When it comes to our bag collections, most of us have more bags than we can use and we simply don’t switch them out enough. This week’s confessor realized just that – that even owning 18 bags means if she switched each bag throughout the year each bag would only get 2.5-3 weeks of use. In addition, this project manager from California only collects Burberry and Louis Vuitton and has no desire to ‘move up’ and collect more premiere designer brands. Take a look at this week’s confessional below!
Gender Identity: Female
Location: Camarillo, CA
Occupation: Project Manager
Industry: Service Engineering
Household Income: $340,000
Are you a PurseForum member? Yes.
How many bags do you own? 18
How much is your collection worth? $35,000
What is your most expensive bag? My Louis Vuitton Kimono. I fell in love with that bag the first time I saw it, and bought it somewhat impulsively when I walked into the boutique. The original intention was “just to look”, but of course I should have known better how that was going to go!
What are the most important brands or pieces in your collection? My collection is comprised mostly of Louis Vuitton and Burberry. I am not interested in “moving up” to Chanel or Hermes anytime soon, I am happy with the quality and designs offered by my favorite brands.
What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? It’s hard to remember and my answer is a little overly complicated! I had been carrying Coach since my college days, and then moved onto mostly Kate Spade when I was around 28. I had purchased a few Burberry bags in my 20s from the Burberry outlet, and bought a preloved Burberry handbag from a consignment store in San Diego when I was 26. This was probably the first bag that I remember thinking was “fancy”. I bought my first Louis Vuitton preloved when I was 32, and it was a Louis Vuitton Speedy 30 Bandouliere in Empriente.
Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? I really wanted to obtain a Louis Vuitton Mirage Speedy once I began to get interested in luxury handbags. I kept seeing them pop up on preloved sites but never pulled the trigger. Before Christmas 2015 I saw one come up for sale in good condition, but it was purchased quickly and I missed out. A few weeks later another one popped up for sale and I excitedly showed it to my husband. He is normally very supportive of my purchases, but was acting a little odd when I asked him if he thought I should get it. After a few minutes he left the room and came back in with a large box. It was my Christmas gift which he insisted I open right away.
Inside was the Mirage Speedy that had come up for sale a few weeks prior! So it was my husband that snapped up the one I was eyeing! It was a great gift and I adore the bag, and love that he listened to my purse rambling and tracked down one of the Mirages for me!
Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated? No, at least for where I live and work. Most people in my local area aren’t really interested in or are aware of high end brands. It’s rare to see another person with an expensive bag, although I know a few women who love to rock Louis Vuitton as well, so I have a few handbag kindred spirits here.
At my place of work, the employees are mostly male, and most of them wouldn’t recognize a designer handbag anyways. I always feel comfortable bringing my bags to work since it’s not seen as bragging, it’s just a bag to carry stuff in, as far as my colleagues are concerned.
On a different note – I do think that in some areas a nice bag can change how I’m treated. If I go shopping in Beverly Hills, or any place where there is more interest in luxury, I think I am treated differently. But in my day-to-day life – no change!
How often do you buy new bags? I have a bad habit of diving in head first when I approach a new hobby. Since high school I have appreciated the idea of a good quality handbag and loved looking at them – but never even considered moving past contemporary designers. Once I started getting interested in the higher end brands in my early 30s, I accumulated a lot of bags in a very short period of time. Most of my collection was bought in a two year period.
In 2018 I realized that I needed to slow down. One of my bags has only been worn once, and a few others for just a few weeks each. If I wear each of my bags equally throughout the year, I would be using each one for 2.5-3 weeks a year. That’s just too little use for what I am paying for the bags! So in 2018 I only purchased two bags (both on sale at Burberry), and am planning on one Louis Vuitton purchase for 2019. But overall – maybe 1-2 bags a year from here on out.
Which stores do you frequent the most? The Burberry boutique in Topanga Canyon and a Louis Vuitton boutique in Beverly Hills.
Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? I have bought second hand before. Six of my bags are preloved and were purchased from Potero, The RealReal, Fashionphile, and Yoogi’s Closet. All of them were authenticated through an authentication service after I acquired the bag. I am too scared of eBay to purchase there!
Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? No. I have not sold any of my bags or SLGs that I have acquired. I am considering it for the future, especially since I have some bags that are rarely used, and I have some SLGs that have never been used. This is all lessons learned from buying too much too fast. I might actually sell some a few years from now, but I don’t feel the need right now.
Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? No. Since there’s not a lot of interest in luxury brands in my area, I don’t feel the need to fit in or keep up with the Joneses. I am aware of bag trends, but don’t feel the need to follow them unless I truly enjoy the trend. Even when I was buying more frequently before – that was more from my compulsion to acquire, acquire, acquire (I don’t start anything gradually ever!). I did get some bags that were reviewed by YouTubers, so there was some influence there. But I still love all those bags I bought. It was more that the YouTuber exposed me to a product that I was inclined to already like, rather than buying something because I like that YouTuber or wanted to be like them.
Do you consider your bag purchases investments? Not at all. All of my bags have depreciated in value since my purchase. However, I do appreciate the fact that my bags still have some value. I have gotten interested in different hobbies throughout my life, and for a while I was buying quite a bit of a product that lost all value in about a year’s time. So at one point I added up what I had spent and realized that it was all a loss, except for the enjoyment I got from the product when I used it. But I accumulated so much that I was never going to get through it all. I realized, with handbags, that when I put my money towards them that they would retain at least some value, which was comforting. That was one of the reasons I got interested in luxury.
Who influences your buying decisions? It might by my husband. Most of the time I will hear about a bag either through YouTube or TPF, research it, and go buy it if I still want it. I will always ask my husband if he’s okay with me buying something, and he always is supportive. But sometimes I can tell he REALLY like a bag, which makes me more inclined to purchase it. When I bought the Louis Vuitton Kimono, I could tell he really liked the bag and his interest made me more inclined to buy it that day. He is very fond of the Louis Vuitton Steamer bag, which I also like, and will likely be adding that to my collection in the future.
Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? Yes. I have a great Sales Associate at Louis Vuitton who I have worked with for a few years, and I always go to her for everything! I used to have a wonderful Sales Associate at Burberry, but she moved on to a different job a few years ago. It is telling how that relationship can make a difference, because I have purchased much less from Burberry since she left. I will text or email my Sales Associates occasionally, maybe a holiday greeting or a general How are Ya, but most of the communication is initiated due to a purchase.
Why do you enjoy shopping, beyond just acquiring something new? I absolutely have some form of shopping addiction, and I am a big believer in retail therapy. I also tend to make purchases for some type of event of milestone, such as a promotion at work. Luckily, my finances have been able to support my frequent shopping, of which I am grateful for. If I was not able to afford my purchases, I would like to think I would be able to stop.
Have you ever felt like you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity or gender? Definitely not due to ethnicity or gender, at least in my experience. As far as appearance, if I’m going shopping somewhere nice I normally try to bring one of my nicer handbags with me. Once my husband and I spent a morning walking around Santa Monica pier and were wearing casual clothes and beat up sneakers. My husband had grabbed a Harry Potter T Shirt (and he doesn’t even really like Harry Potter, it was one of my large pajama shirts), and was wearing that around the pier. We decided to make an impromptu stop at the Louis Vuitton boutique in Beverly Hills to see my SA and “take a look” at a bag. Of course, I impulsively bought it (Kabuki Neverfull). So there’s my husband, walking around Louis Vuitton in a tattered Harry Potter shirt, which kind of cracked me up. But since we were working with my normal SA, we weren’t treated any differently, and everyone else was very nice to us as well. Then we walked down Rodeo Drive and stopped in some of the boutiques there, all while he was rocking the Harry Potter T shirt. And I wasn’t looking good either in my T shirt and sneakers. We weren’t treated any differently in any of the boutiques, but that may have been because we were carrying our Louis Vuitton purchase. Harry Potter and Louis Vuitton. Now there’s a collaboration, LOL!
Who pays for your bags? Both my husband and I. We both work and we treat our money as going into “one pot” of money. I know there are some couples that keep separate accounts and track purchases made by each partner – but we just don’t do that.
Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? I have not in the past. Due to a few new recurring expenses I am expecting this year, I am going to try to budget for extraneous purchases – anything extra that I want to buy for fun. This will include makeup, candles, clothing I like but don’t really need, etc. So if I want a bag, I will need to budget my Sephora and Amazon shopping to set aside for a bag. I like the idea of a budget – I’m just hoping I can stick with it! Right now I am looking to set aside about $1500/month for these types of purchases.
The Taboo Topics
Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? No. I am not interested in purchasing anything that is counterfeit or even the “inspired” bags. I did have a fake Kate Spade that I bought in high school while on a family vacation in Italy. I got it for around $15.00. At the time I didn’t even know what Kate Spade was, but I loved that little colorful striped bag!
Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? Not at all. He is very supportive of my purchasing (sometimes too supportive!). Oftentimes I am on the fence about a bag and he pushes me towards buying it.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to afford a bag? Nothing really crazy. I work hard, have a good job, and am fortunate enough to be in a good financial situation, so I have the funds on hand when I make a purchase.
Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? YES. Shopping is a problem for me. It started small when I was in elementary school. I would love to go to Pick n’ Save and buy Care Bear keychains or some cool pencils at a buck each with the allowance I got from doing my chores. Then I started “collecting” things like Beanie Babies, Pogs, and Archie Comics in middle school and high school.
As I have gotten older my tastes have unfortunately become more and more expensive, and my need to “collect” has always gone hand in hand with my shopping addiction. I wish that I could scratch that shopping itch with a $1.00 key chain now – life would be so much more manageable! Luckily I know where to draw the line – don’t buy anything that I don’t have funds for at the moment. That’s a line I am careful not to cross, and is the only hard limit on my shopping habits.
The Rest Of It
Any other expensive hobbies or passions? I enjoyed buying art for a period of time. Nothing crazy expensive, but now I am out of wall space in our house so I can’t accumulate any more pieces. I used to also “collect” jewelry from my travels when I was in my 20s, but I haven’t made an expensive jewelry purchase in awhile. Depending on your definition of “expensive”, most of my and my husband’s extra time is spent playing Pokémon Go (yes, that game is still very popular!) and we probably put a few thousand into the game each year.
Anything else you would like to include? Thank you for reading this. I know that I am fortunate in my life to have acquired some beautiful items and am very thankful for being in a position that I was able to do so without going into debt. I hope my little story is interesting to some of you out there, it was fun to write!