Lusting after that classic designer bag, but just can’t quite justify (or afford) to pay top dollar for it?
I’m a huge fan of buying preloved and it seems I’m not alone. According to Forbes Magazine, resale has grown over 21 times faster than any other retail apparel market over the past 3 years. Thanks in part to the change in mentality from the days of the ‘cost per wear’ justification (come on, admit it, you’re just as guilty of this one as the rest of us!); to today where it's all about resale value. And of course, an important side benefit is you’re actively becoming part of the recycling economy - good for everyone!
You’ve been close to ‘buying it now’ on ebay, but your gut just doesn’t trust it (is it authentic?, did they see me coming?!).
Well stress no more, today I’m going to introduce you to some of the best 2nd hand and consignment sites around. But more importantly, ones you can purchase from with confidence.
So that all my readers can access these stores, I’m sticking with online and not discussing any bricks and mortar stores - but no doubt there are some brilliant ones near you with more and more consignment stores are popping up.
We’re so lucky to live in an age where anything you can think of is at your fingertips (via your device); and there’s now a plethora of consignment designer goods options for both buying and selling.
So where to start? A good starting point is to research how much a new version of the bag you’re looking for costs. You’re then ready to go searching for a pre-loved version with the retail price in mind.
Next, get a firm handle on how much less you should reasonably expect to pay (or to earn if selling) for the preloved bag. Make sure you’re realistic as there’s loads of variables, things such as popularity of the bag, condition, age, availability and so on; but it’s safe to assume you’re likely to save enough to make the effort worth it.
Some brands command a high price whether new or second hand - classic Hermès and Chanel bags are the frontrunners in this area. Some styles from these brands can actually go up in price as time goes by, however, these are the exception rather than the rule.
Above: The Hermès Birkin Bag - considered to be a solid investment. Photo: hermes.com
One of our all-time fave and most trusted re-seller sites is Vestiaire Collective and they have an amazing tool called: The Resale Calculator. This calculator uses masses of data to quickly reveal how much designer items are worth second hand. Definitely check this out (regardless of whether you’re buying or selling).
So now that you’ve got some background and are filled you with confidence and the knowledge that it’s ok to go the 2ndhand route if done right, are you ready to buy that classic bag? For the sake of this example, let’s search for a classic Fendi Baguette Bag. This bag has seen a massive resurgence in popularity recently. Invented by Silvia Fendi in 1997 and immortalised in Sex And The City, it’s seen a spike in searches globally of around 174% since the beginning of 2019.
So grab a cup of coffee and let’s go on a shopping trip around the world to see what we can find.
Research the new price of the Fendi Baguette you’re after. We’ll start at the most obvious place: Fendi
Above: Fendi's Classic Baguette Bag - 2020 version.
If your designer doesn’t show you the price online, you can ring your local store, pop in to check it out yourself (any excuse to check out some lust worthy designer goodies in the flesh!) or go a different route and google well regarded ‘first hand’ online retailers such as:
(Note: many of these on-line stores do not selling some of the top designer brands, and if they do, they often only have a small range of a particular design.)
From my initial search, a new Fendi Baguette bag (standard size: 26cm) in black leather with gold-finish metalware currently sells on the Fendi website for AUD $3,850.
Check out Vestiaire Collective’s The Resale Calculator (or any other equivalent resource from a reputable reseller).
When I input the specifications for a pre-loved Black Baguette, the calculator tells me it’s worth about AUD$820 (with a range of AUD$660 – AUD$990). So I’m assuming if I budget just under AUD$1,000 I should be able to get a really excellent example.
Maybe that Fendi bag you’ve been lusting after for so long is finally within reach. I’m sure you’ll agree that considering the preloved option is definitely a smart way to go given the massive price difference between it and the latest version you can pick up directly from Fendi. Yes, agreed, you won’t have that ‘instore’ sales experience and be offered a glass of champers as part of the experience; but think how many bottles of Veuve you could buy with the money you’ve saved by doing it this way!
The Vestiaire site also brings up similar items sold with images, details, date sold and price sold.
Above: Search results from Vestiaire Collective.
Whilst you’re on the Vestiaire site, input the details of the bag you’re looking for into their search bar. When I did it for our example Baguette bag, 15 pages of initial results came up. However, from there, you can refine the search with a number of inputs including:
- Which country it’s shipped from
- Whether or not you want Express Delivery
- Price Range
- Editor’s Pick
- Whether its price has been reduced or not
So now you have an amazing starting point. Let’s keep going…
Do a Google search along these lines: preloved 2nd hand consignment Fendi Baguette bag black leather 26cm
What you’ll get will probably be links to a number of other consignment stores. Take your time to have a look at as many as you can and see what they’re asking for the bag. Also, and super importantly, make sure you research the seller website – check reviews, make sure they offer authentication, see how long they’ve been in business for, does the name ring a bell?, and so on.
There are so many reputable, trustworthy sites around these days that you don’t need to sweat. Some others we trust and love are:
Note: Some of these sites also offer online appraisals of resale value.
Compile your shortlist. By now you’ve probably found a few really good versions of the bag you’re after (and probably fallen in love with a few of them along the way!). But stay focused and go back to review exactly what it is you’re looking for.
You should be able to shortlist 2 – 3 in your budget.
Just remember, make sure:
- you stick to your budget,
- you’re only dealing with reputable sites (do your due diligence on the seller/company, check if they have an ‘authenticity guarantee’, what their shipping terms are, refund policy etc),
- double check the specifications and images.
If you’ve done all this, then you’re probably ready to go ahead and make your purchase. Of course, if there’s an opportunity to make an offer, go for it. Or if not, but you’re fine with the price, then go ahead and commit. If possible, we recommend purchasing via PayPal, it’s a great way to go, you get that extra bit of ‘insurance’. If there’s an issue, PayPal can also step in to help. However, we’re sure you won’t need that if you’ve done all your research and have purchased from a top seller.
Sit back, relax. All you need to do now is wait for your beautiful Baguette to arrive.
Enjoy your new bag for as many years as you like; and when you’ve decide it’s time to sell. Re-visit the various consignment sites, this time as a seller, and see how much you can get back on your much loved Baguette. But we’re guessing you’ll most likely will never get to this step. If you buy the right bag at the right price in the first place, it should stand the test of time, especially if you have daughters – no doubt they’ll be begging you to hang on to your classics so that when they’re old enough to appreciate them, they’ll be able to wear you Vintage classics all over again. The recycle economy lives on….