So, this is not a regular topic for Imperfect Concepts, but it’s how I started my first business. Eight years ago, I launched an online high-end designer boutique. Selling pieces I had to acquire over the time, in addition to that, pieces I sourced from thrifting. I love helping others find pieces for their wardrobe.
Funny fact, I was obviously to the world of luxury until I went away to college in Houston. Living in a small military town, there are no Gucci’s, Louis Vuitton, or Nordstroms. We have JCPenney, Sears, and Macy’s. I knew of Coach or Michael Kors, but I was not a fan of the brand. Honestly, I don’t even remember carrying a purse outside of a Kate Spade that I found at the thrift store. Now, I have a slight addiction to handbags and small leather goods, also known as SLG. The other day in less than 24 hours a couple of individuals asked me about my collection, how I was able to purchase pieces while running a business, living my life and paying off student loan debt. So, I decided I would write a blog post to the best of my knowledge on the subject matter.
My First Piece
I purchased two luxury pieces at the same time. They were the Tiffany Elsa Cross Pendant and Gucci Monogram Large Web Handle Tote. My boyfriend at the time was supposed to buy me the necklace as a gift but kept postponing the purchase. That might’ve been the pivotal moment for me when I stop waiting on others do for me and just do it myself. He was also my first real boyfriend. I dated in high school here and there, but I wasn’t per se allowed to date. I still have the Tiffany necklace, its one of my most prized possessions. The Gucci bag was sold in my online boutique.
Budgeting To Purchase
If you read my article on Zero Budget Method, you know that I just don’t go spending money like crazy. I use to spend money like crazy, and that’s how I ended up in debt, but my financial journey has drastically changed since running a business, even sharing how I have increased my credit score and bummed my credit card limit up to $14,000 in less than 18 months.
I am not an impulse buyer, I am very calculated and pinch my pennies actually. There has been only one time I legit just bought something, but it was an incredible steal. My best friend Brandi texted me that a Louis Vuitton Toiletry 26 was on sale for under retail without thinking I purchased in less than 5 seconds, lol. I rarely buy items brand new; they tend to be pre-loved minus all my designer shoes. Those I tend to purchase from Neiman Marcus or Neiman Marcus Last Call because they have unbelieve deals. I scored some Christian Louboutins for $200 awhile ago.
Creating a budget for what you want to buy is very important. Yes, I have a wish list, but my budget is more important. It does help that my boyfriend buys me a plethora of stuff so I can use my money for other things like paying off student loans. However, say I want a Louis Vuitton cosmetic case, I determine if I am buying pre-loved or new. Regardless, if I am buying it new or pre-loved if I can’t buy it twice without hurting my finance it stays. That rule has been in place for over four years now. Keeps my coinage in line. If yes, I can buy it twice then I determine where I am buying it from. Right now, a majority the items on my wish list are past collection pieces from different luxury houses. While writing this post, I went over my luxury purchases from the last two years which was very interesting to see. I tend to buy one bag and three to five SLG’s.
Start with one luxury house you love and build from there. I have a plethora of “it bags” in my collection and then use the same SLG for them. I prefer Louis Vuitton for my SLG’s, but looking to either purchase some Chanel or Hermes pieces shortly.
Where To Shop
More and more designers are veering from having sales on their luxury items which I understand. Exclusivity is what a majority of these brands were built on, and now everyone has their pieces. Some brands such as; Fendi, Gucci, Prada, and others have outlet stores. I have never shopped at the outlets because they feel like the same price, no huge savings.
Where do I buy my luxury items if I am buying them brand new:
Neiman Marcus: I have been shopping here since I was 18 years old, they were my original credit card, lol. They have an amazing sale twice a year where they mark a plethora of seasonal designer items down. I tend to buy shoes over bags then.
The Brands Store: Only reason I would want to go into the actual brand store is because it’s a limited edition item or it’s a hard to come by item.
Now, if I want to save money on designer items, I purchase them pre-loved. There are three places I purchase from.
Louis Vuitton Addicted – This is a private Facebook group with women and men from all over the world who love the brand. We chat, sell and buy its a large community of really awesome people that I love connecting with. They also have sister groups for Kate Spade, Celine, Gucci, Hermes, Dior and many others. Please note, there are no fakes allowed. The admin has to approve you for you to be in the group. Read the pinned rules because they will help you.
Ebay – Sometimes, eBay gets a terrible rap on buying or even selling. Over the years of making friends and watching countless Youtube videos. The luxury community is huge, and people share their knowledge willingly all the time. You can also have items authenticated before purchasing if you’re not sure. A large quantity of my SLG’s have come off eBay. Stalking, stalking and finally making an offer.
Consignment – There are consignment shops in Dallas that I love to purchase from. I scored a $300 Brooks Brothers Dress for $50! Nowadays you can purchase online from various places.
Building Community + Forging Friendships
Another question, I get often is why do I showcase my designer items off on social media. Truthfully, I don’t believe I am showing off or bragging. Everyone has a hobby in this world, and there are communities for those hobbies. My hobby happens to be luxury handbags and the accessories that go with them. Two of my best friends are huge on designer pieces just like me. One loves shoes, and the other one loves handbags. Then I have other friends who have the insert. For example, I love using my planner and the planner community can be huge but the sub niches can make it tighter. I love all the women and men I have met in the Louis Vuitton Planner community; there is a facebook group I am in.
One of the biggest tips that I can give if you’re interested in purchasing luxury items is started with pre-loved. When going this route be very knowledgeable ask questions. Never pay friends and family on Paypal you are not protected. If buying in person via one of those apps make sure, you do so at a safe spot in town. For example, Killeen allows you to meet up at the Police station.
If you’re wondering what’s currently on my wishlist, is a high number of past collection items. Which means I have to buy them pre-loved versus brand new, which is found with me. I hope this helps anyone looking to purchase luxury items to start a collection.