A designer bag from Louis Vuitton is a celebrity staple.
Seen on the arm of everyone from Kim Kardashian, to Diane Kruger and Miranda Kerr, one bag will set you back anywhere from $1,300 to well over $5000.
However, with a bit of elbow grease and resourcefulness, university student and blogger Joanne Kim bought six Louis Vuitton bags in a year… and all on a student budget.
Speaking to Mamamia she said that she was drawn to the style and quality of Louis Vuitton hand bags and enjoyed the fact that she didn’t have to be too precious with them.
“I feel like with vintage items, especially Louis Vuitton, they’re already a bit worn in,” she said.
“I don’t feel too guilty and I can be a bit rough with it because it’s already withstood the test of time.”
Having worked for a luxury handbag boutique in university, Joanne first came across luxury consignment shopping through YouTuber heyyyjune.
"She was a queen at buying secondhand bags and that was just so fascinating," she said.
While she bought her first few secondhand bags from a friend who's husband worked in the consignment industry, she soon realised that she could do the exact same thing by herself, with the help of the internet.
"I realized that I could go onto eBay, get it for cheaper and for decent quality, and that’s when I heavily started shopping eBay," she said.
One of her best finds to date was a vintage Louis Vuitton bucket bag (pictured below), which would have cost $1,960 but Joanne secured herself a secondhand version for $160.
So how do you do it?
If you're intimidated by the prospect of buying secondhand designer items for fear of being scammed or falling into the counterfeit trap, Joanne says it's all about doing your research.
"Once I have my eye set on a particular style, I familiarise myself with the actual handbag.
"I find high-res images of the bag, and look at the stitching and details on the tabs, metal detailing and logo.
"It's all about the tiny details," she says.
In particular she pays attention to whether each letter is hot-stamped on the leather brand tag on the inside of the bag, and if the pattern matches the bag details.
For example in the monogram print, like the pattern in the bags above, the clover should be three centimetres from the centre and the pattern should match up on the front and back - but this will depend on the pattern design.
How do you make sure it's not counterfeit?
While the above ways will definitely help you avoid this from happening, there's one sure-fire way Joanne uses to authenticate her secondhand Louis Vuitton bags.
"It's one trick that I've always done that lets me know that every bag I have in my collection is authentic," she says.
"I take it into a Louis Vuitton boutique and make an excuse that I want to get something replaced or fixed.
"The thing is that Louis Vuitton [and any designer brand] won’t accept your bag if it’s a fake, therefore if they give you a quote, or compliment you on your find, that’s the number one giveaway that it’s authentic."
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What happens if you accidentally buy a counterfeit bag?
If the worst case scenario happens and you realise that you've bought a fake, if you shop smartly to begin with, you can protect yourself even if you do get sent a knock off.
Jo says that eBay's Money Back Guarantee policy means that if you do get stuck with a counterfeit item, eBay will mostly likely rule in the buyer's favour. If you're shopping on another platform, like a Facebook group, she says to always use Paypal to pay.
"If I'm buying off of Gumtree I'll make sure to ask for Paypal Goods and Services because if the bag was a fake I could always get it certified and they’ll reverse the funds.
Otherwise, if you're a complete rookie when it comes to sourcing secondhand designer goods, online speciality consignment stores, like Vestiare Collective or The RealReal can give you peace of mind as they authenticate everything that gets sold before it gets shipped to you.
Making it the perfect choice for beginners.
For all newbies vying to score their first secondhand designer purchase, Joanne says, "You have to try it once."
"I’m an avid buyer of secondhand luxury goods and once you familiarise yourself with the experience you gain more confidence for next time."
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