By MIKE CHAIKEN
If you’re waiting for that $5,000 Louis Vuitton bag you covet to go on sale, well, you’ll have to keep on waiting.
As Sarah Davis, the owner of Fashionphile in California explains it, Louis Vuitton—and Chanel, Hermes, and Gucci for that matter—never discount or put on sale their much coveted handbags.
So if you’re desiring that kind of quality in a handbag, you’ll have to cough up full prices.
Or, you can find a gently used bag at a store such as Fashionphile.
Fashionphile, which has stores in Beverly Hills, San Diego, and San Francisco as well as an online site, is coming out east to participate in Designer Diva at the Mohegan Sun this weekend.
The store, according to press materials from the Sun, is one of the leading sources of second-hand luxury handbags in the country.
How does one launch a career in the world of retail sales of second-hand bags?
“This sounds a little crazy,” said Davis, who founded Fashionphile in 1999, “Honestly, I love a bargain.”
Calling from California, Davis said she found if she buys a 100-plus dollar bag from Banana Republic, she carries it for a year, then she donates it to something like Good Will. But if she buys an $800 vintage Chanel bag, she can carry it for a year, and then can sell it for a good deal of cash to recoup her investment.
“These bags do carry their value,” said Davis. “Not only are they fun to carry, they have great quality.”
Currently, Fashionfile has three brick and mortar locations. But the business started with Davis clearing her own closet.
When she was a young law student, Davis said she started selling wedding gifts she didn’t want on Ebay and Craiglist.
“Right off the bat,” said Davis, she learned that luxury items hold their value.
And bags, she said, “were super easy to move,” she said, since they are a “one size fits all and women appreciate a good bag.”
Davis said she started to realize she could buy and sell things, find killer deals on line, with the idea of then Besides putting cash in her pocket, said Davis, this entrepreneurial activity helped “satisfy my shopping fix.”
Since Davis was getting so adept at this buying and selling, she said her friends began to ask her to sell their bags.
And away she went.
“It all happened organically, originally starting as a small habit to what it is today,” said Davis. Fashionphile now has 36 employees spread out across three locations in the west coast.
“It’s a really fun business.”
Keeping with the theme that quality bags hold their value better, Fashionphile focuses on the super-uber brands such as Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Gucci, and Chanel. These are items that never go on sale, so if a customer is looking for these brands at a discounted price the best bet is to buy used on the second hand market, such as Fashionphile.
The second hand market also is a great way to get a vintage bag, that is totally different from what anyone else will have, said Davis. “It’s a great way to stand out.”
When Fashionphile participates in Designer Diva at the Mohegan Sun on Nov. 8 and 9, it’s a follow up to a similar venture toward the east coast last year. Fashionphile arrived in New York City during fashion week for a bag buying party.
It will be the same in Connecticut, said Davis. Although Fashionphile will be selling some bags from their inventory, and will provide devices to allow customers to shop for and buy bags on-line from the store, their main priority at the Mohegan Sun is to buy.
“We’re bringing our check book to buy bags,” said Davis. “It’s a really easy to way sell.”
Designer Diva, with Fashionphile, will be held Friday, Nov. 8 8 to 10 p.m. in the Vista Lounge at the Mohegan Sun, Uncasville from 8 to 10 p.m. Guests will have the opportunity to bring in their gently used Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Gucci, and Hermes bags to exchange for cash at the Convention Center.
The following day, Saturday, Nov. 9 fro 1 to 5 p.m., Fashionphile will be at the Convention Center again to buy and sell handbags. Participation is on a first-come, first-serve basis.
For more information, go MoheganSun.com. To check out the online inventory, go to Fashionphile.com
Comments? Email mchaiken@BristolObserver. com.
By MIKE CHAIKEN