We can’t quite believe we’ve published 50 confessionals to date. Spanning many continents, differently sized collections, varying relationships towards bags and retail in general, there sure was a lot of reflection involved on the part of our loyal readership. Today’s submission comes to you from an engineer in Alberta who owns a massive and diverse collection of bags. She advises us not to sweat the small perceived defects in quality, with many consumers vocalizing their concerns over minor imperfections in their new accessories (and sharing their grievances on our forums). Enjoy and don’t forget to tell your own story using the questionnaire linked below:

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The Basics

Age: 31
Gender Identity: Female
Location: Alberta, Canada
Occupation: Engineer
Industry: Utility
Salary: $100,000
Household Income: $160,000

The Bags

Are you a PurseForum member? Yes

How many bags do you own? About 100… the ones that I can count, anyway!

What bags are in your collection?

My original love started with LV, and I have about 20 LV bags including smaller pochettes and shoulder baguette-style bags that were more popular in the 90’s and 2000’s. My favourite LV bags are currently the nanos – they are so adorable and fit everything I need!

I own a few Chanels (favourite: Chanel large vanity case), as well as a few vintage Dior bags that my mom passed down to me. My dad used to be an accountant for Dior in Asia, and gifted my mom a few of these bags!

Apparently my mom was a bag collector (yes, collecting – she never actually used them!) when she was younger… I didn’t find this out until she left me a huge bag of vintage bags one day when I was picking up a couple of bags I’d lent to her – there were Mulberry bags, more Dior bags and a Nina Ricci!

I have a single YSL bag, the black/white bi-color Lulu, that I searched high and low for, and found from an Instagram seller from Russia, of all places!

The balance of my collection is made up of a mix of contemporary designers like Coach, Kate Spade , Marc Jacobs, Tory Burch, Rebecca Minkoff, as well as lesser-known brands like this Thai brand called Aristotle, and unbranded handmade bags from Etsy!

How much is your collection worth? I haven’t been selling/buying in the second hand market as I used to, so I’m a little out of the loop with my pricing, but I’d estimate anywhere from $40,000 to $50,000 in the resale market!

What is your most expensive bag? The Chanel large vanity case. When I first got into bags, a medium/large flap was just ~$2,000 CAD. I remember this number because I was torn between buying the $2,000 flap or the $1,875 GST (Grand Shopping Tote – I still have the receipt!). I ultimately went with the GST because it suited my lifestyle better.

The retail of the vanity case was well over $5,000 CAD when I bought it. It will likely remain my most expensive designer purchase ever!

What are the most important brands or pieces in your collection? These are ultimately still things, and no piece is really that “important”!

But my favourites would have to be my Louis Vuitton nano bags – they are just so darn cute! And for Chanel, my black caviar M/L flap with silver hardware since it’s a classic, as well as the Vanity Case just discussed in the last question, as it’s just such an amazing style.

What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? I was 18 and just got my first credit card. My first designer bag was a Louis Vuitton pink cherry blossom pochette. I still have this bag today and could never let it go because it was my first.

Is there a specific bag you are looking to purchase next? Not at this time. I’ve been collecting LV Nanos for the last few months, so that’s enough spending for now. My most recent purchase was the Marc Jacobs Box 20 bag… I absolutely love bags that are lunchbox style!

Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? Any of the bags that my mom has given me… it is amazing that she’s held onto these for so long. I would likely never sell any them because someday, I’d like to pass it on to my child/children!

I also have a few pieces in my collection that remind me of a special time of my life. An LV Mini Lin speedy from family in Asia, LV Azur Speedy to mark the completion of a very difficult year in University, Chanel red patent camellia WOC to celebrate my graduation, and the Chanel Vanity case as a gift from me, for me, for my 30th birthday!

Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated? Not really. I think there are other things about me besides the bag I’m carrying that stand out more. Besides, I live in (in Canadian terms, anyway!) a fairly large city so many other people carry designer items.

The Shopping

How often do you buy new bags? There’s no set schedule. I usually buy whenever I see something I like and it makes sense financially. Sometimes I’ll acquire a few bags in a short period of time, and other times I’ll get distracted by other things (like house-hunting and saving for a trip) and go on a break for a few months.

Which stores do you frequent the most? I don’t do a lot of bag shopping in person anymore. I have bought a few brand new LV’s this year, so LV is my most frequented store this year. I also like to walk around Nordstrom and The Bay (Canadian department store) for contemporary designers, and Kate Spade is probably my favourite brand overall for bags, clothes AND shoes so I tend to go there quite a bit!

Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? Yes! Buying pre-loved is a great way to get bags for a reduced price. I also keep going back to some of LV’s older designs (pre-2010) and pre-loved allows me to get those bags that are long discontinued. I’ve had lots of luck buying on eBay, and the rise of Instagram selling has increased my options. It was hard to find pre-loved sellers in Canada in the past, but we’ve gotten a lot more choices over the last few years!

Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? Definitely. Because I have so many, I really need to make room whenever I make a new purchase. Also, a bag sitting in a closet is wasted – it should go to a deserving home! I usually sell my more expensive items on my own either on online communities, eBay or Bonanza (does anyone even USE Bonanza anymore?) and my less expensive items are taken to a local consignment store. Recently I started using a local consignment based on Instagram for my more expensive items…I’ve been quite pleased with the turnaround and consignment rate!

Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? Definitely not. I do NOT keep up with trends… in fact, I find I’m often too late to buy a bag that I just saw on YouTube or Instagram of whatever, only to find it’s been long discontinued!

Do you consider your bag purchases investments? Not really. Just like cars, with a few exceptions, they lose a lot of their value once you use them. I’ve been lucky in that some of my bags have sold for more than the purchase price (due to price increases), but I would never buy a bag solely for investment purposes. Enjoy them, and let them go when it’s time!

Who influences your buying decisions? No one but myself usually, but TPF is full of enablers! ;)

Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? Not really. I’ve had a few great SA’s in the past, but they’ve all since moved on or away to other cities. I bug whatever SA is willing to be bugged, and if they don’t respond to my texts or calls, I move on or try to buy the item online! Many of my recent rare item purchases was due to constant stalking of the LV site!

Why do you enjoy shopping, beyond just acquiring something new? Whenever I buy an item online, it’s something small I can look forward to which will brighten my day, week, month, etc. in between major milestones. I do tend to have quite a few of these “small celebrations” though, so I really have to control myself!

Have you ever felt like you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity or gender? Oh gosh, have I ever.

I was treated quite poorly when I was much younger and new to the designer world at 18. Back then, most designer brands were only purchasable from Holt Renfrew, a Canadian designer “department” store. I’ve encountered many SA’s who were rude, dismissive, and just didn’t provide great service. I found a few great SA’s and did my buying with them mostly to avoid the other associates who didn’t want my business. Nowadays, I feel like I get poor service just because many of the designer SA’s lack proper training to provide good customer service. Often, I find that contemporary designers like Coach and Kate Spade in my city provide better service than Louis Vuitton or Chanel!

The Money

Who pays for your bags? Me! Sometimes, I’m lucky enough to be gifted a bag from my loving husband. For luxury purchases, I feel like I should be the one bearing the financial burden!

Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? Nope, but maybe I should!

The Taboo Topics

Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? I don’t believe so. I’ve purchased counterfeit before, but that’s because I wasn’t aware it was counterfeit. I’m much more careful now and having been an LV fan for over 13 years, I can quite easily tell if something is fake.

Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? I wouldn’t call it “hiding”…more of a “gradual introduction”…like introducing a new kitty to resident cats in the household LOL!

What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to afford a bag? My first job was a busser (and later, a hostess) at a restaurant. We used to get a cash tip out at the end of the night based on the restaurant’s sales that shift. Back then, I wrote down EVERY. TIP. on this little notebook I kept, and stuffed all the cash in a big envelope.

Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? There have certainly been times when I realized I’ve overspent, but never to the point where I considered myself as having an addiction to shopping. When there are more important priorities, like buying a new house, I can curb my unnecessary spending down to nothing. I hope that anyone who feels like they may have a shopping addiction will talk to someone who they trust, and seek help if needed because I know it could happen to any one of us!

The Rest Of It

Any other expensive hobbies or passions? Like many others my age, I love to travel! I also love to cook, which becomes expensive when there are fancy/uncommon ingredients to buy. I have quite a Le Creuset cookware collection that I absolutely adore as well but it certainly isn’t as expensive of a hobby as my bag collecting hobby!

Anything else you would like to include? ENJOY your bags and don’t be so hung up on the little flaw or defect, because no one will notice but you! These are meant to be loved and enjoyed, so USE THEM!

P.S. Please consider supporting our small, bag-loving team by clicking our links before shopping or checking out at your favorite online retailers like Amazon, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, or any of the listed partners on our shop page. We truly appreciate your support!

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