Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Nest - Shian's Bag Spa

Ever wondered what you could do to make your bag look and feel as beautiful as possible when selling it? Shian was kind of enough to share her secrets with us, so look no further! 

Mulberry Bayswater in Cosmic Blue Ostrich Leather

Shian, what are your top tips on preparing a bag for re-sale?

"I am often asked about care and maintenance of bags and tend to refer folks over to my Leather Guide, for information on particular leather types and finishes. However, I thought it might be useful to provide some guidance on how to prepare a bag for resale, whether you are thinking of selling at the Nest or anywhere else. 

When you buy a preloved bag, irrespective of how much wear its received, everyone wants it to be clean, tidy and odour free. There are just a few simple steps you can take when you a recycling your bag, to ensure that its in the best condition possible and your buyer is delighted.

Step one 
Gather your tools. You'll need 
  • a stiff washing up brush
  • a soft-bristle toothbrush
  • some lanolin free leather cleaning wipes
  • some baby wipes
  • a duster
  • cellotape
  • a can of leather shine spray and
  • a small pot of leather balm (I recommend Lord Sheraton)

Step two 
Whether your bag is suede lined, self lined or fabric lined, the interior need to to be brushed out. If it has a fabric lining and can be turned out, gently pull the lining out so you can brush, making sure to turn out the corners where all the dust and bits collect. Do the same with any zip or slip pockets and make sure any hairs and fluff that often get stuck between the stitching is removed. On unlined bags or ones where the inside stays 'in' the bag, turn it upside down and brush out gently, again making sure to get right into the corners, nooks and crannies. Don't forget any hidden areas, like the base of a Bayswaters flap, where it joins the bag, as spaces like this collect bits more than anywhere!

Step three  
After you've brushed, on to a really thorough cleaning of the seams and harder to reach places. For this, just wrap some cellotape, sticky side outwards, round your index finger and run it along the seams. It will pick up the last of the fluff and hairs and after renewing the cellotape several times, you'll be surprised how much debris you collect.

Step four 
For lined bags, you can then wipe the material with a moistened baby wipe to remove any light marks or stains. Don't scrub as you may damage the fabric but clean as best as possible and ensure its all dry before putting the bag away. For unlined or suede lined bags, you can use a lanolin free leather wipe but again, don't scrub as the pile will be damaged and possible look worse than the stain did!

Step five 
For the exterior of the bag, your cleaning technique will again be dictated by the finish. A lambskin or very fine nap leather bag will require a much gentler approach that something like Natural or Darwin and I'd always recommend using some light cotton gloves for the more delicate hides to prevent any oil or grease transfer from your hands. For quilted bags or those with intricate stitching, sequins or beads, use the soft-bristled toothbrush to gently dust the outside. Do the same with any chain and leather intertwined straps and around hardware and closures.

Step six 
Then, gently wipe over the exterior of the bag with the lanolin free cleaning wipes, taking care to sweep lightly over the surface so that no areas darken or 'soak' the moisture into the hide. Patent or demi-sheen finishes will require buffing to remove any residual smears and hardware can also be buffed, taking care to ensure there are no 'bits' on your cloth that will scratch the metalware.

Step seven 
For more used bags, you can sometimes improve on areas of wear and or dryness, by the use of moisturising products. Dependant on the nature of the leather and the severity of the wear, a light spritz with a Leather Shine spray and buff with a lint free cloth can bring back a lovely lustre to the hide, especially on smooth leather bags. Very dry areas such as corners, can benefit from a more intense application and a leather balm, warmed in your hands and then massaged evenly into the hide, which can help replenish some of the lost moisture and oils........ but please remember, if you are looking to 'restore' your bag prior to sale, then its best left to the professionals.
I am always happy to recommend some really good companies, so just get in touch as I'd be delighted to assist."

Toothbrush and cellotape - who would have thought?! 
Thanks for reading and happy cleaning!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Springtime Patterns

Cheerful colours this week! I really love that Warehouse top and wish I'd have bought the dress in the same pattern...

Top & Skirt: Warehouse
Shoes: Boden

Dress & Shoes: Boden

Top: Warehouse
Cardigan: Boden
Jeans: Next
Trainers: Converse

Monday, May 16, 2016


So you know I've been looking for a bag that could take my laptop and be pretty. The Strathberry wasn't really a laptop bag, so that didn't work but I had high hopes for my recent discovery: the Loretta from Danish bag designer RODTNES.

I had jumped at the chance of ordering it at a discount and was eagerly awaiting delivery. When the box arrived I was not disappointed: well wrapped and packed (a box within a box), it emerged from its dustbag with that lovely leather smell.

The zips run super smoothly and overall the quality looks great. Nice details and features such as adjustable shoulder straps and, as you'd expect from a laptop bag, a separate laptop compartment, that's roomy for even chunkier machines.

It's that chunkiness I struggled with though. As much as I loved the style and quality, the bag was simply too big for me. It looked more like a weekend carryall than a work bag. I probably should point out that I am only 5'2", so if I wasn't so short,

Other than that I could only find two things I could nitpick at: The zip has a leather pull attached that, due to its length, just sits strangely when the bag is closed. I would also prefer a slightly safer closure for the small outside pockets.

I'm not that bad, am I? Either way: the search continues...

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Nest - Access All Areas

I hope you enjoyed part 1 and part 2 of my interviews with Shian - here is the conclusion!

Do you have any ideas how many bags you have sold?

That’s a good question and would take quite a lot of archive delving to find out! I do know that on an average (non promotional) day at the Nest, there are usually between 3 and 5 purchases which for one person is quite manageable. It gets a bit manic at Sale time, when I draft in hubby to help me, as purchases can spike up to 50 in a single day. Thankfully he’s now a dab hand at gift wrapping, knows his way to the Post Office in his sleep and best of all, he’s free!

What were highlights for you over the last 11 years?

Probably the launch of the website, 5 years ago. It was a bit of a leap of faith setting up on my own as having the massive audience of ebay for so long, it felt like the Nest might be forgotten or overlooked. Thankfully, my lovely and loyal rock bed of clients gave me so much support that within a few months it was obvious that it was the best thing I’ve ever done. Getting on to the first page of Google felt fabulous too as this brings in even more bag-loving folk and lots of people find the Nest via Google images, (the lamps in virtually every Mulberry Search you can do!).

Do you have a funny/interesting anecdote to share?
Two rather embarrassing incidents spring to mind…..The first one was many, many years ago when I was just starting out on ebay and didn’t have the reams and reams of tissue paper and bubblewrap that I do now. I was photographing a little Mulberry Tyler bag and the closest things to hand to stuff the bag with was from my underwear drawer. I selected some non-holey socks and began snapping away. Of course, when the bag sold and I posted it out I soon realised I’d posted all the socks out with it! The buyer was delighted with the bag and thankfully was in stitches about the socks. (I was just relieved they were some of my better pairs!)

The other incident was shamefully only a few years ago now. The Nest’s Re-use / Recycling policy basically works on the basis that, like me, most people don’t like packaging waste and are happy to receive pre-used cardboard boxes when they buy an item. Being very lucky that my local corner shop saves all their boxes for me, I rather obliviously posted a clients very lovely new LV out in one of these and looked forward to hearing from the her, (as it was a really stunning bag!). The next day she got in touch, absolutely thrilled to bits with her LV…..but…..did I realise the box was from ‘Tena Lady’. Oooops. After much effusive apologies I think my client saw the funny side! (I do now make a conscious check of the origin of the boxes I use now and make sure none of the ones from the Chemist sneak in!)

Do you have any plans for the Nest?  

Just carrying on as I’ve always done really. The last 11yrs has been amazing and I’d love to hope the next 11 will be even better. :) (I might retire then, but I doubt it!)

Well, even if our bank balances (or husbands/boyfriends...) wish you'd close up shop, we sure hope you carry on, Shian! 

Check back for some top tips from Shian on how to make your bag look its best!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Finally Spring!

Notice the absence of black tights - we are officially in spring/summer mode!

Dress: Issa

Top: Topshop
Skirt: Boden
Trainers: Converse
Necklace: Stella & Dot

Dress & Cardigan: Boden
Trainers: Converse

Monday, May 09, 2016

Taking On Argentina - A-ha in Buenos Aires

My blog's first guest post! Who would have thought it's not about clothes or bags, huh? 

After my post last week on A-ha in Mannheim, Paula Pena Amaya got in touch and asked whether she could share her experience from a Buenos Aires gig - so here we go!

"Well, a bit difficult and sad to write about this first show of their tour on the same day they´re ending it… but I´ll try anyway… 

A-ha - Cast In Steel - Buenos Aires - 2015 Luna Park, September 24th

I must confess I didn't have many expectations about the gig. In fact, I was about no to  go! After a hard week, coming home after work , changing clothes and going out again didn't seem to be the best plan for a rainy Thursday evening. But I went all the same… and thank God I did!! The concert was not perfect. It was evident that there hadn't been much rehearsal beforehand, but the atmosphere and the energy that surrounded us were enough to make it unforgettable for everyone there. 

The members of the band were very kind with the audience, specially Morten, who said some really nice words about how well they felt every time they came here. 

"It´s wonderful to be here, to come back here. You´re a brilliant, wonderful audience. Thank you so much. Every time we've been here, we've met with the same: you're such warmth, and we love you. Thank you all.

Regarding the music, it was wonderful as always! The setlist was similar to the ones played in the following gigs, with very few changes (for instance, the opening theme was The Wake. Not a strong enough song to begin with, in my opinion…). Another difference was that they had no backing singer. 

I believe it´s not necessary to say that all of us got back home that night immersed in nostalgia, a feeling quite hard to describe… For me, 24 years had passed since the last time I had seen them live, but nothing (or everything, really!) had changed… Although I've experienced and matured a lot during these years, that night I felt I was the same 17-year-old girl of June 9th, 1991. Thank you a-ha for this magic time trip! And farewell!"

Friday, May 06, 2016

Happy Birthday to the Nest!

Dear Shian,

Happy birthday to you and the Nest! A few of us wanted to show you our appreciation and how much we have enjoyed buying from or selling through you - so here is our virtual birthday card!


Thankyou Sian for being my Inspiration for setting up Papillonkia Ltd. You've always been there on the other end of the phone, encouraged me and once even talked me out of buying a bag from Mulberry for £5000..!! I just wanted to say you are a lovely person and although we have never met, you mean a lot. All the very best Aqila..xxxxx
Aqila Agha


Fab service fabulously packed very helpful in matching up to a scarf with a bag bought from the equally fabulous Agila xxx
Morag Atkinson


I  have always had a love of handbags my mother had several hundred which she had hidden away which I inherited and my obecession grew from there . We had enjoyed several family holidays to Italy so I had some knowledge of different leathers but after discovering Shian it was like finding the fairy god mother of designer handbags. As both a buyer and seller to shain Her vast and in depth knowledge has been invaluable to me as well her honest opinions over different leather/styles/designers I have recommended her to several friends who have brought from her and have always had a first class experience, always approachable and always reasonably priced .
Congratugulations on your anniversary and here is to many more 
Marianne Ellen Howart

I've made 5 purchases from Shian, 3 mulberry and 2 Balenciaga. What a pleasure to buy from this lovely lady. What a brilliant website she runs, great photos and descriptions, hope to buy again soon! Congratulations, Shian, on your anniversary and all good wishes for the future.
Lesley Sutherland


Shian has always been so friendly, helpful and professional when I've asked her about her lovely items. I've now bought two 'unicorns' from her and love them both...bit of a pinky theme going on! Also love looking through her website, even at the sold items! Congratulations on your success building your business over the years, you deserve it xxxx
Ellie Todd


I've had the pleasure of buying and selling with Shian for many years. What a lovely lady! Always ready to give advice and genuinely wants the buyer to love their new purchase so she would never push a sale. You can see that she is passionate about her business and deserves every bit of her success. Happy anniversary xx
Rachael Moles


I bought my beautiful Mulberry Rachel from NPN in 2013, to celebrate the end of a particularly awful year and a new start with a new job. Shian was knowledgeable and helpful, and made the experience very special. Her thoughtfulness and attention to detail, from the website to the packaging and truly exceptional customer service are second to none, and it's an absolute pleasure buying from her. The bag is, of course, absolutely stunning, and I still adore it.
Nikki Cheung


Shian is an excellent seller of beautiful bags and accessories. She is knowledgeable, patient (even when you''re asking a million questions!) and her communication is quick and kind. Delivery is also very quick! The bag I bought from Shian was beautifully wrapped in pink tissue paper and purple ribbon, and even came with a little chocolate bar! It was like a beautiful present to myself, and really did make my bag buying experience something else! It was my first Louis Vuitton, and when it came to buying my second I went to a Louis Vuitton store, but buying from Shian was so much nicer and easier. I would recommend NPN wholeheartedly, and wish it a very Happy Birthday!
Emma Binns


Huge congratulations Shian ....eleven years of fabulous bags's to the next eleven! Emma x
Emma Sainsbury
After buying the wrong kind of designer bag for myself, I had lost my self confidence and just didn't trust myself in picking the right one. Shian was amazing, answering question after question and holding my hand throughout the process. When my parcel arrived with the bag wrapped like a gift, I felt so happy - and couldn't quite find all the flaws she had described in her shop. 
I truly admire her for running such a successful business and am grateful for all the support she has given me and my blog over the past year. Here's to the next 11 years! 
Stef @ Wish & Wear

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