In today’s installment of Closet Confessionals we meet a young 20-something whose love for Louis Vuitton largely began due to her grandmother’s loyalty to the brand. Like many handbag lovers, her collection began when her grandmother gifted her a Speedy 25 for her 16th birthday. Though she loves her designer bags her job in healthcare only allows her to really take out her bags during her off time. She’s practical about what she buys and tends to make purchases when traveling. She doesn’t shy away from purchasing bags second-hand and gets enjoyment from thrifting. Read the full confessional below!

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The Basics

Age: 27
Gender Identity: Female
Location: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Occupation: Administrative Coordinator
Industry: Healthcare
Salary: $52,650.00
Household Income: $122,000.00

The Bags

Are you a PurseForum member? Yes

How many bags do you own? 12

What bags are in your collection?

Louis Vuitton Speedy 25 Monogram Canvas
Louis Vuitton Neverfull MM Monogram Canvas
Louis Vuitton Trocadero 27 Monogram Canvas
Longchamp Le Pliage Neo Tote Bag
Moschino Vintage Nylon Crossbody Bag
Louis Vuitton Toiletry 26 Monogram Canvas (I use it as a bag)
Longchamp Le Pliage Expandable Travel Duffel Nylon Weekender
Chanel Clutch with Chain in Iridescent Caviar Leather
Louis Vuitton Pochette Accessoires Monogram Canvas
Louis Vuitton Alma BB Damier Ebene
Burberry Buckleigh Tote
Louis Vuitton City Steamer Cabas XXL in Catogram

How much is your collection worth? Retail: I think $14,670

What is your most expensive bag? My Catogram collection Louis Vuitton City Steamer Cabas XXL ($4,000)

What are the most important brands or pieces in your collection? As you can probably tell, Louis Vuitton. My grandmother was a big fan and very loyal to the brand. Her influence definitely rubbed off on me.

What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? My grandmother gifted me my Louis Vuitton Speedy 25 for my 16th birthday. I was too scared to use it because I knew it was valuable (it retailed for $640 at the time), so it sat tucked away in its dust bag for a couple years. I slowly became more comfortable using it once I was an adult.

Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? Aside from the Speedy she gifted me, I also inherited my grandmother’s LV Trocadero 27 that she carried for at least 15 years. It’s well loved but still looks incredible, like most vintage LV bags. I don’t use it much but it sits on display in my closet, every time I look at it I think of her.

Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated? Personally, no, I don’t think they do. I carry my bags for my personal enjoyment, not to make any sort of impression on friends or strangers. 99% of the time my friends and peers don’t know where my bags are from or what they’re worth, I prefer it that way.
I don’t use my flashy bags at work because I work in public healthcare and I don’t find it very appropriate (unfortunately theft is also very common in hospitals). I bought my brown and black Burberry Buckleigh tote from an outlet specifically to use as a low key work bag in the hospital.
When I used to work in investment banking in the city, carrying a designer bag was just the norm, no one would notice or care even if they knew it was a pricey bag.

The Shopping

How often do you buy new bags? I don’t plan it out but usually once or twice a year. I tend to buy a bag while I’m travelling because the deals can be much better in other countries. Sales tax in Ontario can cost as much as buying a second bag or SLG in some cases.

Which stores do you frequent the most? I frequent thrift stores and outlet malls the most, but for my bags, Louis Vuitton. Shopping in designer stores can be intimidating to me so I tend to do all my research and browsing online before going to see what caught my interest in person.

Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? Yes, I bought my vintage Louis Vuitton Pochette Accessoires while I was in Tokyo last year from the RagTag in Harajuku. The store also had a few second-hand LV straps, once of which was the perfect size to accompany the bag as a cross body strap so I had to get that too.
Usually second-hand bags from consignment sites/stores scare me because they’re still very expensive and the counterfeit market has become so good at producing high quality fakes. In most cases I would prefer to wait and save up more so that I can buy brand new from the store.

Thrifting is different though because they never cost more than $15. I’ve thrifted a number of authentic vintage bags over the years (Fendi, Gucci, Bally, Bottega Veneta, Dior, Moschino). 99% of the time I pay to have them authenticated and then re-sell them.

Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? I sell everything in my closet once I’m done with it but it’s not necessarily to fund anything specific. When it comes to bags and SLGs I try not to have too many similar items in my closet. For example, when I decided I wanted my Chanel double zip clutch with chain, I decided to sell my Prada WOC. I’m also debating selling my LV Neverfull MM since I bought the LV City Steamer Cabas XXL. In the past I’ve used eBay, Depop, and Eivey to sell my stuff.

Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? Thankfully not anymore! I’ve become much more practical with my shopping. There’s so many gorgeous trendy bags out there (especially on social media) that I can appreciate on others but I know wouldn’t work for me. In a weird way, I know I can’t afford to just keep up with the latest trends, I need to be more discerning in what I choose to spend my money on. This means investing in more classic brands and styles that I love, but that also retain their value well.

Do you consider your bag purchases investments? Yes, I love that my bags retain value. I feel like it would be a waste to spend so much money on them if they didn’t. I take comfort in the fact that I could always sell them if I ever desperately needed the money. The retail price increases are painful for shoppers but beneficial to sellers.
When I sold my Prada WOC in 2018, it sold for the same amount I paid for it retail in 2013 after 5 years of constant use. Then there’s the limited collections that increase in value even when they’re second-hand. The Catogram City Steamer I just bought is selling for $2K more on the second-hand market than the retail price I paid. That blows my mind.

Who influences your buying decisions? Me! I like to be as practical as possible when buying designer bags. I have a list of criteria I like to consider:

1) Easy to use – I don’t like fussing with flap bags as much as I love the look of them. I also prefer bags that I can use hands free, like crossbody bags.

2) Comfortable – I have scoliosis, so a lighter weight crossbody bag is ideal for me.

3) Somewhat theft proof – I avoid open bags unless they’re totes. I love anything with a zipper, this is especially important to me when I’m traveling.

4) Durability – I don’t like to baby my bags, when it comes to materials, I lean towards canvas over delicate soft leathers.

5) Resale value – I think Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and if I’m ever fortunate enough, Hermes, will be the only brands I buy at retail in the future.

Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? Absolutely not. I can really only speak for Louis Vuitton and one time at Chanel but I have never once used the same SA or routinely shopped in the same store, and I’ve received excellent service every time. I’ve had SAs offer me items that have long wait lists without me being on the wait list (when LV did wait lists, I don’t think they do anymore?). This is how I scored my Toiletry 26 and Mini Pochette. I just happened to walk into the right store at the right time. When I wanted my Chanel double zip clutch, the SA who picked up my call to the store’s phone offered to have the only one left in Canada sent from another store across the country for me to have a look at without any obligation to buy.

I’ve had a number of them give me their cell numbers but I have yet to actually message them for anything.

Why do you enjoy shopping, beyond just acquiring something new? For me, I love the thrill of the hunt. Whether it’s hunting for a good deal at an outlet mall or a designer treasure in a thrift store. I get a major sense of satisfaction anytime I save more than I’m spending. I guess you could say it’s therapeutic. It’s also mind boggling to see what kind of stuff ends up in thrift stores. I’ve thrifted everything from a brand new DVF wrap top, to a pair of Hermes wool pants, both authentic and cost me $15.

I understand my shopping for designer bags doesn’t work like this but I’m happy pairing a $1-4k handbag with a $5 top and $10 pants.

Have you ever felt like you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity or gender? I have not, in general I’ve always received good service. The worst service I’ve had is no one approaching me when the store is busy but sometimes I prefer that if I’m just browsing around.

I have been told by everyone and their mother since I was born that I’m ethnically ambiguous, if I had a dollar for every time I’ve been asked “where I’m from”, I’d have enough for a Birkin. I’m young(ish), a very casual dresser, and covered in tattoos but I don’t think this has ever affected the way people treat me when I’m shopping.

The Money

Who pays for your bags? With the exception of the 2 bags from my grandmother, me and my inheritance from my grandparents on the other side of my family.

To be clear, I don’t come from a wealthy family. My grandparents on one side had the benefit of buying real estate in Toronto and Hong Kong back in the 1970s, and I don’t think I need to explain what happened to those properties’ values when they were sold in 2018/19. The bulk of my inheritance was used towards my home and my investment property, the rest I have set aside for vacations, a future baby savings fund, and…okay maybe a bag or two.

Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases Not specifically, although this is definitely something I should do in the future. We have a trip tentatively planned to Europe at the end of 2019 and I’m considering setting aside some money for a Chanel or Hermes piece while we’re there.

The Taboo Topics

Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? When I was 12 I didn’t fully understand the implications of the counterfeit market. I grew up traveling to Malaysia a lot as a child and there is a massive market for counterfeit designer items there. I did buy them when I was a kid but I would NEVER do that now. My parents never seemed to care but I know I won’t be allowing my future kids to do that.

Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? Never, my husband is involved in every purchase I make, he usually comes shopping with me. I love to get his opinion and make sure he’s aware of what I’m planning on buying.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to afford a bag? Nothing crazy, aside from selling old stuff? I once thrifted a very rare vintage Polo Ralph Lauren sweater for $11 (but I had a Value Village gift card so it cost me nothing out of pocket) and then I sold it for $700 on eBay(!!!). This was right before I purchased my Chanel so I guess you could say I sold that sweater to help cover the cost of that clutch.

Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? I absolutely did when I was younger. I was literally addicted to finding good deals and not only did I have to find them, but I felt like I NEEDED to buy whatever it was. It got to the point where I was accumulating so much stuff that I barely liked and was never going to use (this is partly due to my parents’ influence, they’re mild hoarders).
Eventually I snapped, it’s a terrible feeling when you live with clutter. I started selling and donating everything I could. Now we do a closet clean out every month and it’s the best feeling, whether we sell stuff on eBay or donate it back to a thrift store. I’ve gotten my spending/shopping a lot more under control. Nowadays it’s all about quality over quantity.

The Rest Of It

Any other expensive hobbies or passions? Tattoos, traveling, restaurants, and pets! None of which are cheap but always worth it!

Anything else you would like to include? I absolutely love reading these confessionals, keep them coming!
And for anyone who hasn’t tried it before, don’t sleep on thrift stores! There’s SO many goodies to be found!

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