4 Ways to Find Luxury Brands for Less Without Getting Ripped Off
If you are a fashionista on a budget, you have options beyond Ebay for your discretionary spending. While it may be the largest online forum providing anything from high-end luxury brands to mass-market retail items, successfully navigating eBay can be challenging. A common refrain has been the uncertainty of knowing if one just scored a great deal or became an unwitting participant in counterfeit-goods trafficking. To follow are a few secondary marketplaces for luxury brands (that limit the possibility of committing copyright infringement).
Ways to Find Luxury Brands for Less – Fashionphile
Although not as “budget-y” as some other options, if you would like your pre-owned item “like new”, Fashionphile (www.fashionphile.com) just might be the place. Established in 1999, they have one of the largest selections of vintage, rare, and limited edition luxury handbags and accessories: think Balenciaga, Fendi, Hermès, Dior, Louis Vuitton, and Prada. Unlike peer-to-peer consignment sites, Fashionphile maintains the inventory for their listings: taking possession of and inspecting every item they sell, thus guaranteeing authenticity or your money back. This is the resale equivalent of a certified pre-owned Lexus, plus they have layaway!
Ways to Find Luxury Brands for Less – TheRealReal
For ready-to-wear, in addition to leather goods, jewelry, and accessories, TheRealReal (www.therealreal.com) is a keeper. All items listed on their site have passed a multi-point inspection and reside in the company’s inventory. They also have slightly looser standards on what they will accept in terms of condition; however, all wear is photographed and fully disclosed in the item’s summary. Moreover, it is priced accordingly. Here goods are priced to move and sales are featured frequently. But, you must remember to enter the sale code at checkout (it is not automatic). Please be aware that some discounted items are not returnable; this, too, is clearly listed in the item’s description.
Peer-to-peer consignment sites are the answer for bargain hunters. Some caution is advised when evaluating listings that don’t pass through 3rd party authentication; however, pricing can be much more competitive. If you are knowledgeable about the brand, their service/marker’s marks, date code conventions, etc. then you have what you need to make safer purchases. Some of the best gems can be unearthed from these sites since there will be a much wider range of wear/conditions coupled with many motivated sellers. Messages to sellers asking for additional information and pictures are not only allowed, but encouraged.
Ways to Find Luxury Brands for Less – Tradesy
Tradesy (www.tradesy.com) is a one-stop shop for everything from an Hermès Birkin to Athleta leggings or Bond No. 9 perfume. Like eBay, this consignment platform allows sellers to upload photos, create an item narrative, determine shipping options, and set prices. While prices are often firm, there are no restrictions against messaging the seller to make a reasonable, lower offer. Of note, on occasion I have seen prices that are higher than one would pay for that same item retail, especially for the Hermès Clic Clac bracelets. Presumably, this is based on rarity – but do check that brand’s ecommerce presence to verify you aren’t paying a higher consignment price than the manufacturer’s for in-season merchandise. Although Tradesy has a zero-tolerance policy against counterfeit goods, you only have 4 days upon receipt of the item to return it for any reason. So, inspect your purchases immediately. Sellers don’t have visible ratings, but one can see a seller’s closet, number of followers, and what they have sold in the past.
Ways to Find Luxury Brands for Less – PoshMark
Fashion editors frequently promote the mix of high (expensive ‘statement’ items) and low (mass market retail), PoshMark (www.poshmark.com) is the ultimate marriage of both for buyers, sellers, and traders. You can find Banana Republic from 3 seasons ago, vintage Gucci, and everything in-between with this mobile platform. Some items are NWT (new with tags), while others fairly battered; nonetheless, sellers typically provide good color commentary about their listings (with photos). Moreover, here you can make offers to sellers and in my experience: most offers come in the crazy low-ball variety. It would appear the general expectation of the PoshMark purchaser is that sale prices should be 50% to 60% lower than the original retail price (depending on condition and item). Also, sellers are rated here on a star scale of 1 star (worst) to 5 stars (best) with customers sometimes providing additional, narrative feedback. Of the options, PoshMark may provide the biggest bargains, but offerings might not be policed to the same degree as other marketplaces. That said, there is the Posh Protect refund policy if you discover undisclosed damage, incorrect or missing items, inaccurate descriptions, or that it’s counterfeit; however, this must be reported within 3 days of delivery confirmation. Otherwise, all sales are final.
A final note: besides the usual payment options (Visa, MC, AMEX, PayPal) only Fashionphile provides layaway. Since we are talking about elective purchases and you want to be a responsible steward of your resources, it is wisest to pay cash: debit card, PayPal linked to your bank account, or layaway. As my mom would say, “if you can’t pay cash for it, you can’t have it”. Very good advice my reptilian brain would sometimes ignore when faced with instant gratification. Please shop responsibly.
Blogger disclosure: I have first-hand knowledge of the above referenced sites both as consignor and purchaser, but have received no compensation or special consideration for the reviews.
Article Written by Joan Alexandre for Beyond Debt