Emily Dickinson once said, “The heart wants what it wants”. But with words like ‘retrenchment’ recently making headlines in Singapore, it doesn’t exactly feel like a good time to splurge on a designer handbag. Although luxury brands are known to mark prices up, there’s one way to get designer bags at a fraction of their hefty price tags: buy them secondhand.

To help you navigate the various eCommerce platforms and offline retail options for preloved designer bags, here’s an analysis of the most affordable places to find your dream bag.   

Facebook groups and second-hand platforms may offer cheaper deals 

PlatformCeline Nano Luggage/S$Gucci Ophidia GG Small Messenger Bag/S$Prada Saffiano Top Handle Bag/S$
SG Luxury Bags MarketplaceN/A999N/A
OfflineLuxury CityN/A1,349N/A
Madam Milan 2,900N/A920
The Attic Place2,280N/A1,600
Luxury RetailerOriginal Price3,3503,4754,750
Prices obtained from retailers mentioned above, accurate as of 18 Feb, 2021. Subject to changes. 

If you do a quick search on Facebook, you’ll find many local marketplace groups that list preloved designer handbags for sale. Unlike physical stores, these consignment groups operate online, meaning that they don’t pay rent and can afford smaller profit margins. As a result, you can find designer bags at significantly marked-down prices. Another plus point about sourcing from these consignment groups is that you get full details of the bag’s wear and tear condition; sellers are very responsive on the platform. If you have time on your hands, consumer-to-consumer platforms like Carousell, or the online Classifieds, Gumtree, can occasionally turn up hidden gems.

(Here are “The Best Places To Buy Second-Hand Luxury Bags And Accessories In Singapore“)

However, beware of counterfeit luxury goods   

Beware Of Counterfeit Luxury Goods
Credit: 123rf

That said, you run a higher risk of being scammed on purely online platforms. ‘Super fakes’ or ‘triple-A fakes’ are almost indistinguishable from authentic luxury goods, and even a pair of trained eyes can be confused by its quality. To avoid getting scammed, ensure that sellers are up-front about the information on the bag, provide images from many angles, and offer complete transparency in their dealings. Also, try asking if they have an enforceable return policy. If you don’t wish to deal with the potential heartache of paying for a fake at all, opt for physical stores that sell preloved bags that are authenticated and graded by experienced professionals (like Reebonz & Madam Milan).

(Read also “Fake Or Real? These 12 Tips Will Help You Spot The Genuine Designer Handbags“)

Several online platforms allow you to ‘swap’ or sell your luxury bags for cash

ReebonzReebonz sell catalog (1 or 2 lower-value goods)None
Reebonz White Glove (Consignment service, for more than 2 items, and/or if the value exceeds S$5,000)S$500 for items sold at S$5,000 to S$10,000 or 7% for anything sold above S$10,000 
Style Tribute SingaporeUnder S$30035%
S$301 to S$2,50030%
S$2,501 to S$5,00025% 
S$5,001 to S$20,00020%
S$20,001 and up 15% 
Information obtained from retailers above, accurate as of 18 Feb, 2021. Subject to changes. 

To ‘offset’ the cost of your new designer bag purchase and improve your cash flow, you could also consider selling the designer bags you currently own but rarely use. Better yet, many of these online luxury retailers would help you handle the logistics of the sale; examples include Reebonz, Style Tribute, and Madam Milan. Thanks to their sizable user base and authenticity guarantee, you’re also much more likely to sell your designer bags. That means you save time and mental bandwidth that would have otherwise gone into handling ‘low-ballers’ on P2P platforms. Just note that these luxury retailers charge a commission – so remember to budget for this before committing to a new designer handbag.

Consider renting for maximum affordability and flexibility

There’s always the possibility that you’ll get tired of a particular designer handbag after some time. So, here’s something to consider: why not rent? Renting offers many unique benefits. You’ll get the opportunity to try many different handbags, afford to be less careful (sort of) about bag maintenance, and it might even end up cheaper in the long-run (especially if you only need the bags for a short time period). As for the cherry on top: if you end up not liking the designer bag, you can easily return it guilt-free. Two local designer bag rental platforms you could try include StyleTheory and ThatBagIWant.

Make sure you live within your means

Make Sure You Live Within Your Means
Credit: 123rf

Be clear about the reasons you’re purchasing a designer handbag. Whatever your reasons, make sure you can afford the financial commitment that you’re getting yourself into (especially if you opt for Buy-Now, Pay-Later plan). The last thing you’d want to do is go into debt trying to impress others around you. And since designer handbags tend to be larger purchases, buy them using a rewards credit card to earn cashback and more savings in the future. 

This article is contributed by ValueChampion Singapore, a personal finance research firm.