What's changed the most isn't the style or the names, but how we buy — and, for the sake of this narrative, sell — the bags themselves. There are significantly more options to manage your handbag collection now than even five years ago, with the most important developments in the marketplace occurring on either side of the financial transaction.
Obtaining a "It" bag used to involve a journey to the nearest flagship store. What if you just wanted to get rid of it? That process was much more regimented, leaving you at the mercy of a consignment shop or Ebay. The democratisation of resale — and, to be honest, social commerce in general — has blown the handbag business wide open, and it shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. The worldwide luxury resale industry was worth roughly $33 billion in 2021, and it is predicted to exceed $47 billion by 2025. While additional alternatives are excellent, they might make resale more difficult. Isn't it good to have an instruction manual? So we made one.
We polled the experts and divided the industry into four major categories: online resale platforms, peer-to-peer listing sites, brick-and-mortar consignment and auction houses, with clearly defined benefits and drawbacks for each. It's enough to make you want to go directly to your closet and start purging your seasonal apparel. Why not extend the life of your "It" bags while also recouping your investment? Continue reading.
Set Your Expectations And Be Aware Of The Ground Rules
"All vendors have money and time in mind," says TikTok inventor Charles Gross, who has a seven-figure following for his expertise in luxury items. "How much will I get paid? How long will it take to obtain it?" Which do you place a higher importance on: money or time? Answering this question will allow you to choose the resale experience that is best aligned with your aims.
"Some people suffering through financial trouble may need to sell a couple of their bags to make ends meet, and in that circumstance, they would favour a speedier sale above maximum profit," says Celesta, a TikTok luxury-fashion commenter who goes by her first name alone. "If I'm selling anything right now, it's because I want to get the maximum money out of that bag and use it to purchase something else later. And, in that case, I wouldn't mind waiting a few months. It is entirely dependent on a person's prior experience."
Your initial step, regardless of the reason for your sell, should be research. Begin by determining the worth of your bag: Look for recent sales of the identical bag and base your pricing range on that history. If a customer comes to you with mistrust, you'll have receipts to back up your rate. And prepare to do exactly that. "There are many frauds out there," Gross says. "Unfortunately, finding a new owner to use and appreciate your bag comes with the chance of getting scammed."
Next, assess the market: Is your handbag very popular at the moment, so much so that customers may be convinced to overlook any flaws in quality? Sellers should ideally sell pieces that are both in demand and in good shape, and while this is not always the case, it is useful to learn what types of bags create the biggest ROI.
There is, in fact, a chance to recoup your initial investment and then some. Gorra has long advocated for considering one's handbags like a stock portfolio, not just in terms of cost-per-wear, but also of value and how that value may vary in the future. Rebag introduced its own Comprehensive Luxury Appraisal Index in 2019, a digital tool that anybody can use to rapidly determine the current and historical resale worth of a certain luxury handbag. However, until the luxury resale business is completely structured, it is up to buyers and sellers to cultivate an investing attitude from the start.
Select A Resale Experience Based On The Above Priorities
Luxury specialists believe that the resale industry may be divided into four distinct categories: two online and two offline. Each is uniquely suited to various sorts of handbags as well as selling experiences, with advantages and disadvantages for each. Depending on what you're searching for, here is where you should look.
Luxury re-commerce platforms have a lot to offer, which is why a new one appears every five to ten business days. For starters, they do much, if not all, of the behind-the-scenes labour. However, you do pay for the convenience in the shape of fees, with different businesses charging different commission rates.
For example, the RealReal bases its commission structure on a rewards system: the more you sell, the more you make – and the more perks you enjoy. Demand also influences commission rates: sellers earn more for in-demand, high-value products, while lower-value items with less demand receive lower commission rates.
"A resale platform is the greatest alternative for a speedy and realistic sale," adds Gross. "This choice also allows you to learn about the item as you go through the procedure. Given the hazards of the alternatives, the fees charged by resale sites are definitely worth it." There are also differences in speed between these systems. Rebag and Fashionphile, for example, pay sellers up front, but The RealReal and Vestiaire work more like a consignment model, where you don't get paid until your item is advertised and sold. However, it is doubtful that these platforms will accept an item that they do not believe will sell quickly.
In general, such platforms offer a functional, easy user experience, which is especially crucial for resale newcomers. You'll have a quotation and a shipping label ready to make a sale with only a few snaps of your iPhone and some minimal information (if that – The RealReal handles the full listing procedure). Aside from accessibility, not all platforms are made equal, and the greater the worth of your handbag, the more noticeable the distinctions between them may become.
""Every resale site has a reputation," argues Gross, "and any transgressions permanently damage a site's image." Some are notoriously pricey, causing sales to stall. Some people are concerned about authenticity. Some of them are oversaturated. And so forth."
With competition in the online resale industry still fierce, most platforms are striving to acquire the most and the greatest inventory. There must always be something for everyone, which is good news for both sellers and buyers trying to sell their handbags. With supply chain issues harming retail supplies, Celesta believes online resale demand will only expand.
Peer-to-peer Listing Sites
If the fees that allow resale platforms to be as handy as they are put you off, peer-to-peer listing sites — made up of communities of individuals who sell new and used items, such as designer handbags — could be for you. In fact, if you're willing to put in the effort, you might be able to avoid unnecessary third-party fees entirely.
Just as each listing site caters to a particular customer, so do their commission schemes. Sites like eBay relieve some of that stress, but at a cost. When you create a listing, you pay an insertion fee, and when your item sells, you pay a final value fee. Poshmark takes a flat $2.95 fee on any sales under $15, and you keep the rest. For sales of $15 or more, you retain 80% of the profit, while Poshmark keeps 20%. ThredUp's commission charge ranges from 20% to 90% of the selling price, and the seller's compensation is determined by the cost of an item. In the end, however, these sites are likely to provide the biggest return over a resale platform.
"It's worth it if you do your homework, take nice images, and are okay with high risk and perhaps waiting [for the handbag to sell]," Gross says. "You could advertise your bag on a classifieds site, handle all of the incoming enquiries and screen out the fraudulent offers, sell the bag and mail it, and retain the entire earnings. But what are you giving up in terms of time to compensate for the higher return?"
So, what kind of handbags perform particularly well on listing sites, making it worthwhile to give them a try? Gross is especially positive about hyper-trend-aligned or specialised Y2K-era bags on peer-to-peer marketplaces like eBay or Poshmark, such as Nnoo's blinged-out mesh carrier or Coperni's ovular top-handle.
Enter brick-and-mortar consignment, which takes the hard-won knowledge of web platforms like as Fashionphile and Vestiaire Collective offline and into an actual retail location. While there is something to be said for handing up your pricey luggage for examination in person, be prepared to face some of the same issues that you would online, such as hefty consignment costs and unpredictable deadlines. The usual consignment arrangement places your bag in the store's inventory, and you don't receive any money until they sell it, which might take a long time.
This is not necessarily a negative thing. Heather Hurst, a Washington, D.C.-based artist who goes by the handle @pigmami, prefers in-person consignment stores because they are often easier and more trustworthy than a listing site where you connect directly with your purchasers.
"The turnaround is really quick, and you don't have to do much homework in terms of shooting, writing descriptions, or measuring," Hurst adds. "All of that takes time and, I believe, is a barrier to selling old items for many individuals. People on these platforms have a lot of opportunities to lowball you or not pay you, and these are concerns that the shop would manage for you."
In-person consignment and resale are thriving in New York City, if only because space limits force inhabitants to clear out their wardrobes. Buyers and sellers are treated appropriately luxe at ultra-luxury retailers such as What Goes Around Comes Around, Designer Revival, and Encore (which has been open since 1954 and boasts customers such as Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis), as they hand-off their Chanel flap bag or browse the five- or even six-digit Hermès. (For example, the Himalaya Birkin 35 may cost literally millions of dollars.)
"If I'm going to spend $30,000 on a bag, I want to walk into the store," Celesta says. "I'd want to check at the specifics. I'm looking to see if there's something that catches my eye that you don't often see online."
If you're seeking to sell a handbag at a professional auction, especially one with a real auction block, I'm curious why you're reading this instead of sunning on a yacht in Sardinia or somewhere else. "Auction houses frequently charge the greatest fees, and you're usually looking at a consignment system," explains Gross. "I would use this option just if you are selling a collection of exceptionally rare and valuable goods. Otherwise, you risk incurring exorbitant fees and, in some situations, having to wait until your item fits into an auction on their calendar."
Get Out There, And Keep Your Eyes Peeled For The Next Big Thing!
You've done your research, outlined your objectives, and found the finest venue to help you reach them. According to our estimation, you're ready to sell. However, because the luxury resale market is changing so rapidly (it is anticipated to grow by 42% between 2021 and 2025), you may want to change your methods in a few years. One trend Hurst is keeping an eye on is social selling, in which people use their digital followings, no matter how large, to sell products directly.
"I've even sold some designer stuff on Instagram," Hurst adds. "People have come to trust me after seeing my purchasing habits and understanding where I shop. They are aware of who they are purchasing from." Whatever technique is used, and regardless of how much blood, sweat, tears, or commission fees are used, sellers can rest certain that there will always be someone on the other end of the transaction who will fall in love with their handbag all over again.