BBC The Repair Shop expert opens up on original career plan worlds away from repairs: ‘Was a keen interest’

BBC The Repair Shop expert opens up on original career plan worlds away from repairs: ‘Was a keen interest’

WATCH HERE: The Repair Shop host Jay Blades talks about David Jason

Olivia Gantzer

By Olivia Gantzer

Published: 17/04/2024

- 14:00

Updated: 17/04/2024

- 14:04

The hatter had no plans to go into hat-making originally

Many of BBC's The Repair Shop experts have become household names thanks to their impressive crafts, with the team all boasting unique talents to offer on the heartwarming series.

Resident hatter Jayesh Vaghela explained how he found himself on the show in a recent interview, and his original career plan couldn’t be further from the world of repairs.

Vaghela is now known for fixing up sentimental hats brought in by guests, making them look brand new. Surprisingly though, he had once hoped to work in a school.

Talking about his background, the expert explained: “My family emigrated to the UK when I was young, almost 40 years ago now.

“During school I always had an interest in arts and eventually I ended up doing a visual arts degree and had hoped to become a secondary school teacher.

“I had experience working in various retail and customer service roles which led me to a role as the Retail Manager at Lock & Co Hatters, but when I entered the premises I discovered their workroom with hat-making, renovations and repairs. I felt like a child who had found themselves in a big toy store.”

Julie Tatchell, Jay Blades, Amanda Middleditch, and Jayesh Vaghela

Vaghela originally planned to become a teacher


Continuing, he went on: “It was a keen interest of mine so I started helping in that area alongside my day job on the shop floor.

“My skills and interests were obviously in creating, making and repairing items and as time progressed my responsibilities developed from managing the shop floor to managing Antique Silk Top hat and Bowler hat - usually known as hard-hat - renovations.

“I then became a Master Hatter and also continued to sell hats directly to customers as I thoroughly enjoy meeting new people and have a real passion for selling.”

Vaghela found himself in the signature Repair Shop barn after the team reached out to him.

“The Repair Shop found me through my job at Lock & Co. Hatters,” he recalled.

“The team got in touch and I had interviews about my skill and talked about my background, they then sent me an image of an item for repair.

“This was just as the pandemic started, which delayed things, but suddenly everything was okayed by the team and I found myself on the show, which was very exciting!”

Elsewhere, Richard Talman recently opened up on how he almost turned down his role on the show.

Jayesh Vaghela

Jayesh Vaghela talked about how he started working on The Repair Shop


He admitted: “There was an answering message on my workshop landline saying, ‘I’m a researcher for a show called The Repair Shop and we wondered if you’d be interested in coming along to repair some jewellery on the television.’"

“I went to press delete because I assumed it was a prank, but my wife Googled the phone number and it came up as a production company, so I called them back!” he told OK! Magazine.

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