The Secret Reasons Why Rich Women Resell Their Luxury Goods

Wealthy women around the world have a secret way to make big bucks: selling their castoffs on the QT.

According to Ben Hemminger, founder of high-end retailer Fashionphile, “They have more bags than they need or want, so they get rid of them to make room in the closet – or to justify buying another, and to hide it from their partner,” he told the Post.

It takes a lot of wealthy women to keep Fashionphile’s Hermès stock at its usual level: around 400 Birkin bags and 200 slightly cheaper Kellys at a time. And it is also very expensive for Hemminger. Two years ago, he bought a Himalayan-edition Birkin with an ultra-rare hand-painted finish — original retail price $50,000 — from a woman for $100,000.

He then sold it on the site for $150,000. Recently, it cost him $180,000 to buy a similar bag from another customer; he sold that one for $230,000. Fashionphile isn’t too pretentious to handle relatively cheaper second-hand goodies like a Vuitton card holder; these cost $250 at the LV store but are regularly out of stock.

Rare Birkin bags can cost up to $230,000 second-hand. A bag originally purchased at a Hermès store for $50,000 resold three times that amount.
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“Even at $450, it flies off our shelves in two days,” Hemminger said.

One of her wealthy clients admitted to the Post that she is easily bored by the assortment of designer bags in her closet.

“I’ve always had a knack for fashion, but I also have a pretty big addiction to shopping,” the wealthy client said. “I was going to the Chanel store all the time to buy new bags, but I was always looking for ways to get things out of my closet and bring in new ones.”

Over the past seven years, she has regularly sold high-end handbags to Hemminger’s team, such as a 25cm Birkin bag that cost her just over $10,000, at retail, at Hermès. . “I think I made a profit of $1,000, or maybe it was $2,000 or something,” she said of the sale on Fashionphile.

Jackie Kennedy Onassis used to liquidate her closet down to help fund her shopping habits after her husband Aristotle Onassis cut his budget.
Jackie Kennedy Onassis used to liquidate her closet down to help fund her shopping habits after her husband Aristotle Onassis cut his budget.
Archive Bettmann

Dealers say there are also women willing to spend but held on tight reins by their
look at the spouses.

It’s not a new idea, of course. Jackie Onassis was the OG of VIP recommerce. When she married tight-fisted shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, she spent over a million dollars on outfits in the first year; he responded by reducing his expense allowance to just $30,000 a month. With no money, but plenty of cachet, Jackie turned to clearing out her closet to help float her shopping habits.

The way it works now is that if there’s a wealthy woman wondering if she should – or could get away with – putting an expensive handbag on her black AmEx, the sales associate bends down to whisper a suggestion: maybe she has an older bag at home that she could sell, then buy that new treat for cash? He might also recommend a great place to do it.

Retired vintage dealer Lisa Stark, whose business was based in Palm Beach, told the Post that Saks salespeople would “tell them to bring me their bags.”

Ben Hemminger is the founder of high-end retailer Fashionphile.
Ben Hemminger is the founder of high-end retailer Fashionphile.
Courtesy of Ben Hemminger

When he started, Hemminger admitted, he squeezed a few bills into a few sales
palms of associates to encourage them to mention this option. Practically, one of Fashionphile’s first physical locations was in an alley behind a line of daring boutiques in Beverly Hills.

It is now set to open a 4,000 square foot warehouse and store in the Starrett-Lehigh building in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood next month.

And three years ago, Neiman Marcus took a minority stake in the company and added in-store shops to several of its locations, making it even more convenient to trade.

For some women, it’s about getting rid of bad memories.

Vintage saleswoman Lisa Stark told the Post that Saks salespeople would tell spendthrift customers to
Vintage dealer Lisa Stark told the Post that Saks salespeople would tell spendthrift customers to “bring their [old] bags for me.

“When I was engaged, I bought Zimmerman, Alice and Olivia, and Retrofete dresses for my shower and engagement parties,” said one woman who winters in Palm Beach and summers in the Hamptons. “The wedding was called off, and two years later I had no room for their energy in my closet, so I sold them on Real Real for almost what I paid for them.”

Some people even gamify their resale action.

Take the periodic offer that Hermès makes to its dearest customers: the possibility of ordering a bespoke “horseshoe” Birkin, specially stamped with the equine insignia that gives it its nickname. Customers are known to buy them just to sell them.

Some customers will ask resellers which colors of exclusive Birkin bags will fetch the most, then order them just to make a profit.
Some customers will ask resellers which colors of exclusive Birkin bags will fetch the most, then order them just to make a profit.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

“Somebody will call us and say, ‘OK, I can get a horseshoe bag, so what color combination do you want that sells?’” Taylor said. A “horseshoe” bag that sells for $30,000 to $40,000 could fetch up to $100,000 when she resells it.

A socialite who works in the beauty industry told the Post, “I bought a Chanel bag five years ago for $6,000. I got fed up with it, so during my last closet cleaning, I threw it at Real Real for $7400 Chanel recently announced that they were raising their prices, so it was a quick sell.

And if the second-hand market isn’t enough to fund a buying habit, there’s always creative financing like Fashionphile’s Reserve program, which allows buyers to put down a 25% deposit and then pay off the balance over time. time.

“I asked a woman point-blank, ‘I know you can afford this Birkin today, so why are you using our layaway program?'” Hemminger said. “And she said, ‘My husband never looks at credit card charges under $5,000, so if I break it up into $4,000 increments, he’ll never ask. “”

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