Designing couple opens Durham retail/repair shop

CorrespondentDecember 12, 2012 

After creating a capsule collection of leather goods for Raleigh Denim, Durham designer Kieran Ionescu and his wife, Kim, were on the hunt for a permanent space for their design workshop. As they weighed their options, the two realized they wanted more than just a design space – they wanted a business that would allow them to interact with the community. So earlier this year, they renovated and reopened Main Street Shoe Repair (117 E. Main St., Durham) as a hybrid repair/retail space.

“The consistency of repair seemed like a good complement to custom work, and because Kieran makes the kind of shoes that will last a lifetime or two if you are willing to invest in the occasional repair, it fit our philosophy to provide those services in addition to our goods,” says Kim Ionescu.

The front of the shop displays belts, cardholders and pocket squares by Kieran, plus clothing and accessories by other local designers, such as Durham’s LifeKit Lifestyle Co.

“We chose those other products based on personal taste and, probably more than anything, on the relationships we developed with the makers,” she explains. “A good story that we can relate to, and relate to our customers, is critical to our selling anyone’s product, especially those products that share space with things we make.”

And while the front of the shop may be most visually appealing, the back is where all the action happens. A small chair sits amid the chaos of shoes, supplies and miscellaneous inventory, and it’s here that the Ionescus breathe new life into well-worn shoes.

As their business has grown, the Ionescus have realized that shoe repair affords them the creative outlet and personal connection they hoped to establish in the Durham community. They recently started a monthly lecture/demonstration series featuring Kieran, as well as the local craftspeople they partner with in the shop.

“We want to keep building the reputation of our repair work,” she says. “Kieran will continue to design and make shoes, but repair has a ton of potential locally, and more broadly. It strikes me as funny that I occasionally hear people around here say that they send their shoes to New York for repair, while we have people sending shoes from New York to Durham for us to repair.”

This week in the trunks

A new week, a new lineup of trunk shows. Here’s the rundown:

• Bailey’s Fine Jewelry in Cameron Village will have new pieces from Ippolita in store Thursday. Bailey’s is at 415 Daniels St., Raleigh, 919-829-7337,

• Saks Fifth Avenue in Triangle Town Center hosts two big shows this week. First, jeweler Kwiat brings glittering diamond jewelry – rings, earrings and more – for a trunk show 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Thursday. To make an appointment, call 919-792-9100, ext. 5318. On Tuesday, preview Lida Baday’s spring collection of dresses, outerwear and separates 10 a.m.-5 p.m. To schedule an appointment, call 919-792-9100, ext. 5393.

• Charlotte’s has two shows this week. The first features the latest from Tacori Fine Jewelry on Friday at their Cameron Village location (call 919-821-9828 for details). The second, Tuesday, has the latest timepieces from Michele Watches. During the show, shoppers will receive a free gift with purchase and a free leather watch band with the purchase of a diamond watch. For info, call 919-787-7113.

• Impressa Jewelry in Crabtree Valley Mall will have Moissanite “Forever Brilliant” jewelry – a less-expensive diamond alternative – for a show 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Friday. Moissanite gems have a comparable color and clarity to that of many diamonds, at a fraction of the price. For details, call 919-782-5777.

• Score holiday scarves from Shawlsmith of London during the brand’s warehouse sample sale in City Market (at 311 Blake Street), 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday and Saturday. During the event, shoppers will receive 50 percent off retail price on all scarves and the company will donate 10 percent of sales to Poe Health Center in Raleigh. Call 919-561-1043 or visit for more information.

• Local jewelry designer Courtney Bell will show the latest pieces during two trunk shows at Lavender and Lace in Raleigh. The shows, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Dec. 22, will include a variety of necklaces bracelets and more made with repurposed vintage brooches, pearls and chains. Lavender and Lace is at 1902 Bernard St., Raleigh, 919-828-6007,

A show of good faith

Check out looks from local designers and support a good cause at the Avery’s Angels fashion show, 8-10 p.m. Friday at Noir Bar and Lounge in downtown Raleigh. Tickets for the show are $10 and benefit Avery’s Angels Gastroschisis Foundation, which provides support and services to families of infants born with gastroschisis. To buy tickets, visit

Wishes do come true

Macy’s in Crabtree Valley Mall kicks off its annual Believe campaign by granting the wish of a North Carolina teen. On Friday, Wilson teen Roslyn Rogers will join her family at the store for a shopping spree followed by a trip for the family to a theme park, to grant a wish made through Make-A-Wish of Eastern North Carolina. Rogers recently underwent a bone marrow transplant.

A door closes

Glenwood South boutique Gypsy Jule is closing its doors after nearly two years at its West Street location in Raleigh. Owner Julie Sezer opted to not renew the lease and will focus her efforts on the online store ( and creating a pop-up shop that’s slated to open in the spring. The store’s final day is Dec. 15.

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