April 15, 2019

A look back on retiring from shoe repair

Peg Larabell working in her old shop - movie still

This video is special to me because it includes rare footage of my beloved repair shop and of (camera shy) me “behind the wheel.”  That is, behind the grinding and finishing wheels of the Sutton 2000.

I am happy to share this video with you MooBuzz® All-Natural Leather Protection fans and leather aficionados as it was filmed about a year before I retired from shoe and leather repair and closed my shop in November of 2018.

I believe in fixing things. It’s in my blood.

Honestly, I was sad to leave shoe and leather repair behind. It was my full-time life (and then some!) for over 15 years. And I’ll miss meeting all the wonderful customers who believe in fixing things, too. I am truly honored that they trusted me to fix their stuff.

As much as I love repairing things, though, I also love making things. I’m a maker at heart. Repair captured me for a while. I’m grateful for everything it taught me about why things break and how to properly care for leather goods. But it wasn’t the whole picture for me.

So as 2019 begins, I find myself very busy in my new MooBuzz® production space. I have plenty of room to develop more products to help you care for your fine leather goods. Plus, I’m renting a small studio where I continue to make custom and commissioned leather goods (for people who can find me).

“You’re retired?” I get that question A LOT because even though I retired from repair, I’m still really busy. The truth of the matter is that my hands will always be busy. Whether it’s packing up MooBuzz® Leather Protection, stitching a custom shoe, or paddling some wide or wild river, I’ll be working with my hands. Just have to.

And this leads me to a weird remembrance: My older brother had a vinyl album by Mason Williams called “Handmade,” circa 1970. I just love “Classical Gas” and must have listened to that piece hundreds of times. Well, Williams made that entire album. The music was handmade, of course, and he drew an outline of his hand on the cover and wrote the liner notes. I remember reading somewhere on that album cover: “Time is handmade love.” Hands and love and time. There you have it.