Monthly Archives: April 2009

From Your Nose to Your Toes — Garment Care means your whole wardrobe

A few years ago—before the Great Recession—I got a call from one of my favorite clients. She was on a private jet. She had spilled vodka on her favorite Hermes Birkin Bag. Sure, she had a closet full of gorgeous bags, but this bag was her favorite.

What the hell do I do?” she pleaded.

I coached her through some Birkin Bag triage and upon arrival at her destination, she promptly FedExed the “patient” back to New York for treatment. I almost thought she’d send the bag back on the private jet. Judging from the anxiety in her voice, the thought probably crossed her mind.

Of course, we were able to save the bag and returned it to her in far better shape than we received it. We’ve been cleaning, repairing and detailing couture handbags and pocketbooks for years. Our New York City and Long Island customers usually bring them into our stores (no need for private jets when we have four convenient locations in the New York City area). But we also have plenty of customers who send their best bags to us for cleaning from all over the U.S. Some customers, if the bag is important enough, will even send it to us from out of the country.

Today, it is more important than ever to protect these investments. (The Great Recession, remember?) It dawned on me that we were providing this important service—one that encourages a sustainable lifestyle, too—without even promoting it. So now, in addition to our handbag cleaning and repair, we have decided to offer shoe care and repair. Now it’s official: Meurice has you covered from your nose to your toes.

I mean, let’s face it; everyone knows that people get judged by their shoes. Right or wrong, it happens. Those Jimmy Choos or Louboutins won’t impress anyone if they look like they’ve been through the spin cycle. (I always wondered what was with those red soles, anyway. Who sees the bottom of your shoes, unless of course, you’re a porn star? And Louboutins never make it into those movies. At least not any that I’ve ever seen.)

So, whether you broke a heel, stepped in your neighbor’s dog’s poop, or scuffed the tip of your J.M. Westons while you were “minding the gap” on the 6 train, it’s no problem. Meurice can fix it.

Even if your Kelly bag is covered in Enfamil, Meurice can take care of it.

Your bags, your shoes, your clothes, they’re all investments that you’ve made. You might have lost your shirt on Wall Street, but you won’t loose your shirt at Meurice. And while we’re at it, we can save your shoes, too.

Bug-a-Goo? New York Stroller Cleaning and Detailing

I’ve got two kids.  In their short lives I have cleaned juice, ice cream, ketchup, mud, throw up and any number or other sticky, disgusting messes off of their car seats and strollers.  It never ceased to amaze me, all of the nooks and crannies where I would find a stray Cheerio wedged, crushed or fossilized.  And you know you’re not getting that stuff off with your thumb nail.  You’re just not.

But necessity is the mother—or in this case, the father—of invention.  One day, as I was chipping away at the hardened remains of a starchy snack, it occurred to me: I’m not the only parent who struggles to keep my kid’s ride clean.  And I clean other people’s stuff for a living.  Why am I not cleaning other people’s kid’s car seats?

So now I am.

Meurice now proudly offers stroller and car seat detailing at all of our New York locations.  Look, your kid’s gear is expensive.  I know this as well as you do.  And kids—all their sweetness and cuteness aside—are some of the sloppiest people you’re ever going to meet.  Now you don’t need to stress over a sippy cup spill. Just bring it into Meurice.  We’ll clean it quickly, safely and hygienically.  That’s part of our Eco-Care Promise—a safe, environmentally responsible cleaning process that we’ve been using at Meurice for more than 20 years.

Before my wife sold them on eBay, I cleaned my kids’ strollers using this method more times than I can count.  So go ahead, bring your crustiest, nastiest car seat or stroller into one of our New York stores—or call usWe’ll pick it up.  We’ll get it back to you looking as good as new.  And you don’t even have to thank us for saving your manicure.

We work our magic again — dry cleaning Suede Upholstery Cleaning

I love a challenge. The more difficult the task, the more people who say it can’t be done, the more I want to make it happen.

Last Thursday, I took a call from a woman who was inquiring about cleaning a suede couch and two suede club chairs. Light in color and in desperate need of cleaning, she said that several other suede/upholstery cleaning companies had looked at them and said they couldn’t be saved.  Just like that.  “Can’t help you, lady,” is basically what they told her.  “Can’t be done.”

This kind of attitude—take the easy job, turn down the challenge—annoys me.  It annoys me, that is, except when it presents me with an opportunity to clean up the messes other people find too intimidating.  Why would anyone get into this business if they’re afraid of dirt?

Anyway, I told the woman I would help her.  Normally, I would quote a price range for this type of service and qualify the job, but something in this woman’s voice—not to mention her address—made it clear that we weren’t talking about furniture she had to put together herself with instructions written in broken English.  She was worried.  And she was determined to save her suede.  So I decided to head over and inspect the furniture myself.

After trying not to get distracted by the museum-quality artwork in this place—Picasso, anyone?—I got to work.  I went over the suede couch and chairs with everything but a microscope and explained the potential risks involved with this type of cleaning. I furnished the estimate.  We got the contract.  And then, the fun began.

I don’t do the actual work on most jobs, but this wasn’t just any job.  I wanted this suede couch cleaning project to be perfect.  It was a test.  It was a test from the client and a test of my own capabilities.  So I rolled up my sleeves and headed straight for the lab.  This was going to be fun! (I told you, I love a challenge.)  It was like garment care forensics.

We worked a little of our patented Meurice magic and got the suede furniture clean. I can’t tell you how we actually cleaned this furniture.  You wouldn’t want to try this one at home, anyway.  I don’t even think I’d try this one on the Martha Stewart show, if I’m invited back for another appearance.

The house staff were so impressed (awestruck?) with our work that they immediately offered up other challenges from around the apartment:  a silk and velvet couch cushion, disfigured from dog slobber; an 18th century suede covered bench; the draperies; fabric covered walls; bedspreads and tapestries.  There is much to be done in this home, and Meurice clearly passed the first test.

We now have a list of new interior cleaning projects in this residence.  I’m grateful for their confidence, even if the remaining projects are a comparative walk in the park.  And what the new jobs lack in the way of challenge, they make up for in Art History education.  Seriously, the only other time I’m going to see a Picasso up close is at the Met.  Trust me, it’s way more fun without the busloads of tourists.

Time for Spring Cleaning in the city with Meurice Garment Care

Spring is here.  Finally.  I came to this realization yesterday morning, while I was on my run in the park.  It’s hard to miss, really.  And it feels great.  I mean, the trees are budding, the birds are chirping, and I haven’t layered myself in Thinsulate for a reservoir jog in weeks.

These last few days, we New Yorkers are gratefully shedding our winter layers, favoring the lighter and brighter pieces in our wardrobes.  And shedding winter clothes means storing winter clothes.  And storing winter clothes can lead to a lot of spotty, garment damaging mistakes made by well-intentioned fashionistas.

As a kid, I remember coming into work with my dad to help out on spring weekends.  The influx of clothing storage orders was overwhelming.  It seemed like half of the population of New York City was dumping their winter wardrobes in our tiny storefront within the space of about 3 weeks.  It was intense.

The storage business has decreased a bit since then.  People have bigger apartments now, bigger closets, more built-in options for in-home storage.  But the fact remains that every single item you store—whether at home or in a professional facility—must be cleaned before you put it away for the season.  Period.

If moths find their way into your clothing storage—yes, there are moths in New York City, moths with refined tastes—the first areas they’ll feast on are the soiled spots on your cashmere.  And if moths don’t eat the dirty spots, the spots can potentially oxidize or caramelize, leading to permanent stains that even the very best cleaner can’t remove.  This risk is doubled if you store your garments in plastic bags—one of the cardinal sins of garment care.

Spring is also a great time to clean your bedding.  Duvets, pillows—all bedding collects dust mites and other cooties.  Meurice will flush these out of your Fretté and leave your linens hygienically clean and fresh, using our eco-friendly aqua care process.  Health experts recommend replacing your pillows every year.  Recessionistas know that this can get expensive.  This year, opt for hygienically cleaning them instead.

While we’re on the topic of small, gross stuff invading your home, rugs, carpets and window treatments can harbor some pretty scary vermin.  A good, deep interior cleansing is always part of my recommended spring cleaning process. I had my crew in my own apartment this weekend.  They used the HEPA vacuum, shampooed the rugs and took down the window treatments for cleaning. (The water after cleaning the window shades and rugs is usually black.  Totally gross.  And all this after closed windows for six months and a strictly enforced “no shoe” policy.)

I came back from my run yesterday morning, feeling energized and relaxed as I left my sneakers in the hallway.  I sipped my coffee and thumbed through the Times, feeling the fresh spring breeze blowing into the apartment through the open window.  I looked up at the sun streaming in, felt the air on my face, and was grateful for the arrival of the new season and that Manhattan spring breeze, even if it does mean we’ll need to clean it all again in the autumn.