How to buy Chanel for less: 10 tips
This week I sold two Chanel Jumbo flap bags in excellent condition for approximately £2600 each! The current retail value of these bags is £4500. HOW? The client was not from the U.K so benefitted from the exchange rate, wasn’t greedy and wanted a quick sale. They were in mint condition but about 8 years old and came without a card or dust bag. Despite this, I do have to admit it is a rare occurrence to get an absolute steal on an investment piece such as this. It did, however, get me thinking as having worked in the second-hand designer bag market for approximately 8 years I have a few tricks up my sleeve when it comes to buying a Chanel flap bag for less.
In the glorious old days, we would save up our pennies and wait for a long-haul flight somewhere marvellous - bagging ourselves a bargain at duty-free on the way out. However, at the current time of writing, from the U.K., the tax-free option has closed in on us Brits. Since 2013 Heathrow stated that the Chanel classic bags will no longer be available to buy in their airport boutiques. Having said this there have been reports on some bag blogs such as Brag my Bag of people managing to find certain classics in the airport stores. So I personally still think it might be worth a phone call. If you are lucky enough to be reading this from outside the E.U. you will most certainly benefit from our current weak pound and 20% VAT which can then be claimed back on your purchase.
But what about for us locals stuck on terraferma? As we know Chanel doesn't put their classic flag bags in their sale so here I line out some of my top tips that can help buyers find their dream bag for less.
Spelling errors on eBay
Those lucky people that own a bag by a brand they cannot even spell. Follow the search Channel flap bag on eBay and see if there are a lucky few that slip through the net.
Auction houses far away from London
That do not put their pieces on the Sale Room. If you do bid at auction your best bet to win is in the room and your second best bet is on the phone - as much of it is psychological warfare against your fellow bidders. With this in mind dress for the occasion. Naturally. As an auction queen rarely have I ever had any success leaving bids online or at the house themselves. Also, don’t get excited about the guide prices. They set them low to entice you - if you look at previous auction results that will give you a better idea of what you can expect pieces to go for.
Age is but a number
My father most definitely lives by this rule - but for Chanel, it can also be true. The designs are so timeless if you are willing to go for a slightly older model of the classic flap on the second-hand market - still, in excellent condition, you could well pay over a thousand pounds less than you would for a second hand newer version.
Patience and Research
You have to be willing to wait for the right bag - it will come along but it could be 6 months or so. Use this time to research thoroughly - as tiresome as this is it is really important because that way when you see a steal come up you know it’s a steal and you go for it with gusto. For example, as I mentioned above we had two jumbo flaps come in and the owner only wanted £2500 for them. We sold them both within 24 hours because people knew what a steal they were.
Compromise on certain elements of wear
To really secure a cheap deal or better still get one that needs some restoration. Any sort of maintenance effort will put off many buyers. Over time you can then take it to Chanel and get any repairs done that are necessary that you might not be able to afford from the outset.
Choose a smaller size
By going down a size you can save yourself a good £500.
Compromise on colour
Whilst black maybe the colour you want. So does everyone else, having seen one in blue-black I have to tell you that it is near on impossible to tell the difference and it may well save you a £100. Take a look at the pre-loved blue or grey options at Sign of the Times.
It is easy to browse online
Lots of people will also be browsing online. I would recommend actually picking up the phone to ring dress agencies and pre-owned luxury designer stores like Sign of the Times. Or, alternatively you can Whatsapp us. Speaking to a person and building a relationship with a seller is a great way to bag yourself a bargain. We have a list of people that are looking for certain bags in certain hardware and we can actually source them from our seller network working to reasonably set budgets.
Play the exchange rate
Right now if you’re living in the U.K. it is not playing to your favour as the pound is so weak but for anyone living further afield than the U.K. the second hand Chanel market is looking pretty cheap right about now.
Pay in instalments
I know it is strictly speaking not making it cheaper but spreading the payments certainly makes big purchases less painful. For example at Sign of the Times we allow our clients to split the payments across three months.
Have you got any tips to add to the list? We’d love to hear them. Please comment below.
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