It is no secret that designer bags are expensive, in fact many would argue that’s part of the reason they are so lusted after. Just last year, Chanel has increased their prices on 3 separate occasions for their Classic Flap bags, in total with an increase of around 30%. At its launch, the 2.55 Classic Flap was $250 which translates to about $2500 in today’s money and now, a 2.55 flap costs $8800. It’s no wonder that many handbag lovers have decided to look online for a good deal (especially for brands like Louis Vuitton, Chanel or Hermes bags that notoriously never go on sale).
Of course, with an increased demand and increasing prices of luxury handbags, the second hand or pre-loved market follows as well. Which means that every time Louis Vuitton or Chanel increase their prices, the bags will get more expensive on the secondary market as well.
What determines the price of a pre-loved handbag?
This is the number one indicator of how pricey that coveted handbag is going to be. For example, in the last few years mini bags were all the rage. That meant that vintage Chanel minis or Small Classic Flaps were at the premium, as well as Louis Vuitton Speedy Nanos for example. Bigger bags such as totes or the Chanel Maxi Flap for example were typically less expensive than a M/L flap even though they are more expensive new vs the smaller bags. This seems to be changing in 2022, as we see bigger bags on the runway which typically translates into everyone’s fashion in a few months. You can also find a good bargain for shapes that are not in style. For example, bowling bags were super popular in Y2K and you can find bargains on eBay for this style. However, if you like this style we suggest you hurry and bid on your dream bag, as they seem to be coming back in style – which means that the prices on the pre-loved market will likely explode.
Obviously, the better the condition, the more the bag goes for. Usually on eBay the professional sellers will include a condition guide for their handbags which might look a little like this:
- S : New or new without a tag.
- SA : Excellent condition.
- A : Good condition with minor sigh of use.
- AB : Used condition with some damages.
- B : Obvious sigh of use with heavy damages.
It is up to you if you want a pristine handbag (that you’ll obviously have to pay more for) or if you’re happy with one that is slightly used. Another option is to buy a damaged bag and then send it to a handbag spa for restauration. This is one project that we will soon be doing here at LuxeFront, so stay tuned to see how that turns out. You can follow us on Instagram, as we’re going to document this journey.
3. How rare is the bag?
This kind of circles back to the first point of demand. If there’s a very limited supply of a bag, for example a rare Chanel color like this pink or a Birkin chances are that you’re going to have to pay above retail for these bags even if they’re not in perfect condition. In our opinion, you need to really, really love the bag to pay such a premium for a pre-loved piece. But if you really lust after a seasonal color or any item that is not easily bought in a boutique, then paying a premium might just be the only way.
Buying designer bags on eBay
There’s several places where you can buy pre-loved designer bags and accessories including local consignment stores, large second hand retailers such as Vestiaire Collective or the Real Real, but in this article we’re going to focus on eBay and how to use the platform to your advantage.
One of the main concerns for buying second hand luxury bags or accessory is the authenticity of the item. We’ve all heard horror stories of fake bags being sold on eBay for thousands, and that is a scary though! We will give you some tips on how to score an authentic bag for less and then I’ll share the main shops or eBay sellers to watch!
TIPS for buying authentic designer bags online:
- do your research on the bag. If for instance you want to buy a Chanel Classic Flap, research what are the signs of authenticity. You can still be fooled by super fakes, but at least you’ll have an idea on what to look for.
- research the website or seller that has your dream bag. A simple Google search will do, if there’s any major red flags they will usually come up. Example of searches could be : “examplesite fakes “
- make sure you know the retail price. We have seen it many times when sellers list a handbag for the same amount as in the store or even higher. If you’re willing to pay more for an “unicorn” bag or one that has been discontinued that’s completely fine. However, we were really surprised when we saw some Gucci bags that were available on their website selling for more on the pre-loved market.
- if the first three steps did not raise any red flags, it’s now time to authenticate the bag. To do that you could for instance use : Etinceler Authentications or Authenticate First for which you will need to pay a small fee.
Some of the eBay sellers that we keep my eye on:
Please notice we haven’t tried them all, and even if we did, we would strongly recommend to make sure the purse you’re buying is authentic by following the previous steps.
- japan_monoshare (from Japan, 21,300 positive reviews; 99.8 % score)
- brand_jfa (from Japan, 3,446 positive reviews; 99.3% score)
- j-style.japan (from Japan, 619 positive reviews; 97.5% score)
- boom2hanten(from Japan, 2200 positive reviews; 99.3% score)
As you can see, our favorite sellers on eBay tend to be Japanese and there are a few reasons for that: 1. Japan’s stringent laws against counterfeit items gives us a bit more peace of mind when it comes to buying pre-loved; 2. the prices tend to be quite competitive, although be aware that you need to do some digging for some real gems and 3. we tend to use US websites instead of eBay if we want to shop local.
There are obviously more sellers out there that sell authentic designer items, but these are just the ones we follow. Don’t forget to make your research when buying a luxury piece and don’t forget to factor in VAT if you’re buying from abroad, as that can significantly increase the item’s price. See an article here from the US Customs.
Do you have any tips on scoring a good deal? We’d love to know!
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