While pawnshops may conjure up images of old smartphones and counterfeit watches, a chain of lavish boutiques has become an unlikely hit with the super rich.
Yesterday, pop star Janet Jackson was seen leaving the Posh Pawn store in Chelsea, part of the Prestige Pawnbrokers chain, where she is said to have looked at the Hermes handbag which can cost up to £29,000.
And while it might seem odd that a woman with an estimated fortune of £150million is browsing a pawnshop, it’s a well-known secret among fashion lovers that’s much easier to find. an elusive used Birkin bag than entering it. Hermes.
The chain of stores was founded by James Constantinou in Surrey’s expensive town of Weybridge in 2009 after he spotted an opportunity to take advantage of the cash-strapped wealthy during the recession.
From Cartier to Chanel and Rolex, high-end pawnshops sell a range of lavish products that have become popular with celebrities who can buy rare pieces and boost their eco-credentials by purchasing “pre-loved items”.
“Celebrities are now becoming very trendy when it comes to sustainability and it’s reflected in their purchases of luxury goods,” Constantinou, 55, told FEMAIL.
Pop star Janet Jackson, who is worth £150million, was seen leaving Chelsea’s Posh Pawn store, part of the Prestige Pawnbrokers chain, where she is said to have looked at the Hermes handbag which can cost up to £29 £000.
Products on sale include Louis Vuitton handbags, luggage and other vintage or bespoke pieces not found in a department store or high-end designer boutique.
Prestige Pawnbrokers, founded by James Constantinou in 2009, is a luxury pawnshop that offers high-end second-hand goods. Pictured is the exterior of the Chelsea-based store
The store, which features in Channel 4’s Posh Pawn series, sells a range of premium vintage brands and bespoke pieces, including Cartier rings and earrings, which can cost up to £79,950 each .
On their online store, shoppers can browse a set of Tiffany and Co Soleste earrings for £9,950, Cartier diamond and emerald panther earrings for £84,950 and a Rolex for £39,950.
With limited stock and long waiting lists to purchase the elusive Birkin bag at a Hermès store, Prestige Pawnbrokers is also offering shoppers the chance to get their hands on rare Hermès pieces.
From Cartier to Rolex, high-end pawnshops sell a range of lavish products that have become popular with eco-conscious fashion
With limited stock and long waiting lists to grab the elusive Birkin bag in store, Prestige Pawnbrokers is also giving shoppers the chance to get their hands on rare Hermès pieces.
The store’s luxury handbag expert, Claudia Valentin, who made a name for herself on TV show Posh Pawn, previously told FEMAIL: “It’s much easier to get a second-hand Birkin. I have used bags that haven’t even been used and are still in the box with their dust covers.
‘Fashions change, things become last season. There is a new color. Fashion victims who have bags as status symbols want to update as a new one comes out,” she explained.
Their online store has two of the coveted handbags, the Kelly in purple for £17,995 and the navy crocodile bag for £34,950.
Constantinou said fashion-conscious shoppers turn to his stores rather than Harrods or Harvey Nichols to avoid long store waiting lists, which can last up to two or three years for Hermès bags.
James Constantinou, 55, set up Prestige Pawnbrokers in expensive Surrey town of Weybridge in 2009 after spotting an opportunity to take advantage of wealthy people with cash flow problems during the recession.
“Paris head office will call all stores and let them know how much they can sell that week or month,” Claudia said.
“If you are allowed to sell eight in that month, you pick and choose who to sell them to.
‘If you’re a ‘somebody’, you can get one. Or if you have contacts or friends who work in the store, you might be in luck. They can do you a favor, but that’s up to them.
With even celebrities struggling to get their hands on the elusive arm candy, it’s no wonder they’re turning to a store like Posh Pawn instead.
“Consumers are unable to buy vintage and luxury items that have very small production numbers or, in some cases, are one-of-a-kind,” James said.
“Most of the items are handmade by artisans and simply cannot be produced in large quantities, resulting in long waiting lists for products.”
“We source particular exotic branded items for individuals and keep stock of these items in our retail stores.”
He says it’s often the case where wealthy shoppers have the money to buy a brand-new product, but just can’t find it anywhere other than one of his pawnshops.
“This happens regularly due to small production lines and high demand so products sell out quickly or long waiting lists so people come to us to get a pre-ordered item. loved faster,” he said.
The store, which features in Channel 4’s Posh Pawn series, sells a range of premium vintage brands and bespoke pieces, including various designer handbags.
James says their stores across the county receive weekly visits from various celebrities, who visit in person or use personal shoppers to locate rare and sought-after luxury branded items.
The businessman says the client includes a famous American socialite, who bought a vintage 1960s Hermès bag after failing to find the elusive piece elsewhere.
He explained: “An example of an item we purchased for a very well-known celebrity client was a Vintage Hermes mini Kelly sterling silver bag which was one of only ten products ever produced since the early 1990s.
‘This particular Hermès has only come on the market a few times and is now probably the most sought after on the market. Prices will only increase over time.
“The client is based in America and part of a dynasty in terms of family notoriety, she is said to be delighted with the piece.”
‘Although it was bought around four years ago at £70,000, the item could be worth double that today if it were to hit the market.’