Claudia Valentin has made a career of sourcing & restoring premium handbags. With a personal collection of hundreds of bags from all over the world, she doesn’t have a walk-in wardrobe, she has her own walk-in bagrobe! In a world where we are all obsessed with bags, we catch up with Claudia Valentin to find our exactly how she got there.
Sum up yourself and your job?
I’m Claudia and I’m the designer handbag expert for Prestige Pawnbrokers. I feature on channel 4 show Posh Pawn alongside my partner James Constantinou appraising and valuing rare and sought after bags such as the Hermes Kelly.
What was the inspiration behind it?
From a very young age I always had an interest in beautifully made handbags. My aunt bought me my first leather bag in Italy when I was four. I got my first job at 13 in a hairdressers and when all my friends were out going to clubs I was saving my wages for a designer handbag. The thrill and excitement of adding to the collection was amazing, and I knew if I could turn my passion and knowledge into a job it would be the best career I could ask for.
What has been the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
My father always told me to have quality in your life rather than quantity. I adapt this to everything in my life from my handbags, to my friends and lifestyle.
What piece of advice would you give to others wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Do your research, be passionate about what you do. Never be afraid to learn or ask an opinion, nobody knows it all, there is always something new to learn which stops you from becoming stagnant. Never shy away from working hard, it will help you achieve your dreams in the long run and treat people how you would expect to be treated.
You’re a new addition to a crayon box, what colour would you be and why?
I think I would be poppy red because it’s happy, confident and outgoing like me. It’s also the colour of one of my favourite classic Hermes bags.
What was the last gift you gave someone?
That would be for Valentine’s day when I gave my fiancé James a private flying lesson. I’m not sure if I’ll be going up in the plane with him though. 😉
What inspires you?
My children inspire me every day. Watching them grow from babies into such kind and loving children fills me with pride. In the job that I do at Prestige I meet lots of different types of people from different walks of life, always with a fascinating story to tell and I have to say many of them inspire me in what they’ve achieved and certain hardships they may have endured along the way.
What is the difference between right and wrong?
Your gut instinct tells you what is right in life, but you don’t necessarily follow what is deemed right. I believe you need a bit of ying and yang in your life, a little bit of good with an equal measure of a little bit of naughty.
When have you been most satisfied with your life?
I know it sounds a cliché but with each of my three children being born I’ve felt incredibly satisfied with my life. I’m probably now more settled than I’ve ever been with a wonderful partner, good job and great friends and family.
If there was one thing you could say to you 5 year old self, what would it be?
Don’t worry about things, that’s someone else’s job for now. Have fun every day, laugh lots, make friends. Working hard comes later and so does worry.
Tell us in 3 words, how you got to where you are today?
Passion, dedication, ambition