By Janelle Griffith
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Meet the Long Island entrepreneur who has created a business out of making old handbags sparkle.
Last winter, Carlin Griffin was shopping at One Last Look Consignment Boutique in Locust Valley carrying a noticeably tattered Louis Vuitton bucket bag.
“I loved this bag so much that I even used it when the strap was half-broken and a piece of wire was sticking out of the bottom and told my sister and my friends at college, ‘It’s vintage,’ despite knowing full well that the bag was on its last leg,” Griffin says.
Store employees referred Griffin to Nicole DiMasi, whose help they enlist to clean and restore designer bags for resale.
When DiMasi received the bag, which retails for almost $1,500, it was practically destroyed, the natural cowhide trimmings coming undone.
“I could not see why she would want to invest in repairing this bag,” says DiMasi, owner of Lady Cuir Restoration.
“I advised her it wasn’t worth restoring.”
That was until Griffin explained her motivation was sentiment and not style alone: It had belonged to her mother, Catherine, who died in December 2015. Her mother owned the bag for as long as Griffin could remember and carried it often. Griffin had done the same since her mother’s death — to carry a part of her with her.
For $600, DiMasi restored the bag to like-new condition and personally monogrammed it for free with a symbol of a gem that represents the elder Griffin’s nickname for herself and her two daughters.
“My mother’s birthday was June 14, mine is June 15, and my sister’s is June 16, so we are ‘The Three Geminis,’ ” says Griffin, 26, of Bayville.
WHERE LEATHER GOES TO REHAB
DiMasi has established herself as one of Long Island’s most sought-after restorers of handbags, shoes and accessories from such luxury labels as Hermès, Céline, Chanel, Gucci and Louis Vuitton, as well as the less expensive Coach and Michael Kors brands.