Visiting your favourite retailer’s website or walking into a boutique and purchasing a new bag at full price is a fantastic experience, but it may not always be an experience you can afford. In fact, for many people, purchasing a luxury designer bag is a dream.
What is the next best alternative?
Shopping for pre-owned designer bags, of course! It is not only a great way to get a good deal on a desired piece, but it is also a great way to access exclusive designs and find any piece you may have missed from a previous season. Pre-owned luxury bags are still pricey, but they cost significantly less than a brand new purchase.
Even though making a decision to buy a luxury designer bag second-hand is easier, it’s a good idea to know a few things first because choosing the right bag and finding the right reseller can be difficult. So, before you spend thousands of pounds on that bag you’ve had your eye on for a while, there are a few things you should consider.
Here are some common recommendations to help you get started.
1. Manage Your Expectations
Expecting a lot from luxury items is fine, but when shopping for pre-owned pieces, a hardware scratch or a scuffed corner is often part of the bargain — in some cases — which is probably why they are up for sale.
Therefore, don’t expect these pieces to be flawless. Most flaws, such as a broken stitch, are acceptable because the brand retailer can repair them in-house without lowering the value of your pre-owned bag. The only exception to this rule is if the leather has cracks or rips, in which case you should run!
Aside from that, if you buy a designer bag and send it in for repairs, keep the receipt because it will come in handy if you decide to sell the piece later.
Remember, if you’re looking for perfection in a luxury bag that’s half the price of its original retail price, second-hand shopping is probably not for you.
2. Do Your Research
If you don’t do your homework, there are a lot of things that can go wrong when shopping for pre-owned designer bags. That is why research is such an important part of the process, as it provides you with the information you require to make an informed decision.
Inadequate information could end up costing you a lot of money in the long run. Many resale sites, for example, will not list the bag’s brand new value price alongside their own pricing, so how do you judge the resale price?
Collect as much information as you can about the bag. What is the brand-new retail price? What was the total number of bags produced? Is it a one-of-a-kind item?
The answers to these questions will help you determine whether the deal you’ve found is worthwhile.
Having trouble locating information about that high-end bag? Forums and blogs can be excellent sources of information.
3. Be on the Lookout for Fakes
One of the things that makes shopping for pre-owned designer bags so difficult is the pervasiveness of ‘good fakes’. Some fakes are so well-crafted that even the most trained eye would have a hard time spotting them. This is why there are a few best practices to follow in order to avoid spending thousands of pounds or dollars on a bogus product.
For example, pay close attention to details such as the stitching and materials. Also, designers like to put unique branding marks in their pieces as a form of authentication.
Learning about these designer brand peculiarities will save you a lot of headaches. Every Louis Vuitton bag, for example, has an authenticity stamp, therefore you should pay attention to the letters. They also include a date code, making it simple to determine whether a piece is genuine
4. Stick to the Classics
Even if you buy used luxury bags, they are still an investment, and it is best to stick to classic brands and models to maximise your investment. Pre-owned Chanel bags, Prada, Céline, Gucci, and Chloe are one of such excellent investments because they keep their value over time.
Aside from that, established brands frequently draw inspiration for new collections from their vintage collections. This has increased the value of authentic vintage designer bags. So, when in doubt, opt for one-of-a-kind designer bag models. Valentino rock studs, for example, or Chanel flap bags.
These bags are frequently limited editions with exorbitant prices. The Hermès Ghillies Birkin, for example, is valued at more than USD 80,000 or around GBP 58,000. So, if you happen to find one at a lower price, consider yourself lucky! Hug it tightly!
5. Vet the Online Resale Site
There are many resale websites today that claim to sell pre-owned designer bags. However, not all these sites are who they claim they are to be. Therefore, you need to be careful about which site you choose to shop at. If you’re going to spend that much money on a bag, you want to make sure it’s worth it. As a result, only shop at reputable websites.
As a general rule, these sites will display original product images of the bag from various angles and will be very forthcoming about product details.
Don’t forget to read the site’s authentication and return policies so you know what you’re getting into.
One Last Thing: Trust Your Instincts
Buying used designer handbags can be an excellent way to get the expensive bags you want on a smaller budget. The key to success is to do it in a safe and strategic manner. This way, at the end of each transaction, you’ll be satisfied with your experience.
As such, if something doesn’t seem right about a site or a bag, it’s best to err on the side of caution. In other words, if it smells like fish, looks like fish, and swims like a fish, it is most likely a fish.
There will always be another genuine, pre-loved luxury bag around the corner.