Mulberry Willow Tote, Image courtesy Mulberry

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?