Get 15% off your first Cobbler Concierge service with this referral link.
Hi everyone! Today I wanted to share my experience trying out a new shoe repair service called Cobbler Concierge. It’s important to be vigilant about the state of the soles of your shoes, and I always mean to take them to a cobbler for some TLC, but never seem to get around to it. Then one day, I took a good look at my beloved velvet smoking slippers and was horrified to see I had beaten them up pretty badly over the years, and finally jumped into action. I had just recently heard of Cobbler Concierge and it seemed like a fun experiment, with the added bonus of convenience (I don’t have to leave the house? I’m in!).
What Is Cobbler Concierge? Cobbler Concierge is a shoe repair startup based in Queens, NY and in partnership with the Rocco family, a fourth generation cobbling family whose shop has been repeatedly voted one of the best in the city. Clients place an order on the Cobbler Concierge website, $60 for women’s shoes, $120 for men’s, and a prepaid shipping box is sent to your home to package your shoes for shipment. Your shoes travel to the Cobbler Concierge headquarters in Queens, NY, are photographed, and worked on by their staff of cobblers. After about 7-10 days, your shoes are sent back to you, repaired. They also repair handbags at a starting price of $200.
Instant Diagnosis: Before I decided to use Cobbler Concierge, I used their free “instant diagnosis” feature. You can send photos of your shoes either by text or contact form, and get a repair recommendation. Since my shoes needed a little more help than just the usual sole or heel replacement, I found this feature reassuring and convenient. This feature could also be used as a second opinion if your local cobbler gives you a strange recommendation about a repair.
Why Would You Use It? If you live in a big city, chances are you have access to some pretty spectacular cobblers. But, if you live far out in the suburbs, or a small town, there’s a chance you don’t have someone nearby who can whip your Manolos back into shape how you’d like. You could also just be really, really busy, or really, really lazy (like me). For any of these reasons, the idea of being able to ship your shoes to excellent cobblers in New York City seems pretty great. Also, the repair price is a flat rate regardless of how much work needs to be done, so if you have a pair of shoes that needs a lot of repairs, it might actually make financial sense to send them to Cobbler Concierge. Otherwise, Cobbler Concierge is definitely a luxury service and priced accordingly.
The Shoes: These velvet smoking slippers are my absolute favorite flat. I’ve had them for a few years now, and they have seen it all. I’ve worn them almost daily in my home of California, and they’ve accompanied (and walked!) me through all my travels, including all across New York and Paris. The actual top of the shoe is in really great shape. It’s the soles, heels, and toe tips that are in bad shape. The most disheartening injury they’ve sustained is to the fabric at the toes. Unlike a leather shoe which can have scrapes buffed out, fabric shoes are harder to repair. On this pair, the velvet has balded at the toe, and one has a hole in the fabric.
I contacted Cobbler Concierge first, using their “instant diagnosis” feature sending photos of the balding toes, asking if they thought anything could be done. They quickly responded that they could dye the toes to help hide the damage, and could take care of those beat up soles and heel while they were at it. It sounded like it was worth a shot, so I went ahead and made my order on the Cobbler Concierge website.
What Comes In The Mail: About 1 week after I made my order on the Cobbler Concierge website, a cardboard box arrived styled like a mini suitcase. When I opened it up, there were two large rolls of tissue paper to be used to package your shoes, and an envelope taped to the inside lid. Inside the envelope were instructions, a form to indicate your preferred sole type (leather, rubber, Vibram red for Louboutins) and sole color (black or natural), a prepaid shipping label, and two pieces of tape to secure the package shut when you’re ready to ship them off.
I made notes on the form about repairing the toes, and choose a natural colored rubber sole, since I do so much walking in these, and rubber gives better protection. I packaged the shoes in the supplied tissue, taped up the box, and slapped on the prepaid shipping label. I dropped the box off at my local UPS store the next day and anxiously checked the tracking number to make sure they arrived safely. Shipping from California to the Cobbler Concierge headquarters in New York took about 1 week.
When my shoes arrived at the Cobbler Concierge headquarters, I received an email with a “before” photo and a note that repairs take an average of 7-10 days. 7 days after the arrival notification email, I received another email notification that my shoes were finished and in the mail on their way back to me, including a nice “after” photo. Here are the Cobbler Concierge provided before and after photos:
When my shoes arrived about 1 week later, they were packaged in a similar suitcase style cardboard box, and came nicely protected in felt dust bags (a very nice surprise…I love shoe dust bags!). The new soles and heels look great, and they even painted the side of the new sole black to match the original design of the shoe. As for the damaged toe tips, they dyed the fabric to better match the rest of the shoe, disguising the damage from a quick glance. A close up inspection shows the damage is still there, but hopefully now with the new dye job and rubber soles, it won’t get worse.
All in, I went without my shoes for 22 days, which was mainly due to long shipping times between California and New York (1 week each way!). Obviously, if you live closer to NY, this time frame will be much shorter. After it all, I’m very happy with how my shoes turned out. Part of me was secretly wishing they’d have a better solution for those bald velvet toes, but I’ll happily take the improvement they made! I have a hairbrained idea that an upholstery repair shop could reflock the toe for me…anyone ever reflocked velvet?
You can get 15% off your first service with Cobbler Concierge with this referral link. It might be a good time to dig out your old winter boots and send them in to get ready for another sloshy season. ;)