Monday, June 15, 2009

Money in the Bag

Are you a bagaholic?  Then, this post is for you.  I recently discovered a treasure trove of the latest and most in-demand handbags, in brand new or second-hand conditions, that are up for sale!  And no, it's not in Hong Kong or Japan, it's right here in Makati.  Thanks to owner and managing director Marjorie Asok-Bambroffe: “Our love affair with bags and the quest for the latest IT bag is endless, (but) I feel really guilty spending my hard-earned money on very expensive bags. This way, I am making it easier for women to buy them at a more affordable price,” shares the self-confessed bag lady.

To save on rent and other overhead expenses, she tested the market by selling bags in their Manila Watch Stores that also sells pre-owned watches. True enough, the freestanding Bagaholic Store at Renaissance Hotel proved to be a great business venture as it turns a year old last month.  Not only do they buy and sell these arm candies, they also accept trade-ins and pawning.  “People are actually surprised that they can now pawn their bags when they are short of cash.  A lot of women said their husbands are now less condescending when they want to buy another bag because not only are they buying it cheaper, they actually have pawning and resale value,” she excitedly adds.

With over a thousand pre-owned bags in stock, you’ll go berserk at this heaven-sent store.  It has quite an impressive collection of luxury bags which include Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Hermes, Gucci, Prada, Dior, Fendi, Yves Saint Laurant, Ferragamo, Coach, Tods, Burberry, and Kate Spade to name a few.  Most of them are in mint condition, and priced at 30-80% lower than the retail price—these are enticing enough to make a visit to the shop worth your while.

Bagaholic’s Marjorie, or Gigi for short, gives us some insights into the wonderful world of luxury bags and how she successfully created this niche market of designer bag lovers:

Style Scout: When did your love affair with bags start?

Bambroffe: My real love affair with bags started right after college when I was working with Kris Aquino in the early ‘90s.  I was her associate producer and personal assistant. I used to tag along when she would shop at the expensive designer boutiques in Hong Kong.  At that time, I was more than happy to carry Kris’ designer bags feeling as if they were mine. I used to carry her designer handbags and jewelry trunks whenever we went on a shoot.


Style Scout: Do you personally “hunt” for these bags?

Bambroffe: Our gorgeous bags come from various posh Filipino women and a few men.  I don’t have to go abroad to source them.  So, the bags you see in our shop probably come from fabulous closets in exclusive villages, as well as from individual bag-lovers from all over the country.  I get regular calls from as far away as Baguio, Quezon Province, Cebu, Davao, to name a few.  And not to forget, the OFWs (overseas foreign workers) from Japan, Europe, American and the Middle East who were able to collect nice designer bags.


Style Scout: As a bagaholic, what do you recommend ladies to get as their first bag?

Bambroffe: Depends on what brand you are partial to, and how much you are willing to shell out.  For Louis Vuitton, I recommend the classic Speedy 30 monogram canvas.  It is not heavy on the pocket; it’s very roomy, easy to maintain and will never go out of style.  For those who can spend more, the Chanel 2.55 double flap in lambskin is a must have.  It exudes class, elegance and will remain timeless.


Style Scout: Since you mentioned the LV Speedy 30, how much is it being sold at your shop?

Bambroffe:  Being the most sought after bag, the resale value of the Speedy is very high.  This means, you will not lose out when you decide to sell it in the future.  Depending on age and condition, you can get them from P15,000 up to P30,000 (brand new condition) bearing in mind that the Manila retail price for that is P36,800.


Style Scout: How about for those who want to start a collection?

Bambroffe: This is just my personal preference.  If money is not an issue, then I would go for the limited edition LVs like the Stephen Sprouse collection, the Mirroir, the Richard Prince collection, and many many other magnificent seasonal limited releases.  I am also partial to the LV Suhali and Taiga leather collection.  It’s more discrete and you don’t see a lot of people carrying it.  It is much more pricey though.  Then there are the IT bags of the top brands like the Hermes Birkin, and the jumbo flap and grand shopping tote of Channel. I also adore the Coco Cabas, the Spy Bag of Fendi, the YSL Muse, the Indy Gucci, etc.  I could go on and on…  Go browse in Purse Forum and their blogs will guide you as to what bags you should collect.


Style Scout: What does one have to do if she is interested in consigning their bags?

Bambroffe: We have refrained from doing consignments except very few select bags for the sole reason that we don’t want to be responsible for any damage that bags may suffer from the hands of customers when they get them in and out of our racks while they are on display.  So far, we do the Direct Purchase option.  After all, most people prefer to have money now and be done with it. 

Just set an appointment by giving me a call.  I’ll check out your bags and pay you cash on the spot for your pre-owned bags once a price is already agreed!  Our prices vary according to the brand, type, age, supply, demand and condition of the bag. Original receipts, certificates, boxes, dust bags can also help increase the price.  We also do trade-ins.


Style Scout: Any tips on how to take care of these luxury bags?

Bambroffe: Different bags have different ways of caring needed because they come in different materials.  It is not a secret, just use it carefully because once it’s stained, it will be very hard to remove it.  Keep your bags away from liquids, heat and sunlight.  Store it properly by stuffing it to maintain its shape and put silicon gels inside to protect it from damage due to damp and humidity.    


Here are some of Gigi’s recommendations/picks, in no particular order:

The Balenciaga Motorcycle bag is a favorite of many fashionable women. It’s definitely a good all-round bag.  This is one designer bag that won’t go out of style—chic, strong, and feminine.


The classic Chanel 2.55 and Jumbo bags, in either lambskin or caviar leather, have remained as stylish today as it was 50 years ago.  The caviar leather used in making the handbags is entirely stain and water resistant.

The Hermès Birkin is the Holy Grail of purses. It is tagged as the world’s most coveted bag.   Owning a Birkin tells the world “Look-at-me, I’ve made it big.” It’s the ultimate elite status symbol with a very hefty price tag to match.

The Louis Vuitton Monogram Mirage line turned the classic monogram canvas into a true work of art with the LV monogram pattern gradually fading as it gets closer to the top of the bag. The handles are in black, which spares me the easily stained classic cowhide.

When it comes to the LV bags, the Suhali line is tops on my list.  It’s understated yet very elegant.  Plus, the leather is durable and easy to maintain.  The structured Le Fabuleux bag is one my favorites—large, easy to use and a great looking shoulder bag.

*Bagaholic is located at the street side of Renaissance Hotel in Makati Avenue corner Pasay Road.  For inquiries, you may call 867-2325 and 0917-8141967.

*This post is taken from my Manila Bulletin column, released last month.

1 comment:

Kumiko Mae said...

WOW! just like in sex and the city the movie :D


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