Buying a luxury bag is not an everyday purchase. Saving up enough money to finally take the plunge and snag that designer purse you’ve been eyeing forever is an incredibly sacred process. With all the blood, sweat, tears, and cold hard cash that goes into buying a luxury bag, you obviously want to take exceptionally good care of it — especially if you plan on putting it on the resale market one day. But how to resell handbags and get the most for your money?
The biggest mistake you can make is not caring for the handbag while it's in your possession. “From the moment you purchase a handbag, always handle it with care,” says Sangeeta Udayar, head of buying at Rebag, which just launched The Vault, an online destination for luxury resale resources. “There are countless ways your bag can sustain damage, but some are within your own control, like protecting it from the rain; minimizing the bag’s contact with the floor or other dirty surfaces; and removing any loose items like makeup or pens, which can break and stain the interior.”
We asked Udayar to walk us through some of her go-to tips and suggestions for keeping your designer purses in prime reselling shape.
If you’re planning to resell a luxury bag, what are the most important care factors?
“Be especially mindful of overexposed parts of your bag, like the handles, the back, plus the bottom and its base corners, which frequently come into contact with the oils on your skin, or with surfaces,” Udaya advises. “These areas are most likely to show signs of wear, which will affect its resale value. While prevention is our number one tip, exterior and interior cleaning is still a necessity. Depending on how frequently you wear the bag, make sure you clean it regularly to ensure that stains and dirt don’t settle in.”
How can you clean a luxury bag without damaging it?
Don’t attempt to clean a bag that you’re not comfortable handling yourself, says Udaya. If you feel even the least bit unsure, look for a professional cleaner who can get the job done effectively and safely. “While basic cleaning can be done at home, a professional service may be a worthy investment depending on the wear,” she says.
If you only want to freshen up your bag, check out these recommended cleaning techniques from The Vault. To quickly treat a leather handbag’s exterior, gently wipe it down with a baby or leather wipe that doesn’t contain any fragrance, oil, and alcohol.
“Be careful with the amount of pressure you apply using the wipe, especially with softer leathers like lambskin or box calf,” Udaya explains. “This will allow you to clearly see where more attention is required. Afterward, a microfiber cloth can be used to remove residue, and to buff out any visible scratches and small marks. Finally, you can apply leather conditioner to a microfiber cloth and buff the bag in a circular motion to restore luster to the leather.”
As for your bag’s interior, it depends on the material. For leather, a baby wipe followed by a microfiber cloth should work. For microfiber or suede interiors, compressed air cans will force dirt and debris out of the seams and corners, while a lint roller will catch any remaining dust.
What are the best storage solutions for luxury bags, especially for someone who doesn't have a lot of space?
Storage is essential for maintaining the condition of your handbag. Some tips: Fill the bag to help it keep its shape, tuck away accessories, and shield it with a protective dust bag.
“These all play a role in minimizing potential wear,” she says. “If closet space is tight, try out under bed storage and delicately arrange your handbags so they’re not pressing into one another, which could cause indentations and other structural issues with your bags.”
To maximize space, you could try the handbag nesting method of placing one bag inside of another, just like nesting dolls. But before you start stuffing bags inside other bags, bear in mind a few factors.
“You don’t want the dyed materials to rub off on one another, or one bag’s hardware to leave a dent on another bag,” Udaya says. “Plus, there’s the chance you may forget exactly where these bags were tucked away, but it’s still an option for those who are strapped for space.”
What are your best tips for traveling with a luxury bag?
“Tip number one: always bring your luxury bags in a carry-on, if possible,” she advises. “Accidents may happen with checked luggage, so if you’re particularly concerned over your luxury handbags, seal them in a protective bag and gently fit them into your carry-on. They’ll always be within reach.”
Also, take into consideration how many bags you’d like to travel with, then determine which bags are really essential. Select versatile styles you can wear multiple ways so you don’t have to pack too many handbags.