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North East firm invests in digital with £800k funding


A North East company has secured an £800k investment to drive its growth online.

Handbag Clinic, which specialises in restoring and reselling luxury handbags has received the cash from North East Venture Fund, which is supported by the European Regional Development Fund and managed by Mercia.

As part of the investment, it has already appointed the former CEO of Claire’s Accessories, Beatrice LaFon, as Chair. Ian Griffiths, founder of, has been named Digital Strategy Consultant, with a view to growing its e-commerce sales.

“Despite the challenging trading conditions within the pandemic, we’ve enjoyed consistent growth and record online sales,” said co-founder, Charlotte Staerck.

“We are excited to welcome both Beatrice and Ian onto the Board – their unrivalled knowledge and expertise will add huge value. They share our vision and, together with the new investment, can help us to realise our aggressive growth plans, taking Handbag Clinic to the next level.” 

The company, wchih employs 30 staff, is also working with Durham University to adapt facial recognition technology to authenticate handbags, and assess their condition and value.

“With sustainability now a central concern for many consumers, the fashion resale market has experienced unprecedented growth in recent years. Handbag Clinic is one of the leaders in the market. This funding will allow Charlotte and the team to build on its position and take the business to the next stage of its development,” added Jan Oosthuizen of Mercia.

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