The Mulberry Willow tote, Image courtesy Mulberry.
On a recent visit to Mulberry’s main factory in Somerset, England, I got a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to create a luxe designer bag—and I discovered an insider secret to taking care of such an investment piece.It takes a team of 30 factory workers five hours and 30 minutes to make each Willow tote. And it’s actually more difficult—and expensive—to create a simple, open tote bag like the Willow (compared to a more intricate bag) because there isn’t anywhere to hide even the smallest imperfections in the leather. So if you are lucky enough to snag a statement bag like this (celebs like Oprah Winfrey and Kate Moss have been spotted with the Willow), you’ll want to take especially good care of it—no scratches or scuff marks permitted. So how do they keep the bags finger-print-free at the factory where they are made? Among all the professional tools of the trade—brushes, needles and rubber leather erasers—used to put the finishing TLC touches on the bags, I spotted something unexpected: Packages of baby wipes. When I asked what they were used for, I was told that years of research at the factory has revealed that baby wipes are the best product to take care of the brand’s delicate leathers. A baby wipe is often the last thing that touches a bag before it is carefully wrapped in tissue and packed into one of Mulberry’s iconic blue boxes, destined for a new owner. “Our bags are looked-after like a baby’s bottom,” one worker told me. What's your top tip for taking care of a designer bag? Read More: 12 Designer handbags worth investing in this fall The surprising psychology behind carrying a designer handbag Mulberry stores arrive in Canada