This week our confessor purchases bags to celebrate milestones which makes each bag in her collection very special to her. She finds other people in her life making comments about her bag purchases even though she consciously sets aside money monthly toward her bag fund.

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The Basics

Age: 26
Gender Identity: Female
Location: Calgary, Canada
Occupation: Enterprise Account Manager
Industry: Information Technology
Salary: $120,000
Household Income: $220,000

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The Bags

Are you a PurseForum member? Yes!

How many bags do you own? 7 (plus several SLG’s)

How much is your collection worth? $15,000+

What is your most expensive bag? My Louis Vuitton Empriente Lumineuse PM. I bought it as a university graduation present to myself.

My collection from the most expensive are:

  • Louis Vuitton Empreinte Lumineuse PM in Noir
  • Louis Vuitton Epi Pont Neuf GM in Noir
  • Louis Vuitton Empreinte Pochette Metis in Rose Poudre
  • Louis Vuitton Keepall 55 in Damier Graphite
  • Gucci Marmont Small Shoulder bag in Black
  • Louis Vuitton Delightful GM in Monogram
  • Louis Vuitton Pochette Felicie in Monogram

What are the most important brands or pieces in your collection? Louis Vuitton, as you can tell from my collection, holds a dear place in my heart. I appreciate the service and quality I’ve experienced with each of my pieces, and that is why I have stayed close to the brand. I have a few Gucci pieces that I love and wear, and my next purchase is going to be a Dior, so I’m hoping to broaden my collection as I get older.

What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? My first designer bag was a Coach Zoe bag back in high school. I received it as a Christmas gift from my parents because I had been working extra chores and had only asked for that bag (much to their chagrin). The first premier bag I bought for myself was for my 21st birthday, I saved up from my retail job and purchased a Louis Vuitton Delightful GM.

Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? I just purchased the Louis Vuitton Pochette Metis in Empreinte. I celebrate milestones with handbags (birthday, graduation, promotion), and I recently got into my holy grail of careers and I could not be happier or proud of this accomplishment, especially because it happened sooner than I expected. I know it is silly, but every time I look at my new bag, I feel a sense of pride and accomplishment and makes the purchase more meaningful.

Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated? I work with 98% men in my world, and most of them have no clue about luxury handbags (the ones that do have wives that also collect), so I am thankful that I can wear my bags mostly without comment at work.

Having said that, I’ve gotten some comments from people about how nice it must be for my dad/partner to buy me things, assuming that I could not possibly be able to, given my age. That has always struck a nerve for me because I am a very hard worker and pay for everything on my own. Over time, I’ve realized people cannot possibly know the struggle and work that went into building my life by looking at a handbag, and so I don’t take it personally. I don’t buy bags for other people, I buy them for me and how they make me feel.

The Shopping

How often do you buy new bags? Once every few years. I buy pieces that I love and wear and I truly think about. This last year I’ve purchased 2 luxury bags which is way out of the normal for me, but both were pieces that I loved (LV Pochette Metis and LV Keepall).

Which stores do you frequent the most? For workwear, I live and die by the Canadian brand Aritzia as well as Club Monaco. I also recently discovered Kit and Ace, workwear I can wash (!) rather than dry clean for classic pants and tops, and for trendier pieces I love to hunt at Zara.

Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? I haven’t personally, but I would be open to it.

Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? No, most of my bags were purchased as milestone markers so they are all very sentimental to me. It’s also hard because I rotate and use all of my bags so they are not sitting in a dustbag on the shelf, but that could change in the future if I really never used something enough.

Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? No. I know with the rise of Instagram and influencers, it makes it easier than ever to see different luxury goods, but I don’t take any of that pressure on. I buy what I love, and I admire the rest. I do like that it is easier to see bags and goods on different people, in different settings, styled different ways so it gives me a lot of inspiration that I may not have otherwise had.

Do you consider your bag purchases investments? No. I invest in my style and I use my bags none too gently. I’ve seen women give me ‘eyes’ at the airport when I throw my leather Louis on the floor, or in a bin. I use wipes and leather moisturizer a lot though, and stuff them when not in use, so I do try and take care of them, but there is no question I am not gentle. I bought a purse– if its easier for it to be on the floor, that’s where it goes. I used to be so particular about hanging my bags on a purse hook or sitting them awkwardly on my lap, but ultimately I realized they will all get scratched/dented/saggy with age and I will just use them how its convenient for me.

Who influences your buying decisions? I love Instagram. I like seeing the new styles, and girls that have similar style/body shape to me. I work in a corporate setting so it’s fun to see what bags look good both for work and for casual. Ultimately though, I have to think about a bag for at least 6 months for me to pull the trigger, so it’s always a well thought out purchase.

Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? No. I’ve had a revolving door of SA’s where I live in the multiple boutiques I shop in, and so I’ve never built a great rapport. I am hoping to change that going forward now that I am at a place in my life and career where I can probably shop more frequently than I have in the past.

Why do you enjoy shopping, beyond just acquiring something new? I like the experience of shopping. My mom or partner and I will go shopping for the day and even if we only window shop, I feel like I found more inspiration or that we shared in an experience. When I am shopping luxury, I like the treatment of such a big purchase, with ribbons and boxes, and the feeling of being satisfied and proud of my purchase.

Have you ever felt like you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity or gender? I usually go shopping on my days off, and those are the days I do not feel like dressing up and wearing my stilettos and cute outfits. I know this impacts my level of service, because even though I am tidy and put together, I am very casual on my days off and I am also young which may give the impression that I cannot afford where I am shopping. I’ve had SA’s ignore me, or quickly try and answer my questions about bags as if I am wasting their time. It doesn’t feel good, so I will never buy from an SA that makes me feel like I am an annoyance. Especially with luxury products, I will delay a purchase if I have bad service.

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The Money

Who pays for your bags? I do.

Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? I have a shopping account that I will pull from. Every month, my bank auto-filters my pay cheque into different accounts, one for bills, retirement, savings and what I call ‘fun’. The ‘fun’ account is my shopping account, and so I don’t really budget but I always have money set aside for trips, a purse, a new sweater, etc… I find it helps keep my spending purposeful and controlled.

My ‘fun’ account is $750 per pay cheque, so depending on the month (I get paid bi-weekly) it is about $1500. This covers me for nights out, shoes, clothing, trips and of course, handbags. Some months I spend minimal (a sweater for $150 here, shoes for $400 there, a great dinner for my partner and I for $200), and other months like this one are handbags or a trip.

The Taboo Topics

Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? No. For me, buying luxury is an experience and just that–a luxury. It’s worth it to me to save and be patient to get what you really want.

Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? Never. We are very transparent about our spending, and the dollar amount never matters as long as we do not go into debt for it and are still saving.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to afford a bag? My first LV bag, I was working retail on my gap year between high school and university, and spent the equivalent of an entire paycheck on one bag. I paid my own way through university so I was already pretty frugal, but I wanted this bag so bad that I stopped drinking Starbucks/take out coffee to save the extra money–I was a latte a day kind of girl which adds up quickly. Ultimately 8 years later, even though now I am in a significantly better financial situation, I still don’t drink latte’s and I bring my own to-go mug for a brewed coffee. Saving for a handbag kicked me off of my latte addiction!

Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? No, but it can be overwhelming with the amount of goods that are available. Even brands are getting pressure-heavy with their price increases to drive demand. I always wanted a Chanel, but I don’t know that I’ll ever buy one due to their pricing strategy (which I know has been adapted by many other brands) of constant price increases. I was looking at a Boy bag a few years ago and it is now thousands more today for the same bag, with what some would argue lesser quality. I try to not fall for that but it makes you think… should I buy this now? Same goes with colours and revolving inventory, the “Buy now or it will be gone forever” is hard when you want to think about your purchase rather than impulse buy. I try to not let it affect me with the mentality of ‘It’s not meant to be’ but it can be hard when you are deciding between multiple items and want to buy them all at once.

The Rest Of It

Any other expensive hobbies or passions? I love travelling and I collect books. I have bookshelves upon bookshelves of books that I love, and it can get quite expensive if you are looking for first or limited editions.

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