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Wednesday, September 26, 2018

#SoleSupport #WhomYouKnow #PavlosShoeRepair #Pavlos #UpperEastSide #Manhattan @ManhattanPeachy #PeachyDeegan Interviews #MichaelPapoutsakis Owner of Pavlos Shoe Repair Since 1974 and Recommended by Whom You Know

The fabulously talented Papoutsakis Family!  Dad, Mom and Son!
Pavlos, Stefania and Mike Papoutsakis

As you know, shoes are of crucial importance at Whom You Know, and if you have feet, they should be important to you too.  They are a major part of our fashion coverage, and we have four columns on them.  One of the best parts of Manhattan is all the fantastic shoe shopping, and living here and meeting the designers is a dream come true for Peachy's feet.  This is Sole Support, our shoe repair column.
See our 3 shoe columns, for review of new shoes through the brand owner only, bien sur mes amies:
See Manhattan on Your Feet
Shoe of the Week-Women
Shoe of the Week-Men

Two of our most favorite people that happen to be Movers and Shakers are legends in the shoe industry:
MOVERS and SHAKERS: Paul Mayer, Creative Director of Paul Mayer Attitudes
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Anthony Marinelli, Legendary Shoe Mogul

We have enthusiastically and proudly attended FFANY four times a year since 2010 and Peachy probably has perfect attendance.  No one else was reviewing shoes in 2010, but we were!  We want to preserve our most favorite shoes for posterity forever, and knowing people to help us in this vital endeavor is key to fashion success.  Recently, we were absolutely delighted to meet Mike Papoutsakis and his mom and dad recently, and they did absolutely beautiful work on both our shoes and our bags, as you will see and learn below.  They did take their time (a little over three months) but the results are worth it.  Mike sat down with Peachy for an exclusive interview for Whom You Know.

Peachy Deegan: Please share the origins of your brand’s history. 
Mike Papoutsakis: 
My name is Michael Papoutsakis and I am the son of Pavlos and Stefania Papoutsakis. My parents, after the closing of the shoe factory in downtown NYC where they were employed, used their savings to open a small shoe repair on the upper east side of Manhattan. As was common in those days, the shops were named after the owner. So, in 1974 Pavlos shoe repair began its journey. 

What are your best memories of growing up in the business? 
My favorite thing to do growing up was going to work at the shop. Whenever school was closed and even on some Sundays my father would take me in and while he made repairs I would watch him move around the shop from machine to machine and on his work bench. He would give me tasks to do like to find matching color polishes or leather and laces so he could complete his work. 

What do you admire most both personally and professionally about each of your parents, who started the business? 
I have an infinite admiration for what they have accomplished as immigrants away from home with limited language and finances. They are still hardworking and dedicated to their trade, their shop, their family and to each other. 

What has changed in the shoe repair industry over the many years your brand has practiced? 
Over the years, the quality and quantity of materials used for repair and various machinery for the shoe repair industry have become more available. This allows us to do repairs more efficiently, economically and environmentally friendly. 

What has changed in the bag repair industry over the many years your brand has practiced? 
Bag repairs over the years have increased tremendously. As our customers have realized, we are able to save their favorite purses, bags, wallets, suitcase, briefcases and not only their leather products but other materials well. This is also where my mother’s amazing talent and experience of color matching and dying shoes and bags have brought our shop to the next level. 

What shoes are you proudest to repair and why? 
And your mom, and your dad? 
Some of our proudest shoe repairs are the ones that we have maintained for years. What I mean about that is that our repairs have maintained a shoe for possibly over 35 years and going. 

What bags are you proudest to repair and why? 
And your mom, and your dad? 
Some of our proudest bag repairs are the ones that we have also maintained for years. Our customers bring in purses, bags, briefcases, duffel bags etc. that have been passed on to them and have sentimental value or one of a kind values and we are able to prolong the life of the article with our leather care. 

What should one do to maintain their shoes properly? 
Proper maintenance of leather shoes starts by protecting them from the elements and that includes polishing, waterproofing and storage. Our most protective product is a rubber sole which provides the most water resistance and longest wear. Also, a rubber sole is slip resistant and adds to the comfort of a shoe. 

What should one do to maintain their bags properly? 
Proper maintenance of leather bags, similar to shoes, should be protected, sprayed against staining and stored properly. If they are covered in a breathable fabric and stored in a cool dry room, that is always a plus. 

What are the biggest mistakes people make in shoe care and maintenance? 
The biggest mistake people make in shoe care and maintenance is not protecting their investment. Shoes can be costly to buy and it only makes sense to care for them from the beginning and repair them in a timely manner when necessary. For example, don’t let dirty, wet, or stained shoes sit around until you need them again or wait for a hole to appear before you make a repair. 

What are the biggest mistakes people make in bag care and maintenance? 
Bag care is similar to shoe care in the sense that bags should be protected from the elements and stains. Its best to address a stain or spot as soon as possible rather than waiting for more stains and dirt to accumulate. 

Are there shoe or bag problems that you have found impossible to fix or address? 
Occasionally there are problems that have come into the shop that are unrepairable. 

How long should one expect a pair of shoes to “live”? And a bag? 
Shoes and bags can “live” for a long time as we have seen them being passed down from mother to daughter and father to son. With proper care and maintenance, we have seen shoes and bags last for decades. 

Do you think shoes or bags will ever have a digital aspect to them? 
I can see shoes having a digital aspect to them, like syncing with your smart phone and having a more accurate step count or weight measurement. Maybe even toe lights like car headlights to see where you're walking. Bags can join the digital world, maybe by having a gps signal locator or fingerprint reader to open the cash compartment. 

What do you enjoy most about your occupation? 
I enjoy the satisfaction of seeing my customers reaction to seeing their shoes and bags come back to life after we repair them. 

Which shoes and bags are most popular today for women? 
In Manhattan, the most popular tends to be the latest trend or designer. Most women change shoes and bags multiple times in a day. They have gym shoes and bag, office shoes and bags, casual shoes and bags and a night out on the town shoes and purses. 

Which shoes and bags are most popular today for men? 
It is difficult to point out the most popular shoes and bags for men in our shop because the result changes depending on personal styles, age and how they are used. Your typical or classic business shoe has been around forever but today’s style can be a sporty but casual business shoe with a suit. With almost everyone carrying a laptop, shoulder bags are very popular versus a traditional briefcase. 

How has shoe and bag popularity varied over time? 
I believe popularity has increased for shoes and bags over the years because of ease of access and cost to obtain. Along with the promotional side of which a celebrity can wear something and be seen across the globe in seconds. 

What makes your repair shop superior? 
Our repair shop offers an amazing repair quality that we believe is second to none. Our attention to detail is unsurpassed. We love what we do and we have been doing it in NYC for 44 years. We have a large selection of shoe care products, fitting and comfort aides. Along with a large selection of leather soles, we have an even greater selection of rubber soles in various thickness and colors. It allows our customers to maintain their shoes to an almost original condition or customize them to their liking. Quality work at a great price is hard to beat. 

What should top shoe and bag brands do to stay competitive? 
Top shoe and bag brands always have to provide a quality product at a fair price that’s maintainable in order for their customers to be loyal to their brand. 

In the shoe industry is there any such thing as an authorized repair shop for a certain brand as there is with Rolex and watch repair, for example? 
Authorized repair shops do exist in the industry but we do not depend on one major name brand to keep us going. Our loyal repeat customers are our bread and butter. 

What are your favorite shoes and why? And your mom, and your dad? 
I don’t particularly have a favorite brand but a pair of cordovan leather loafers with tassels always has been my go-to evening choice and lace-up for business attire. Mom has moved on from stilettos to lower heeled pumps and flats. Dad will also wear leather soled for a formal occasion but will take the comfort of a rubbered sole shoe for the rest of the day. 

Can one do business with your shop online or do you need to visit in person? 
People do find us online and send in repairs. We currently have customers that love our work but have moved out of the city and will mail us their shoes for repair. It is a rewarding feeling when people go to those lengths to have their shoes repaired by us. 

What is the full scope of services you offer? 
We repair shoes, bags, wallets, belts, luggage, jackets, zippers and all leather items. We do custom repairs and adjustments. Dyeable shoes and bags to match. We can custom fit boots to fit your calf/leg. We provide a delivery service and many services while you wait in our shop. 

When you are done working what are your favorite things to do in Manhattan? 
After work I am just like many other hard-working New Yorkers with a family; we have dinner and relax and unwind to try get ready for tomorrow. 

Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about you? 
I would like to say thank you to my customers for the love, respect and continued support they have shown us over the years. And a that I will continue work hard and provide excellent repairs and service to our customers. I would like to thank Peachy for her patience and diligence and this opportunity to be interviewed. 

Oh my goodness now let's take a look at Peachy's problems.  She is pretty careful with everything she owns but life presents wear and tear, particularly when walking down the street in Manhattan.  She brought in some of her saddest bags to meet Mike.
This bag is from a store on Madison Avenue that doesn't exist anymore!
The corners had horrific plastic poking through the leather, which had worn away.
You can see the tragic plastic in white screaming for Mike to cover it up, as it is making this a naked bag.
 Can you hear it screaming for help?
 We could walk around like that and it was still functional, but super unattractive. 
The next little black bag had bigger problems.
The closure had completely broken.  Apparently if you open and close something enough times, it will break.  We bought this at Lord and Taylor which is now closing to our huge dismay.

 You can't close it if there's nothing to close it with.
Help Mike!  Help!!!!
 We noticed when it came undone so we had saved the part that needed to be put back on.

The third bag had way too much fun at one cocktail party or gala.  The bags always have way more fun than Peachy as they only need to show up and don't need to pay attention and write about it.  The wild night this precious bag from Barney's had resulted in a stain.
 Quel dommage!
This is from the good old days of the Barney's Warehouse Sale, which no longer exists in New York so you really need to take good care of whatever you got from those fun expeditions. 
 Naughty bag!  What were you eating!?!
 Another oops:

Peachy’s black purse with the corner frayed was a major eyesore on top of being a huge fashion faux pas. How can one prevent this kind of wear and tear from happening and how were you able to brilliantly cover this exposed plastic emerging? 
It is impossible to prevent wear and tear on a purse that is used daily. The corners of Peachy’s purse had exposed a plastic tubing that is wrapped by leather. We were able to recover the corners by matching the leather color and texture. By doing only the corners we are able to keep the cost of the repair low. 

Why does some leather wear away? Is it always a sign of poor craftsmanship? 
All leather can wear away with time, amount of use and exposure to the elements. Its not only poor craftmanship but also poor choice of leather for the type of use the purse will get. 

Does using leather polish help this wearing away or does that add to the problem? 
Polishing leather is a way of protecting it from the elements. Polish can provide water and stain resiliency and beautify at the same time. Unfortunately, it cannot stop wear and tear completely. 

What bag brands are the most durable? 
I don’t know which brand is considered the most durable because there are so many variables considered when choosing and carrying a purse. 

Does price always equate with quality in bags in your experience? Why or why not? 
No, I don’t believe that price equates with quality all the time. There are less costly leather bags that will outlast a more expensive counterpart. The difference can be, if it is in style today and brand name recognition. 

Peachy’s second black bag lost its clasp entirely. Do you find some bags lose their closure like this and how were you able to masterfully put it back on, looking just as great as the original? 
Bag closures are a frequent repair if you consider how many times a day you will be using it. In Peachy’s case we were able to find replacement parts that matched. In some cases, if we cannot get original clasps we will recommend a replacement that can do the job while maintaining the style and integrity of the original. 

Peachy’s Aqua evening bag clearly had too much fun at one gala and arrived at Chez Pavlos stained. How were you able to remove the stain? 
Along with years of experience we used a fabric and satin cleaner called a dry cleaner. 

When one stains something, what should one do immediately to minimize the stain? 
A lot depends on what type of stain it is and the material of the bag. The basics would be not to scrub it and spread it but rather to pat it dry and try to absorb. Ideally, everyone should remember to apply some type of water and/or stain repellent to protect their bags before they are used. 

Is there anything else our readers should know about these bag repairs? 
Bag repairs are a big part of our business and if you have a purse or bag that you would like to repair/restore bring it by or you can send me a picture 
( and let’s discuss options. 

Now look at the happy bags, repaired by Mike and smiling big:

Some shoe brands make better soles than others. Who makes the best soles? 
There are so many types of soles that we use in our work and it depends on the customer’s request and preference to what is considered the best. 

Let's look at Peachy's shoe problems.  We did not review either pair; they are that old.
 These sling-backs were entirely beat up but are great for when you have somehow developed a blister on the back of your foot and want to wear nice shoes!
 The second pair was in worse shape; the sole was coming apart from the upper:

Do you dare say what shoe brands make soles that make your business thrive the most? 
Any shoe brands that are made with materials that are repairable and have quality uppers are good for business. 

We’ve been wearing Paul Mayer Attitudes for many years and find their soles to be invincible. Have you ever had a pair come in for sole repair? 
Yes we have, and if the upper is in good shape and still fits well, it makes the shoe a good candidate for repair. 

Peachy’s black sling-back Aigner shoes are so old and beloved they are from when they manufactured in Spain (we are not sure they do anymore.) Not only did you resole them but also you added some fabulous treads. Please elaborate on this detailed process that sets you apart. 
On this pair we added a rubber sole and heel which makes it water-resistant from the bottom and slip-resistant. In addition, the rubber provides additional padding on the sole for added comfort. 

The tops appear less scuffed than originally! Please tell us how to maintain the tops of shoes well and what you did to achieve this look. 
Some scuffs were removed and others were repaired with leather repair and a wax repair. Along with a good leather cleaner and conditioner, we are able to recover and/or replace some of the leather original luster. 

Peachy’s black Cole Haan shoes look like they’ve been reborn on the bottom. Previously, the sole had literally pulled away from the top of the shoe. Please tell us about their revitalization process. 
For this repair we replaced the worn-out sole with an Italian leather sole that was comparable to the thickness and flexibility of the original. Along with new rubber heels and a leather treatment to the upper, the shoes were restored to an almost new condition. Sometimes we even claim they are better than new. 

The back of the Cole Haan had patent leather that literally had worn away. How do you replace something like that with such exact measures? 
This is one reason that I believe sets us apart from other shops and that is the attention to detail. By adding some fresh patent leather over the worn- out area we were able to cover the wear damage. Again, this comes with years of experience and great pride in providing an excellent repair. 

Mission Statement of Your Pavlos Brand: 
To provide an excellent experience and quality repairs year after year 

Date Brand formed: 1974 

125 East 88th Street, Upper East Side, Manhattan
212 876 8569

We look forward to their Twitter and Website!


The happy shoes, after a fantastic visit to Chez Pavlos with Mike!

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