Stocks? Shares? Gold? No a handbag!

For those of you who are seeking ways to make an investment but interest rates means there’s no point in the bank and you don’t fancy the gamble and volatility of stocks and shares, one solution is to invest in gold. However, despite a a day at the London’s Metal Exchange there’s still a lot to learn around gold trading. But what I can share with you are lots of top tips for handbag futures!

It’s well documented that a well chosen handbag can turn out to be a solid investment. There are a few things to consider, such as what type of bag, how to avoid a gamble, for example does the ‘it’ bag factor last longer than the season and once you have secured the bag, how to look after it (yes stuffing and dust bags at the ready). So where to start? A useful place is a shortlist of designer bags to consider.

An ABC guide to the classic designer bags is a good starting place. However, if you have you’re not in a rush, how about a visit to London’s home of all things fashion, the Victoria & Albert Museum in South Kensington? Earlier this year I gave a shout out to all bag lovers to give a heads up about the forthcoming exhibition at the V&A, called Bags: Inside Out (which was due to open in April). Yes the covid lockdown did interfere with this collection but, I’m delighted to announce the V&A have rescheduled this exhibition.

Victoria and Albert museum
London’s V&A Museum

What to expect at Bags: Inside Out? 250 bags+ to peruse from 21 November 2020. It isn’t a history of the handbag but expect the insights that the V&A brings to their fashion collections such as the recent Mary Quant and Christian Dior exhibitions. Bags: Inside Out will feature the icons of handbags, their architecture, and their statement – the impact of selected bags will be showcased. I wonder which version of the 1990’s Fendi baguette will make the cut? Visit the V&A website to book tickets in advance – an ideal way to spend a winter’s day in London.

Once you’ve decided on your preferred designer bag, does your budget dictate where you will buy it? The options open to you now are more than just going direct to the brand’s flagship store, which can be a wonderful experience, even if you have to avoid the stern looking security guard at the entrance. You might want to consider:

  • a luxury online fashion store because you know what you want and you want it as soon as possible and not move from the comfort of your home. Or
  • a preloved bag as you’re comfortable with second hand as many will have had only one previous owner. Time to turn up the volume on your sustainable side of living

For preloved bags, you can head to an auction, a local store or online. The most popular of these tends to be online as people can feel out of their depth at an auction, especially if its their first time and unless you live in a large city where preloved shops tend to locate, it can be quite time consuming to seek them out and visit.

Handbag auctions

But before you dismiss an auction, since covid, most auctions have had to go online to maintain their business. This means days of sitting in a room, trying to master your poker face, a paddle whilst turning the pages of an auction catalogue are no longer. To feel comfortable, many auctions offer a virtual tour of the auction lots – so you can get the details straight from the auctioneer’s showroom. Take a look at the lots or bags that were included in a recent (June 2020) handbag auction at Christie’s London; there were over 130 designer bags. Psst…Christie’s New York has a Handbags auction running from 24 November to 10 December. Could this be the time to give it a go?

Christies handbag auctions London and New York
Take a virtual tour of the handbag lots at an auction

Preloved websites

When it comes to buying a preloved designer bag from a reseller’s website, one of the biggest concerns is ‘will I fail and end up with a fake?’ Since I reviewed some of the preloved websites for handbags a couple of years ago, including the likes of Vestiaire Collective and The Designer Exchange, the options have grown and gone from strength to strength.

The new(ish) kids on the block are:

  • Farfetch, the established luxury online retailer, now has a dedicated section on their website for preloved bags
  • Cudoni which started five years ago (you may have spotted them on facebook from their adverts), focuses on delivering a quality service
  • And in the heart of Europe, with its own shops in The Netherlands but more importantly, has an international website, is L’Etoile Luxury Vintage

These are just a few of the newcomers and I’m sure you know more. Feel free to share in the comments section below on any you want to recommend. One top tip, each website will have their own details on how they authenticate a designer handbag before promoting it on their marketplace. Remember to check these details and their returns policy first.

Wherever your designer bag is sourced from, once you have it, you need to invest a little bit more, in the way of time, to help keep its value and in some cases grow it (think Hermès). Firstly, when not in use think about:

  • helping the bag maintain its structure. From custom pillows to cheaper options such as old white t-shirts, read all the dos and don’ts at Rebag, a preloved bag website
  • keeping it covered when not in use. All, even preloved bags tend to come with a dust bag. If you misplace it or a preloved bag is missing its original, there are plenty of sellers on Etsy who can help

When in use:

  • allow your bag to breathe. By this I mean don’t overfill it. There is now a business called Baginizer, which I discovered on instagram a few years ago, which is an insert for your designer bag
  • avoid placing your bag on the table or directly at your feet; guaranteed if a glass of red wine gets split it seeks out the nearest leather bag!
  • and for leather and suede bags there are lots of sprays and creams that take care of the fabric. Best to use as soon as you get your bag so you know it has a level of protection from the start. And depending on how much you use the bag, will dictate when you should reapply.

Whether you opt for a timeless classic such as Chanel, an ‘it’ bag such as the newly reinvigorated Lady Dior or a designer bag that just feels right (for me the Bottega Veneta’s iconic lattice work on the Jodie bag), let’s look after them. Selling a designer bag is proving to be a good investment, whether online or at auction (the latter mainly Chanel, Fendi and Hermès). If you buy well (see what’s in most demand on the preloved websites) you won’t need to think about the latest price of gold!

Photo credits: Thanks to Matt Flores for the gold cards and dice and Toa Heftiba for Victoria and Albert. Both on Unsplash.

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