We spoke to Partner & Chief Technical Officer of The Cobbler – Morgan Papin about breathing new life into leather goods.

What do your first 30 mins of the day look like, your morning routine?

On waking up I do a 30 minute stretching and bodyweight exercise. Then I head to the shower, after checking the news and emails followed by a fresh and healthy breakfast and then it’s time to go to the workshop!

What is at the heart of The Cobbler’s DNA as a brand and why was The Cobbler launched in the UAE?

Craftsmanship, heritage, expertise and passion are some of the key DNA principles of The Cobbler. These have been our driving force since day one and still drive us today. We believe that is what customers recognize in our work.

10 years ago there was a gap in the market for shoe repair and luxury gentlemen’s footwear at an accessible price-point. People were taking their bags and shoes back to their home countries as they couldn’t get them fixed the way they wanted here in the UAE. This is how the concept of The Cobbler began.

Do you have any mentors or guides and how does this help navigate the right path?

I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by people who are smart, successful and knowledgeable in the field. So, when I face a situation, I always have the right experienced person to turn to for advice and that has been the best guide especially during rough times like the one we experienced during this challenging year.

You operate a bespoke approach and can restore as well as re-invest pieces- tell us about this service?

It’s about bringing a second life to an item you love. Most well-crafted items can be restored and repaired. That’s the magic about it, to bring back to life items that were once damaged and to see the happiness in each customer’s eye once the items are ready

What’s the most exciting overhaul you’ve ever given a piece?

A limited-edition bag from Dolce & Gabbana that was completely burned including the handles and the front flap. We had to replace them entirely, but the only way was to disassemble the bag completely and then to reassemble it the same way as in their factory. Sourcing the right material, copying the grain, reproducing the stitching and thread –it was hard and stressful, but the result was great, and the customer couldn’t stop thanking us, which was wonderful.

How should we be looking after leather / exotic skins ourselves?

Never wear a pair of shoes to days in a row, the leather is a living skin that needs to rest always one day. Protect your items from direct light and humidity. Nourish your leather once in a week with a Saphir Medaille d’or Lotion and polish them if necessary. Exotic skins can be extremely fragile, and we recommend our customers to leave them in the hands of our highly skilled experts.

Which colourways/designs have been most popular, and do you see patterns and trends emerging in the market?

Well in the last 10 years, shoes and handbag are now produced in any kind of materials. And as craftsmen, we’ve had to adapt to these creative demands.

What does luxury mean to The Cobbler?

Luxury is about a unique experience that brings you joy and allows you to relive memories. Transforming pre-loved pieces and giving them a second chance at life is at the heart of the brand’s DNA. Reviving traditions, craftsmanship and passing it on to younger generations is integrated as luxury experience at The Cobbler.

How do you approach client engagement and retention?

Customer experience is paramount to us. We want our customers to be able to engage with our experts wherever they are, which is why we have enacted a digital transformation. In addition to visiting our shops, our customers can now shop through our online platform and book a free pickup & delivery for their items to be repaired. This can also be done over the phone through our customer care desk. We are putting all our efforts in creating the most seamless and pleasant experience for our customers.

How has social media affected building The Cobbler?

It is amazing to be able to communicate quickly and easily with our audience. Social Media is a perfect tool to drive the brand’s awareness and is also an efficient way to engage with our customers, to reply quicker to their queries. It is the heart of our communication.

Which Instagram accounts do you follow for inspiration?

ParisianGentleman, YoheiFukuda, Cifonelli, The Rake, Permanentstylelondon

What advice would you give to your younger self starting out?

Take notes and embrace all the knowledge you can! I always thought I would remember everything, but I learnt that even the greatest forget things. So now as much as possible I write down things to not forget.

If you were not at The Cobbler which another role would you choose career-wise?

Shoes have been my life since I was 16 and craftsmanship is a way of life, being able to transform raw material into an item that brings a smile on a customer’s face is priceless. I’ve always been interested by the complexity of wood so I would have loved to be a carpenter, I think.

This issue is ‘The Positivity Issue’ – how do you stay positive?

Thanks first goes to my wife, she supports and inspires me every day. Secondly, a healthy, active lifestyle, spending as much time as possible outdoors. I also love to discover and learn new things – it’s important to never get bored and always keep progressing.

January’s – ‘The Positivity Issue’ – Download Now

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Images: Supplied