5 Tips for Scoring Discount Designer Handbags
Drooling over a luxury bag, but know it's not in your budget? Got an upcoming job interview where you'd love to be able to pull out a Prada and make a splash? We don't all have celebrity budgets, but those shopping for an executive-level replacement job and needing discount designer handbags for a great price will find relief with these tips from an industry expert.
Sarah Davis, founder of Fashion Phile, a resale company for gently-used designer bags, knows how to get great deals on authentic luxury pocketbooks, tote bags, and more. Since she owns the largest pre-owned luxury handbag business in the country, I couldn't resist picking her brain on behalf of you, the readers. Here are her top tips for getting great bags for less. (See also: 5 Ways to Live Like a Celebrity for Less)
It doesn't always pay to wait for a discount
Certain brands like Louis Vuitton or Hermes never have sales. Ever. So if you don't want to pay full price, shopping for them second hand is your only alternative. The good news? Because these particular brands never discount, they retain their value. This means you can always get a reasonable amount of cash back if you tire of your bag's design down the road. It also lets you know to be very wary if you see a bag listed as belonging to that label for a price that's too good to be true.
One exception to this rule is Coach. They are known to discount, and also have outlet stores, making them a HUGE bargain on the used market.
Ask about online options
If you enter a consignment store and see a bag that's nearly what you want, ask the clerk or store owner if the shop has an online presence as well. Chances are the store's inventory runs much deeper than what you see on the shelves. Fashionphile.com, the online component to Davis' Rodeo Drive store, is where over 70% of her inventory is sold. Another 20% of her bags are sold on Ebay. This is good news if you're looking for loads of options within a certain price range, and the items on the shelves aren't quite meeting your needs.
It's a jungle out there, and counterfeiters are more sophisticated than ever. Going crazy with your credit card at online auction sites might not be your best bet unless you know for sure the seller is reputable. In higher-end consignment stores, ask if they have an authenticator on staff. Experienced professional sellers of luxury items shouldn't balk at this request. If one isn't available, snap a high-quality photo and head on over to The Purse Forum, where handbag experts will give you their opinion on an item's authenticity. For free.
Look for an authenticity guarantee
According to Davis, any luxury reseller worth their weight in buttery leather should be willing to offer a 100% money back guarantee when it comes to the authenticity of one of their handbags. If they won't, it's a huge red flag that the item in question is not a safe purchase.
Cash in on your closet
Vintage bags in pristine condition might perform better than other financial investments. Who knew? While I wouldn't recommend anyone to start planning their retirement by investing in designer pocketbooks, I did find the following anecdote of interest. One of Fashionphile's clients had a smaller Louis Vuitton item in her closet purchased in the 1980s for less than $300. They resold it for her for over $500. Not bad.
To be sure, collecting a closet-full of discount designer handbags isn't the budget for most of us. That being said, having one or two multipurpose bags in a timeless style is a good idea if you can afford it. One strategy I use for higher-quality pieces is to not use them all the time. I keep them stored safely in a closet and only use them when the situation demands it. That, plus a timeless style ensures I'm always able to pull off the look I need without the cost becoming a regular line item in our monthly budget. Walking in to an interview where you want to command a higher salary sporting a Prada instead of a penny-pinching bargain bag can do nothing but help you. So if you find yourself in a situation where you've got to "play the game," so to speak, get out the Gucci and tuck it away safely after the event.
Got your own great tip for getting discount designer handbags for less? Sound off below in the comment section!