The Restory: Shoeshine Timeline

Tuesday, August 1, 2017 - 13:00


The Restory are bringing the shoe repair and restoration business into the 21st century.  Founder Vanessa Jacobs has established an all-female Atelier team who provide on-demand shoe & accessory restoration.  This skilled team have developed a variety of techniques, all a far cry from the days of the street corner shoeshine boy.


A shoe shine is more than just a polish, it is a necessary part of properly caring for and maintaining shoes and boots. The polish itself helps moisturise and waterproof the leather, lengthening the lifespan of footwear as well as making them look great.


During the 19th century the Industrial Revolution and mechanisation led to the mass production of shoes and shoeshine boys could be found plying their trade on city streets.  Shoe polish as we know it wasn’t invented until the 20th century and so a mixture of ashes, tallow and beeswax, and even alcohol, was used.


As a result of both World Wars and the huge numbers of soldier’s boots requiring care and attention, shoe polish and the skills of the shoeshine boys were in increasing demand.  However, with the rise in popularity of casual shoes, the boom of trainers and the increase in non-leather footwear in the 60s and 70s, the shoeshine trade declined.


Today, the shoe and accessory industry is worth in excess of 100 million pounds and the variety of styles and the huge range of materials used cries out for a different kind of shoeshine. One for the on-demand generation.  Men own on average 12 pairs of shoes at a time, and work their shoes hard, with many costing upward of £250 a pair, they should be seen as an investment to be looked after.


This is where The Restory comes in.  Before The Restory options for care or repair were limited to a local cobbler or going back to the brand.  This could be problematic as without proof of purchase or the exact leather and hardware replacements they would be unlikely to repair or restore your footwear correctly.


The Restory pride themselves on looking for a solution to restore or repair everything sent into them.  They are consistently developing new techniques to ensure they can provide the appropriate care and products for the ever-changing skins, leathers and finishes that designers are utilising.  This means that the team are constantly training and updating their skills. 

So no longer do you need to nervously hand over your favourite Church’s brogues to the local cobbler wondering how they’ll be returned. Instead just simply arrange a collection with The Restory who will pick up your items at a convenient time for you, restore them and return them. Whether you’re after the original military shoe shine or if your scratched Crockett & Jones’ Oxfords need some TLC they have it covered. Best of all you don’t need to wait in as they’ll come to your home or office.




For media enquiries, more images or to arrange an interview with Vanessa Jacobs at The Restory, please contact:

Annabel Hirst at The eXcellence Group


T: +44 (0) 208 133 2460


Notes to Editors: The Restory is the brainchild of Vanessa Jacobs who started the service after a simple repair on her favourite boots went wrong. The Restory offers repair, restoration and refashioning of boots, shoes and handbags by highly skilled craftsmen, via the convenience of the internet but all the while maintaining a highly personal touch.

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