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In today’s installment of closet confessionals we meet a mid-thirties marketing professional who believes in the power of working hard and budgeting harder for what you want! Though this confessor loves luxury bags like the rest of us, she’s not a huge shopper and believes in shopping for quality not quantity. Her attitude towards saving for bags is incredibly admirable and she shares her wisdom and fool-proof formula of saving for everything else first and your bags last. This confessor believes in purchasing bags to celebrate milestones or while on a trip, and many pieces in her collection are tied to special memories in her life. While Chanel is one of her go-to brands, currently she’s saving for her first Birkin bag and has chosen to go the pre-loved route as she’s got her bag-loving heart set on a specific one. Read the full CC below and don’t forget to submit your own.

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The Basics

Age: 36
Gender Identity: Female
Location: San Francisco Bay Area, California
Occupation: Director of Marketing
Industry: Real Estate and Investment Management
Salary: $215,000
Household Income: $465,000

The Bags

Are you a PurseForum member? No

How many bags do you own? 20

What bags are in your collection?

I have recently “cleaned out” my closet and sold bags that I no longer use. I “curated” my collection to keep it minimal and I always think in terms of cost per wear and long-term “investment” value.

As for the contemporary brands:
I use Everlane totes for work and avoid wearing designer bags to work. I have their totes in neutral colors such as beige, black and merlot. I also own a Mansur Gavriel bucket bag flamma in the Medium size but I don’t really use it as much. I have a few Kate Spade bags I use to travel and a Longchamp le pilage medium bag that I use as a diaper bag for my baby girl. I have a couple of Furla bags as well.

I save and budget for my designer bag purchases every year. My favorite is Chanel but currently, I am saving up for my first Hermès Birkin bag in 35 cm. I will go preloved since I have a specific color and hardware I am looking for.

My current designer bag collection is as follows:

– Chanel M/L classic flap in caviar leather with gold hardware
– Vintage small beige classic flap (single flap)
– Vintage vertical jumbo (with 24 carat gold hardware!)
– Vintage small red classic flap (single flap)
– Mini Coco Handle in chevron SO BLACK (my latest edition!)
– Louis Vuitton mini pochette in damier azur
– Louis Vuitton accessories in damier ebene
– Louis Vuitton keepall bandoulier 45 in monogram
– Louis Vuitton vintage Alzer 70 trunk
– Louis Vuitton Speedy 30
– Chanel vintage clutch bag

How much is your collection worth? Around $38,000

What is your most expensive bag? I would say the most expensive bag is my Chanel M/L classic flap which I got at the Rue Cambon store in Paris after graduating from business school. Actually, it was a gift from my husband. The Louis Vuitton Alzer 70 currently retails for more than $10,000 USD but since mine was vintage, I got it for less than that.

What are the most important brands or pieces in your collection? Chanel M/L classic flap is meaningful because a) it was my first Chanel bag and b) it was a gift from my husband during our first Paris trip together after I got my M.B.A. so it was a nice way to celebrate a big milestone together.

Chanel mini coco top handle so black in chevron is also special because it was also a gift from my husband after I reached another milestone for my health.

I would say I also love my vintage LV trunk because I had always wanted to use it as a decoration piece in my closet. I’ve traveled internationally with my bags and have such unique, fun memories attached to them. I also have bought SLGs at Chanel boutiques around the world to remember each international trip.

Currently, I am on my Hermès journey and hope to add the Birkin bag to my collection.

What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? I am not sure if Coach counts as one but I got my first Coach bag in college and was obsessed about it for a few years. If that doesn’t count, the first real designer bag was my Louis Vuitton Speedy 30 that my mom bought for me when I got my first real job after college. We got it at the LV store on Rodeo Drive (lol!)

Is there a specific bag you are looking to purchase next? YES! I have decided to add a Birkin 35 to my collection. For the longest time, I thought I wanted a Kelly bag but I think that can wait and would love to add a vintage Kelly. After much consideration and research, I think a Birkin bag will be a great addition. It’s a great work tote and the craftsmanship is second to none not to mention the brand history and so forth. I am definitely looking to go preloved because I have decided on the color, type of leather and hardware and don’t want to wait until I am “offered” exactly what I want. In the meantime, I will still shop for scarves, jewelry and shoes at Hermes but I don’t want to compromise on what I want for my Birkin bag.

Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? As mentioned above, it’s my Chanel M/L classic bag and Chanel mini coco top handle. They symbolize major milestones achieved so far.

Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated? Yes and no. I do not carry designer bags to work or talk about them because people assume you love brands and logos just because. I study the history of these brands and truly appreciate what they offer. I love Chanel bags because I love the way they look and also they are super durable (have not had any issues that others have lately). I also budget, save and invest and do not go into debt for these. I think people get the wrong idea that you are “superficial” or “showing off” or “aren’t good with money” but for me, that’s far from the truth. I own real estate, invest in stock and save and budget. I build my designer bag funds to save up for what I want. I do research by watching Youtube videos and reading Purseforum posts and everything. Nothing is impulsive for me. It’s usually months of saving and researching.

With that being said, I would definitely say avoid carrying designer bags to work because they do have an impact on how you are treated. Even if you are the head of the department or a partner in a firm, it may not be good for the team morale and/or could give off the wrong impressions. It’s unfortunate but people do judge for the wrong reasons.

The Shopping

How often do you buy new bags? I try to do it once a year but in the last 3-4 years, I would say I bought 2-3 bags per year. However, moving forward, I would like to do that once a year or once every 2-3 years especially after I buy my Birkin.

Which stores do you frequent the most? Chanel, all the way.

Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? Absolutely! I love Fashionphile and Yoogi’s Closet! They are my go-to!

Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? Not to pay for new purchases but to clean up – I’ve sold my Marc Jacobs bags, Prada and Kate Spade before.

Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? Not at all. I buy them because I love them and I want them for myself. I don’t buy for others or to impress others. Quite frankly, no one around me is into designer bags anyways so I tend not to talk about them at all. I also always think about cost per wear and opt for classics. I avoid trendy pieces and buy classic pieces I can wear for many years to come and ones I can possibly hand down to my daughter. Classics always win in my book!

I don’t follow trends. I am at a point in my life where I think about long-term value of things and not what’s “hot” or “trendy” at the moment.

Do you consider your bag purchases investments? Yes. I know they are different from real estate investing or stock and so forth, but they are investments in a way that I may put a lot of money into one item BUT I can use it for many years to come while the value of the bags go up. I may buy something for $5,000 today and use it for next 5-10 years and by that time, it would be more than double, given the price increase trend. I know that if I need money immediately, I can always sell one of my designer bags. This is a topic that’s a bit controversial and people have strong opinions but honestly, I always think about cost per wear and how long I will have it and what it will be worth at the end of that so for me, it’s an investment.

Who influences your buying decisions? YouTube! haha I love Minks4all, Sophie Shohet and Cassie Thorpe! They are so informative, cool and real! I also always look at PurseForum boards to get people’s opinions! I love bag chat groups on Facebook as well. I tend to narrow down my choices to 2-3 and then ask for opinions.

Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? I didn’t think so before because I was always buying in European countries but I would say as I started shopping more in the States, SA relationships are important because they definitely have helped me to track the bags I want! Right now, I am building relationships with Chanel and Hermès SAs.

Why do you enjoy shopping, beyond just acquiring something new? I usually have a major milestone attached to my purchase so it’s a celebration and a symbol of a major accomplishment. I don’t really shop much, to be honest. I believe in buying less but better.

Have you ever felt like you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity or gender? I have not. To be honest, I’ve always had positive experiences at all the boutiques I’ve been to around the world. I just smile and am extra polite to the SAs and I noticed their attitude changes when I am clear about what I want because I am there not just to browse but also to purchase. I don’t think they can be rude to a smiling customer who also treats them with respect and common courtesy. I’ve always had pleasant experiences.

The Money

Who pays for your bags? Mostly, my husband haha 🙂 He’s a keeper. But I also saved and bought some of them myself.

Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? 100% Absolutely. This is important. I have my “luxury fund” where I put in $$ every month when I know what bag I want to add next to my collection. DO NOT GO INTO DEBT buying designer bags. You should save money only after all your essentials are paid for PLUS investing/saving and everything. I try to set aside $500-1,000/month.

The Taboo Topics

Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? Nope. I hate fake bags. If I can’t afford them, I don’t buy them. I also don’t buy these bags to show off or make a statement. They are for me to enjoy, love and care for. I could honestly care less about what people think.

Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? Nope. We share our finances and are transparent about everything we bring in and buy.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to afford a bag? Hmmm, I would say right now I am not shopping at all and doing my own “no buy” challenge and putting extra money into my Birkin fund.

Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? I would say I have had times where I was buying a lot just for the sake of it or because things were on sale and usually that’s when I am extra stressed about things. However, as I got older, I got that under control because I have more financial responsibilities and need to save for the future for the family and all.

The Rest Of It

Any other expensive hobbies or passions? Honestly, buying and collecting designer bags is my most expensive hobby and my true passion.

Anything else you would like to include? I love this community of fellow luxury bag addicts with no judgment and I see people being truly happy for each other so I love that. I would say, always try to save up for your next bag and do NOT fall into trendy pieces. Instead of buying a mediocre bag for $1,000-$2,000, save that for a classic from Chanel or Hermès. You will wear them for many, MANY years to come.

Also, it’s good to know your audience and avoid talking about these in a professional setting to keep the focus on your work and your accomplishments.

Try to save for a big purchase for a major milestone or buy them in countries you travel to – that makes them that much special!!!

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