How you can bag a profit by splurging on an expensive designer handbag

Don't think of that Hermes Birkin as an outrageous indulgence - a costly handbag could be a great investment if you follow this advice before shelling out the cash, and provided you can bear to part with it one day

13 May 2018 - 00:01 By Andrew Macfarlane
An Hermes Birkin and an Hermes Kelly bag at a pre-auction photo call for Hermes handbags at Bonhams, Knightsbridge, London.
An Hermes Birkin and an Hermes Kelly bag at a pre-auction photo call for Hermes handbags at Bonhams, Knightsbridge, London.
Image: Gallo/Getty Images

With increases in VAT, petrol and daily consumables, you'd think South Africans would be applying the brakes on their spending. Actually, the opposite is true. Every day more individuals are diving into the luxury goods market, and they can afford to do so by purchasing pre-owned.

In the past, getting access to these items would have been an issue because they simply weren't sold in South Africa. But since the opening of our market and, more importantly, the creation of online shops that will deliver worldwide, more people are now able and willing to spend money on these items. And there is nothing more desirable than a luxury handbag.

So, now that South African fashionistas can get their hands on bags they could only dream of in the past, here are a number of facts you need to know when purchasing these luxury goods.

IT CAN BE AN INVESTMENT

While it might seem like an unlikely option for an investment, there's ample evidence that the right purchase can bear fruit. According to JustCollecting's 2016 Rare Handbag Index, a pre-owned Chanel 2.55 Medium Classic Flap Bag increased in price by a huge 233.3% between 2004 and 2016.

So, if you're feeling a little sheepish about spending a large lump sum of capital on a designer item, do a little research and see if the item you're planning on purchasing could be sold for a profit down the line.

And if you are planning to purchase the bag to sell it at a later stage, the South African pre-owned retail sector has come a long way. A simple Google search will reveal a number of secure online platforms where you can sell your item without the fear of being conned.

MAKE SURE IT'S MADE FROM THE RIGHT STUFF

Designer items are all about the details. From the stitching of the lining to the placement of the logo, how everything comes together matters. An Hermés Birkin or Kelly bag takes up to 25 hours to make and each handbag is hand-sewn.

The materials matter, from the leather to the metal hardware, so when buying, make sure you choose an item with elements that will last and aren't prone to deterioration.

Choosing an item that ages well will ensure that you can sell it on many years later. The Hermés Birkin is predicted to double its value in 10 years because it has a limited production cycle and is sold only from Hermés stores, so buying one could be a fabulous investment.

According to Bag Hunter, the Birkin increased in value by more than 500% in the past 35 years, earning more than six times the return of gold stocks.

ALWAYS BE AWARE OF COLOUR

If you're planning on purchasing a bag with a retail value close to that of an entry-level car, selecting a timeless colour is important. While you may be tempted to purchase a bag that makes a statement and is in vogue right now, you really want your bag to last and to be an item that goes with any outfit.

Style blogger Alexandra Lapp with a green Hermes Kelly bag.
Style blogger Alexandra Lapp with a green Hermes Kelly bag.
Image: Gallo/Getty Images

While the pre-owned luxury market doesn't always give you the full range of available colour options, just remember that a beautiful, pink Lady Dior bag by Christian Dior might not be the timeless fashion item you were looking for.

That being said, if you're a bright pink Lady Dior person, then who are we to say no!

FINDING THE BAG YOU LOVE MIGHT TAKE TIME

Beautiful designer items are expensive because they're rare. Hermés bags can take six to 12 months to reach stores after the store manager has ordered them.

If you're planning to buy a pre-owned bag, this means finding the right classifieds for your item, and manually searching each one for your heart's desire.

If, however, you have a specific bag in mind, it would be wise to sign up to a number of mailing lists. For example, Luxity, South Africa's largest source of pre-owned and authenticated luxury goods, will WhatsApp you when stock arrives, so you don't need to spend valuable time scrolling through websites.

This is a long game, but it's worth it so be patient.

CHOOSE WHAT YOU WANT

At the end of the day, the item needs to suit you and your lifestyle. While a timeless Chanel 2.55 Medium Classic Flap is beautiful and elegant, if you're an individual who needs more in your larger-than-life lifestyle, then the roomy Louis Vuitton Neverfull would be the perfect option.

So, if you see an amazing bag that's not only made from the right stuff but also suits your wardrobe and your life, then there's no better time to treat yourself than the present!

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