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Where to Buy Secondhand Designer Bags That’ll Give You Peace of Mind
Designer handbags are symbols of status. From Hermès’s Kelly and Birkin to Chanel’s 2.55 and Boy to Louis Vuitton’s Speedy and Neverfull, these carryalls convey success and style. Brands toot their rarity, creating a limited number of SKUs to build demand, leaving consumers on waiting lists for months if not more. Still, their value remains undiminished (read: There’s no getting them at a discount)—so much so that the market for selling secondhand designer bags is thriving.
Over the last few decades, e-commerce companies have sprung up to offer fashion fans the ability to purchase these covetable styles. Some of the advantages of buying luxury, pre-owned designer handbags: It eliminates the wait time, it is a far more sustainable practice, and, in most cases, the prices are more affordable. That said, buyers have to beware: Fakes are pervasive. And it takes research and a well-trained eye to spot the difference.
Luckily, the best resale sites have teams of experts to do that for you. These companies base their reputations on authenticity, taking great pains to ensure that what they are offering is the real deal. Ahead, we’ve rounded up where to buy secondhand designer bags and asked the sites’ founders and sales directors to give insight into what a buyer should consider before making an investment.
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Charles Gorra, CEO and founder
About Rebag: Rebag was designed to offer simplicity, transparency, and immediacy—factors that luxury owners expect from a luxury brand. Unlike consignment or peer-to-peer alternatives, we buy items outright with quick and up-front payment. You can get an instant offer online or visit us in stores to sell in less than an hour for cash or Rebag Credit.
Our goal is to provide endless access to luxury. Rebag customers can enjoy the circular fashion experience with minimal friction, as with our Rebag Infinity program, they can sell their luxury goods for Rebag Credit to put toward a new purchase, which they can exchange again or sell back to us later down the line. It is truly the one-stop shop for everything handbags and accessories.
On how to purchase a secondhand designer bag: The top two factors that every buyer should evaluate is the item’s quality and its authenticity. Rebag listings are very thorough, as we have a detailed condition-grading rubric that not only summarizes the overall quality of the bag, but outlines every bit of wear—or lack thereof—that the item may have. On top of that, before we even list an item for sale, it goes through a rigorous vetting process by our in-house authentication team. So long as the item passes your personal quality standards and is authentic, we believe that you should indulge in whatever handbag you enjoy, whether it’s an iconic staple or a hot new trend.
And lastly, if you are interested in reselling it down the line, it doesn’t hurt to look at how its resale value is trending on the secondhand market. Clair by Rebag is our comprehensive appraisal index for resale, and it tracks real data to reveal just how much your item’s current resale value is. By utilizing Clair to analyze resale value trends, you can purchase a luxury good with more reassurance for its value in the future.
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Cristina Miller, chief commercial officer
About 1stdibs: 1stdibs is the world’s leading marketplace for extraordinary design. Since 2001, we have captured the magic of the Paris flea markets online and continue to set the standard for those seeking the most beautiful things on earth. By bringing together the best sellers and makers in vintage, antique and contemporary furniture, home decor, fine jewelry, watches, art, fashion, and more from 600 cities around the globe, 1stdibs offers a curated inventory that is not available anywhere else.
On how to purchase a secondhand designer bag: Researching is key to making a successful secondhand purchase. Before you purchase, ask yourself, What function will this bag play, and how will it suit your current lifestyle? Additionally, there are brands and styles that hold steady and increase in value over time. Brands like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Hermès are great options in terms of pre-owned bags.
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Blake and Wayne Geffen, founders
About Vivrelle: Vivrelle is a first-of-its-kind luxury accessories membership club, providing access to designer handbags, jewelry, watches, and diamonds. Our mission is to be Bergdorf Goodman meets Soho House. We founded Vivrelle with a dedication to making luxury accessories affordable, accessible, and sustainable, so we truly think of our service as an extension of our members' closets. That's one of the reasons items can be borrowed with no set return date. Moreover, like any good membership club, we have a number of exclusive membership perks for our clients, including exclusive discounts to items they're interested in purchasing. We like to think of this as a fresh take on the try-before-you-buy model.
On how to purchase a secondhand designer bag: One of the most essential things to keep in mind when buying secondhand is to ensure authenticity. This is something we take extremely seriously at Vivrelle. We have a three-step process for authenticating, which we then pass onto our members. We guarantee the authenticity of every item, so for buyers looking to buy, feeling confident and comfortable with the place of purchase and knowing that the item is authentic is of utmost importance.
A buyer should definitely do their research on pricing before making a purchase. As a rule of thumb, the more coveted a bag is, the less it’ll depreciate in value, so if it’s an exclusive release for example, or is hard to track down, the resale price will usually be close to its retail price—sometimes even more.
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4) The RealReal
Sasha Skoda, head of women's category
About The RealReal: The RealReal is the world’s largest online marketplace for authenticated, consigned luxury goods, including women’s and men’s fashion, fine jewelry and watches, home, art, and even kids. We’re unique in that unlike other resale platforms, we authenticate every item we sell. We’re a trusted destination where you can purchase anything from a vintage Louis Vuitton bag to a one-of-a-kind Gucci dress straight from the runway. Another differentiator is on the consignor side: We also make the consignment process seamless by doing all the work for the consignor from authentication and photography to merchandising and shipping. And as a result of shelter in place, we’ve made it easy to consign by offering virtual consignment.
On how to purchase a secondhand designer bag: Above all else, be sure you’re shopping with a trusted source that stands behind what they’re selling you. Look closely at images and notes on the condition, so you know the condition both inside and out. Also, be sure you’re buying from a legitimate source that authenticates their products. Make sure you’re clear on the site’s or seller’s authenticity guarantee, so you know what your options are if something is off.
I always recommend buyers educate themselves about the resale value of designers and styles before they make a luxury purchase. It’s about embracing an investment mindset—making purchases now knowing that if you choose to consign, you’ll recoup a significant portion back on the original cost. Heritage luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Hermès are examples of strong investments, as resale value has remained strong over time. Those high-quality brands and timeless styles will almost always yield a high return on investment.
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5) Vestiaire Collective
Fanny Moizant, president and cofounder
About Vestiaire Collective: Vestiaire Collective is the leading community-driven, global platform for desirable pre-owned fashion. We are dedicated to growing our engaged and diverse group of fashion lovers across the world, promoting secondhand as the sustainable alternative to fast fashion and building the most coveted catalogue of desirable pieces. Through our trusted app, our nine million members list more than 60,000 new items each week— making it the go-to online destination to buy and sell pre-owned, quality, and unique fashion items.
On how to purchase a secondhand designer bag: When investing in a secondhand bag, it’s important to consider its future resale value, desirability, and longevity. Iconic designers and classic styles are always a safe bet, as they either hold—or even increase—in value. Rare and limited-edition pieces are also something to consider when investing in a handbag. If you have a limited budget, look for a high-quality handbag that is within the budget you set yourself and focus on classic designs and neutrals that never go out of style. If you’re considering trendy vintage styles like the Prada Tessuto, Dior Saddle or Gucci Jackie, you can find pieces for up to 70 percent off their retail value on our app.
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Sarah Davis, founder
About Fashionphile: Fashionphile is CarMax for ultra-luxury accessories. We pay up front for the Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Chanel investments that you’ve got sitting in your closets. Fashionphile takes old-school consignment and adds immediate pay and technology to bring scale to resale. Our platform makes buying luxury more accessible to a broader audience than ever.
On how to purchase a secondhand designer bag: We’ve seen a noticeable trend in consumers who are more conscientious and educated. They’re not only searching for more sustainable options, but they’re actually looking at their purchases as investments. This is something we’ve done for decades when buying cars. We’ll buy better, and maybe even more expensive cars because the resale value is higher.
Now, more than ever, people are shopping ultra luxury with resale in mind. They’ll heavily weigh their selection on the resale value of the item they’re buying. An investment-minded shopper will be looking at legacy brands that do not discount or discount lightly. They’ll be shopping in staple colors and more classic styles. Many of these shoppers recognize that buying pre-owned is essentially getting a discount for letting someone else drive it off the lot. The resale price at this point will be fairly stable and may even increase over time. Either way, the conscientious shopper is researching before she makes that investment in luxury accessories of all kinds.
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