IT’S often said we live in a throwaway society.

In an age of consumerism, people are quick to throw things away and splash out on replacements.

Gareth Tansey stands for the opposite and, thanks to his craft, care and attention to detail, is forging a successful business bringing items back to life.

Mr Tansey started Colchester-based Dr G’s Sneaker Laundry earlier this year and is already building a reputation for upcycling shoes and handbags.

As well as helping others, he admits finding it “therapeutic”.

“I’ve been doing these repairs for friends and family for about ten years,” said the 39-year-old.

“It’s only in more recent months that I’ve had the confidence and self-belief to start my own business - to better my life and follow my passion.

“I’ve had issues with mental health and suffered with depression and anxiety but find my work really helps. It gives me something to focus on and is very therapeutic.

“Business was a bit slow at first but I’ve been working hard to get my name out there.


“Hopefully my reputation has grown, work has picked up and now I’m much busier.

“My dream is to have my own shop, one day.

“That’s what I’m working towards but, at the moment, I collect people’s shoes from drop-off points across Colchester and also in Harwich and Manningtree.

“I also offer free spot cleans as a collaboration with Bestdays Vintage, in Colchester town centre, every other Saturday.”


Mr Tansey, who lives in Churchill Way, has been buoyed by celebrity endorsements.

He has worked for and been mentioned on social media by the likes of comedian Lee Francis, better known as Keith Lemon, and pop superstar Robbie Williams.

However, his passion for upcycling started from humble beginnings - simply cleaning his own trainers.

“It’s something I’ve taught myself,” said the former student at St Benedict’s Catholic College, in Colchester.

“When I used to go out, my shoes were always the last thing I put on.


“The number of times I’d think ‘these look a bit tatty and scruffy’. I started cleaning them up, getting rid of scuff marks and experimenting. People began complimenting me and then I got asked to try and do the same with their shoes. That’s where it all started and it’s grown and grown.


“We live in a throwaway society where people are quick to get rid of things. But I’ve always seen the potential in repairing, restoring and upcycling things. I love bringing things back to life, whether it’s a pair of shoes or a handbag.”

Mr Tansey has a young assistant - six-year-old daughter Gabriella.

“I call her Little Dr G,” he said. “It’s something creative to do together. I hope it inspires her in the same way it inspires me and that by communicating with people, it helps give her confidence and self-belief.”

For more details, ring Mr Tansey on 07306 374888 or visit

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