Some things in life should be bought first-hand and brand new- most food products, eye glasses, underwear (to name a few.) But then there are many things that just make sense to buy used- especially if the value depreciates over time. Most of the luxury items we buy such as cars, watches and jewelry depreciate as soon as we take it out of the box or wrapping and begin using them.
Case in point: designer bags. We love them, we want them, we scour the Internet looking at celebrities using them, and every so often we’ll let ourselves browse through the designer’s website casually checking out the prices. However, the logic of paying thousands of dollars for a bag that begins to lose its worth as soon as you take it out for a spin seems odd.
Buying second hand a designer bag can be one of the easiest and smartest ways to have the bag you want without putting a serious dent in your bank account. As long as the previous owner has taken decent care of the bag, no one would be the wiser that your bag didn’t come from a store.
The only major con of buying a designer bag used, is the risk that you’re spending a chunk of change on something that could be potentially “fake”, or a knock-off of the original. We’ve all seen the tables or carts set up on the streets of many major North American cities with piles upon piles of “Chanel”, “Hermes”, and “Prada” designer bags lumped together being sold by someone yelling out “DESIGNER BAGS FOR SALE. Hey…are you looking for a Gucci bag?” That happens everyday (minus the tables and carts) online. Smart Kijiji shoppers know that when it comes to buying anything designer, it’s important to know the markers of a genuine item.
To help make sure you’re never duped into buying a designer bag that isn’t actually designer, here are a few tips on what to look for in a used bag and what to ask the seller before hanging over your hard-earned cash.
1. Look for the “Obvious” Clues First
- Check for spelling! Knock-offs often will spell just one letter incorrectly and if you’re just skimming the hardware of the bag or the inside stitching, it’s very easy to miss.
- Take a sniff! Designers use real leather. Real leather smells like leather. You shouldn’t smell glue, rubber, or any other synthetic materials no matter how “used” the bag is.
- Take a close look! Genuine handbags have a consistent coloration throughout the bag, and if it’s a printed bag or one with a logo, they should be consistent throughout the bag. Also, the stitching on designer bags are almost always with real stitches, not glue or other adhesives. Don’t forget about the hardware! Genuine handbags use quality metal for their hardware so there shouldn’t be severe rusting or discoloration. Any sign of deep damage could be a big hint that the bag isn’t authentic.
2. Know Your Bag Inside and Out
- Before you purchase the second-hand bag, go to an actual store that sells verified new handbags and take a look at the details. Don’t be afraid to get a little handsy and get a good feel of the leather, the weight of the bag, and the smoothness of the stitching and lining so you can compare it to the second-hand bag later on. Never buy a bag without seeing it in person first!
3. Be Realistic About Pricing
- A true, genuine bag (even a second-hand designer bag) will be expensive. If someone is offering a Celine, or Birkin, or Chanel for a couple hundred dollars when the real bag retails for over a few thousand dollars, that’s a huge red flag. It may be tempting to seize a deal but in this case, the old adage “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is” fits the situation.
4. Get the Proof
- When buying from second-hand stores or sellers, it’s always safer to buy from someone who can offer you proof of purchase or has a card of authenticity that’s included with the bag when it was originally purchased.