I’ve had this briefcase with me for over four years. And I haven’t been gentle with it, which shows. So guys over at Sartolane reached out to me, because it turns out that such a worn bag is a perfect test subject for their new renovation and reanimation service.

The bag has been renovated for me free of charge.

At the time of writing, Sartolane is one of the sponsors of this blog, which means they have paid advertisements here. This post was not consulted with them before publication, however, and I’ll do my best to provide an objective review of their service.

The briefcase I have is one of Sartolane’s early models. The design hasn’t changed all that much – after all it’s a classic that doesn’t go out of style so quickly. But others things did – for example, the leather used for this bag was a very limited run. It’s leather characterized by a very open structure, so it easily absorbs, well, everything you put on it. So it requires more maintenance. Mateusz, one of the founders of the brand, told me that he wouldn’t have trusted just anyone with a bag made of it, but he knew that with me, it was in good hands.

Oh, I have failed miserably to meet those expectations.

Over the years, I never really used any cosmetics at all on the bag. I liked it roughed up, seeing how it ages. There were some issues though – the handles got dark absorbing sweat from my palms, and left ugly dark marks on the briefcase’s body when resting against it. I tried to get rid of them, to no avail. I finally started putting some creams on the bag, but the effect was unimpressive, and got really bad when it rained and the bag got wet.

So I thought, sure, let’s see what they can do to help.

The most striking difference is, of course, the colour. It used to be cognac/tan; now it’s dark chocolate brown. I was asked whether I approve of this change – and in fact I did, as my tastes evolved over time and I decided that dark brown is much more universal and fits my current wardrobe better.

Other than that, the briefcase was updated to the current Sartolane specs. Remember how I told you it was one of their early models? They do some things differently now. So the bag got new hardware, zipper, and new handles, all brand new and the same they have on the current bags available at their website.

Almost all the hardware is single-part cast now.

The Raccagni zipper is great, sturdy and works smooth.

The bag was cleaned, the stain on the body removed. You can still see it was there by the leather discolouration – the stain got really deep, and desperate times call for desperate measures. The cleaning got aggressive.

To replace the hardware, the bag was completely disassembled. And by completely, I mean completely. You could lie all the parts of it down flat. And then it was resewn. Put expertly back together. So all the stitching, all the threads are new as well.

Finally, it was painted.

That was done by the fine people of Wielki Shoe, Warsaw shoe and leather accessories renovation shop. And they did a great job. The painting was precise and well-done with high quality paint. You wouldn’t tell the bag originally was a completely different colour.

So when the bag arrived to me, it felt as if I got a new product completely. Well, almost – it had the same shape and weight, it was broken in already; it felt familiar.

The new colour will work better with my clothes, but also won’t show wear and tear as much. I expect this briefcase to serve me many more years, even with my hectic schedule that doesn’t allow me to spend all that much time on maintenance.

And like I said, this was a test run before Sartolane launched their programme for used bags.

There are three options: one, they’ll buy the bag back, and you’ll get a discount for a new one.

Two and three depend on how worn your bag is. Renovation with Saphir cleaning products and creams is free for anyone who bought their bag within 5 years. And reanimation – like the process shown here – is priced individually. It’s time and labour intensive, but well worth it.

This kind of effort put not just into selling stuff, but also their post-sale service is commendable and I appreciate it a lot. I would love to see more brands do this, and it just shows how passionate people over at Sartolane are about their product.