Many confessionals have relatable aspects for all of us. One resounding theme is our want to be thoughtful with our purchases, yet we’ve also spent more than we should have at some point. This week’s confessional comes from a young financier who purchases every bag with her own money and has really thought about how to pare down her collection for each bag to fit a specific need in her collection. And though many of us have thought certain bags of ours are investments, this confessor does not and her take on it is quite interesting.
Gender Identity: Female
Household Income: $100,000
Are you a PurseForum member? Yes
How many bags do you own? 7 designer bags
How much is your collection worth? 10k – some of it was bought second hand
What is your most expensive bag? A Celine python design. I had a Chanel classic jumbo and medium but sold both.
What are the most important brands or pieces in your collection? Phillip Lim’s mini pashli – I got a special edition that is beautiful! It’s also the right size for weekends.
Louis Vuitton Neverfull – work horse.
Customised Crocodile pieces (not counted in the bag count or collection value above).
What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? 23 or 24. I’d worked full time for over a year. Prior to working I couldn’t even buy Kate Spade. I didn’t want anyone else (including a kind ex’s mum) to buy me any designer goods either. I got a Prada Galleria and the floodgates opened. Over the next year I bought close to another 20 odd bags. I’ve sold off most of them now!
Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? My Mulberry Alexa. It was the first designer bag I ever wanted, when I saw Alexa Chung carrying it. I was a poor teenager and it cost just under half of my parents’ monthly income so I never dreamed of getting it. I snagged one from one of the last collections, in a multi brand boutique’s closeout sale. Not my favourite colour but it was the only time I’d seen an Alexa in a new condition from a boutique instead of a reseller.
Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated? Yes and no. At my first job, senior management would make snide comments about employees who didn’t “dress up” or “put enough effort into their appearance”. But they were a group of overpaid, mediocre people. Most likely people I interact with on a daily basis don’t. Boutique assistants do, so now I prefer shopping online. I hate being followed around the store as well!
How often do you buy new bags? I used to buy one every one to two months (or less, sometimes)! Of course that had to slow down. After a year I took stock of all the bags I owned and never used, and sold as much as I could.
Now I buy only when it’s a 100% fit with my lifestyle and the cost per wear budget I’ve determined I’m going to follow.
I did just buy a (contemporary) brand bag and 2 Furla Metropolitans though…
Which stores do you frequent the most? I shop online… so I frequent multi brand boutique websites a lot!
If it were to translate into physically visiting ships, it would be Dior, Fendi and Mulberry.
Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? Yes! I don’t go to boutiques so I don’t really want to pay markup for service I don’t receive. I usually buy from trusted reseller companies. When I do buy from individuals, these days I’m quite strict if it comes to the heavily counterfeited brands. I transact only if they will give me proof of photography ID. Counterfeit bags are illegal and in my country, the police do take action.
Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? I do sell but not to fund purchases. I sell when I don’t see myself using them. I am fortunate enough – now, with few responsibilities – to not have to save / sell to fund most bag purchases unless I want something from Hermes or a Chanel classic medium and above (which I will never want).
Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? When I used to hang out with certain people, yes. But no, not really. I’m happy telling people I won’t buy more bags because I don’t feel rich enough to do so. There’s no shame in that – only if you spend beyond your means.
I’ve realised I’ve also become quite immune to marketing, especially for things which I know the margin of.
Do you consider your bag purchases investments? No, and I think the concept of doing so, which has been propagated by many magazines and other media, is extremely harmful. First of all, bags, like all organic items, deteriorate naturally. Even if you never use them. They can only go up in value if some brand is doing ridiculous price increases. I’m sure there are people who have made money off Chanel and Hermes bags. But I think market capacity for such increases have really started to bite, especially for Chanel. I see A LOT of unsold Chanel bags on the sites I frequent.
I don’t think there is real scarcity as say wines, whiskey or cigars of a certain age. Those are really unique.
If you want an “investment” (something of value) that can be worn or displayed, go buy a loose diamond or one of the big 3 stones.
Who influences your buying decisions? My boyfriend. He’s usually the one who talks sense into me.
I get interested in a bag based on itself. I don’t think marketing really works on me.
Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? No, as I shop online. But the sites customer service matters.
Why do you enjoy shopping, beyond just acquiring something new? I enjoy window shopping. It’s looking at beautiful, well-made things. You can appreciate the craftsmanship but understand that not everything is new to you.
When I actually buy something, I enjoy it because I feel like it fits into a part of my life that was missing before. (i.e. not having a casual mini bag in a style I wanted)
I used to shop to feel better (it’s easy to pop into the bathroom and order a ton of makeup or a pair of shoes for “just” $500 after getting screamed at by your boss) – still have a ton of unused possessions to prove that – but that sort of therapy is really fleeting . To me, anyways.
Have you ever felt like you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity or gender? No, but my experience at boutiques is limited. And given that I hate being followed around, I might have been given service that others find inferior but not realised it, lol.
Who pays for your bags? Myself! I decided that if I can’t afford it I wouldn’t buy it. I didn’t even buy kate spade till I was 22. My bf has offered to pay sometimes but I prefer that he buys me jewellry (which is more sentimental to me).
Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? No, it depends on whether I find something I like. I am thinking of purchasing a Birkin eventually, but the decision is more like, how much savings do I need to have before a Birkin is only x% of my net worth. This sort of barometer is how I gauge my comfort level.
The Taboo Topics
Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? No, but when I was younger and before I was interested or knowledgeable about designer bags, I bought a bag that was an unbranded “inspired” version of the Sac De Jour. I didn’t even know of the Sac De Jour then! I just thought it was a really nice leather bag that was pretty affordable.
The funniest part is that girls who knew the real thing saw it and (from afar at least) thought it was the real thing. After they mentioned they wanted to get one too I started realising that perhaps my bag had been copied off a designer bag…. and stopped carrying it.
Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? No, but I do hide them from my parents and older relatives, who think I need to get rid of a lot of my possessions before I start buying new ones.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to afford a bag? Nothing… I am pretty disciplined and boring in this regard.
Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? Yes. When I was extremely stressed I racked up 40k on my Amex bill alone, in 1 year. Selling away most of the bags I don’t use has recouped the large part of that though.
I think you have to be really brutal and acknowledge things about yourself / your circumstances that you don’t be like, if you’re buying to feel better about yourself.
The next step was to stop buying on a whim. I took stock of how much stuff I had and it was exhausting. Also, having to sell off my bags made me hate doing to the process. “I’ll buy and if I don’t like I’ll sell it” no longer became an option. I would rather see a good deal go by then get burdened by it
My boyfriend is also very supportive and bought me small pieces of jewellery (which doesn’t take up much space) that I treasure and I think this helped me start to think deeply about my purchases.
The Rest Of It
Any other expensive hobbies or passions? Jewellery! I am fully prepared to plonk down serious cash for pieces that I deem worthy.
Also, dining, as I have a weakness for expensive hams and fish parts.
And skincare, thought I’ve managed to rein that in as well by doing a lot of research before I commit to a product or treatment. But I do have packages with multiple aestheticians.
Anything else you would like to include? Your bags need to fit your lifestyle, not the other way around. I don’t have great fashion sense, but I’m pretty sure my bags don’t wear me.
I would love certain bags that I can afford, but I have zero use for them for the foreseeable future and this won’t be purchasing.
Also, I’ve seen really horrid cases of credit card debt. I’m all for working hard to afford the things you want, but I would never put my shopping on a credit card unless I can pay it off all at the end of the month. The interest will kill you.