Chanel also limited sales of handbags in certain markets and also raised prices by 20%. While the main market is flooded with customer interest, with reports of styles being sold even on pre-order, resale is heating up like never before. For savvy customers, making the most of the challenge of supply and demand presents significant upside potential.
Ms Gillespie, whose second-hand business was listed as a Fast Starter in The Australian Financial Review in 2020, said demand for prestige handbags was “through the roof.”
Sold out in 20 minutes
“The primary market challenges, in combination with COVID-19, have really seen the secondary market heat up,” she said. “We have customers on waitlists for items, and when we list items on our site, they often disappear within minutes.
“We recently listed a Hermès handbag for $20,000, and 20 minutes later it was sold. Customers will tell us that they check our site 10-20 times a day trying to find that special piece.
Gab Waller has made a career out of finding hard-to-find luxury items for her customers, and now considers resale as one of the avenues through which she can source handbags, clothing and shoes.
When her customers can’t find a coveted handbag or dress at their local luxury flagship, they call Ms. Waller. About 40% of his clients are still in his native Australia. The rest, including celebrity clients such as the Kardashian family, come from the United States, the Middle East and Europe.
The brand that unites them? “Chanel, Chanel, Chanel,” Ms. Waller said. “There are one or two brands that have real catwalk appeal. We get pre-order requests as soon as people see the shows, which is very rare with other brands.
Most of the time, demand spikes when customers see a celebrity wearing an item, but with Chanel, interest spikes as soon as the show ends, Ms. Waller said.
“Runway pieces are always a good investment because they essentially become collectibles,” she said.
“On the other hand, there are pieces that are selling now from brands and you’re pretty sure they’ll be remade next season, so they don’t hold their value as much.
“That said, when reproduced they will usually be more expensive – so if you have a piece to sell you can probably still make money on it.”
Mrs. Gillespie agreed. “A Louis Vuitton Neverfull can often sell for close to full retail price in the secondary market because the RRP has increased.”
With a brand like Chanel, Ms Gillespie said, many shoppers were now shut out of the primary market. “Chanel’s prices have skyrocketed over the past few years, which has increased demand in the resale market. When a bag costs $14,000, that’s out of a lot of people’s price range.
Items that held their value were generally classic pieces in neutral colors, Gillespie added.
“People often feel like a unique, limited-edition bag is worth so much more,” she said. “But most people want the most common version of something. They want it in black, not green. They are not angry buyers. They want the classics.