In today’s installment of Closet Confessionals, we meet a first-time Birkin owner who recently snagged the bag of her dreams in the midst of the pandemic. This confessor understands how fortunate she was to be able to snag her Holy Grail, and thanks to a booming business plus a nice bonus, the bag of her dreams was a reality. A typically smart shopper, this collector did spend well above retail to get the Birkin she wanted from a reseller.
For the most part, this confessor is a smart shopper, choosing to purchase bags that are within the budget of cash savings that she puts aside, not her long-term investments. Though she is a true bag lover at her core, this collector understands the difference between want and need, and will only buy things after her other responsibilities are fulfilled. Read the full CC now and don’t forget to submit your own.
Gender Identity: Female
Occupation: Investment Banker
Industry: Financial Service
Household Income: $200,000
Are you a PurseForum member? Yes
How many bags do you own? 19
What bags are in your collection? From newest to oldest:
- Hermès Birkin 25 Noir Togo RGHW
- Hermès Lindy 26 Noir Clemence GHW
- Chanel Medium CF in 21S Rose Clair Pink LGHW
- Chanel Small Messenger 21S Light Pink
- Hermès Kelly Wallet To Go Rose Confetti Epsom PHW
- Celine Box Teen in Camel
- LV Pochette Metis
- Dior Book Tote in Houndstooth
- Celine Belt Micro in Light Taupe
- Prada Re-Edition Nylon Sling in Black
- Fendi Baguette in White
- Diorama Patent Leather in Metallic Rose Gold
- Fendi Peekaboo in Black GHW
- Chanel Medium CF in Black Caviar Leather
- LV Cluny BB
- YSL Shopping Tote Bag
- Longchamp Le Pliage in Black in 3 different sizes
How much is your collection worth? Probably $80k though I am not too sure since I bought all of my Hermès from resellers, my number might not be the actual price from the store.
What is your most expensive bag? Hermès B25 for sure. I paid close to 2.5x price in the US (I don’t even want to talk about the premium I paid vs. the price in France lol) from the reseller. I’m still not quite sure why I did that. Maybe a mixture of lockdown and work stress created this “f*** it, I deserved this” mentality.
Noir B25 with RGHW has always been on my top top top creme de la creme wishlist. And I genuinely thought I would get it only for my 35th or 40th birthday or something. I was very fortunate that business was thriving during the pandemic and I received a decent bonus at the beginning of this year to be able to fund the purchase.
What are the most important brands or pieces in your collection? By logic I probably should say the B25 because it’s the most expensive one, but I’m gonna say my Chanel CF black caviar is the most important piece in the collection. I bought B25 on a whim when I just happened to be in a better financial state. But with the Chanel CF purchase, it was a journey. It took a lot of patience and diligent savings and I’m not the most patient person in the world to begin with but in the end, it’s worth it (plus if you see what’s happening with Chanel price increases recently that sort of justifies me buying Chanel as early as I can).
What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? 21. I bought a Longchamp Le Pliage followed by a YSL shopping tote a couple of months later.
Is there a specific bag you are looking to purchase next? Rose Sakura Birkin 25 in Swift leather and GHW and/or Jaune Ambre Kelly 25 in Epsom leather and GHW (my bag collection is pretty boring: black, white, beige, pink maybe it’s time for something YELLOW).
Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? Longchamp Le Pliage, my first ever branded bag from my internship salary. It was a milestone of itself. I’ve always loved fashion and designer items. Everything I read from Vogue (I bought once or twice a year when I was in school) or saw from Devil Wears Prada (cheesy lol) but I didn’t come from a rich family, we are comfortable, though buying designer pieces is just never our thing. One time there was a Le Pliage craze in my high school that most of my girlfriends owned at least 1, but I didn’t. At that time I felt a slight peer pressure for not owning one but fortunately, no friend of mine shunned me because of that. When I finally landed an investment banking internship and had some money to spare, my brain went straight to the Le Pliage. It was 3-4 years late but I didn’t really care because it felt soooooo good and satisfying at the same time. I still have the bag (plus 2 more in different sizes for travel/business trips) and don’t plan to sell it ever.
Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated? I would lie if I said no. The treatment I received from strangers, hotel, restaurant, shop staff, are different when I’m with my Birkin vs. when I’m with my plain Muji canvas bag.
Have your bag-carrying habits changed since Covid? Not really.
How often do you buy new bags? It changes every now and then. I had one year where I didn’t buy new bags at all because I directed all of my savings on investment/trips. I had one year where I bought 7 new bags in a year.
Has the Coronavirus pandemic changed your shopping habits or overall attitude towards luxury? A little. I put aside more of my savings toward liquid investments which means a lower proportion for other spending.
Which stores do you frequent the most? Probably Chanel and I have a good relationship with my SA.
Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? No. But I think I should at some point because you can’t keep growing the collection with limited space but I am always reluctant to do this, as cheesy as it sounds there are always some memories attached to each bag.
Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? No. But I think I should at some point because you can’t keep growing the collection with limited space but I am always reluctant to do this, as cheesy as it sounds there are always some memories attached to each bag.
Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? Earlier in life? Yes, as I have elaborated earlier. Nowadays? No. I feel like I should actually stop buying new bags without rehoming some of the older/rarely used ones. I’m increasingly aware of the waste problem caused by excessive consumptive behavior.
Do you consider your bag purchases investments? Never. The price increase justifies why I should buy certain bags I want as early as I could but I truly don’t see buying them with the sole intention to sell later on at a higher price. I’m sticking to the usual investment vehicle.
Who influences your buying decisions? Myself but I would say watching someone on YouTube reviewing the bag kinda helps in my decision-making process. So maybe myself and YouTube influencers?
Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? I would think so, yes. Because I don’t have an SA relationship in Hermès and I am very very reluctant to build that relationship on the basis of buying stuff I don’t fancy, so I had to pay a premium from a reseller.
Why do you enjoy shopping, beyond just acquiring something new? My first English novel (I’m not a native English speaker) was not Harry Potter but it was Confessions of a Shopaholic (no kidding). The book has deeply influenced my teenage years. There’s this quote from the book that I love: “A man will never love you or treat you as well as a store. If a man doesn’t fit, you can’t exchange him seven days later for a gorgeous cashmere sweater. And a store always smells good. A store can awaken a lust for things you never even knew you needed. And when your fingers first grasp those shiny, new bags…”. S-O-T-R-U-E
Have you ever felt like you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity or gender? Not that I’m aware of.
Who pays for your bags? Me, myself, and I.
Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? When I have something in mind/top of my list, yes. But I never knowingly set aside a certain amount of my salary per month just exclusively for handbag purchases. It’s part of my savings pool which includes cash and long-term investments. Bag purchases should be taken from cash proportion only. That’s the only way I can be prudent and responsible in all of my shopping.
The Taboo Topics
Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? I lived in China for 2 years so yes, obviously. Not shy about this at all. Two times, 1) a City Balenciaga for work, that didn’t last long, unfortunately (the leather was peeling everywhere) probably because it was low-quality replica (ridiculously cheap so no wonder); 2) a Gucci Marmont as a request from a friend.
Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? Currently single so there’s no need for that. But even when I’m with someone, I never hide my purchases. I was lucky that all of my exes were very respectful to the fact that I earned what I owned.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to afford a bag? Is paying 2.5x more than the retail price a crazy thing?
Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? No. I believe I could still distinguish between ‘want’ and ‘need’. For me, handbags, shoes, etc are always ‘want’ no matter how desperately I want it. It means that I can and will only buy it when all the ‘needs’ and other responsibilities are fulfilled. I think I’m at peace at my own capabilities and pace in buying new handbags.
The Rest Of It
Any other expensive hobbies or passions? Precious gemstones. I collected precious gemstones at home. Actually, I bought more gems even before I started getting serious with my handbag purchases.