We all know that purchasing used items (or as they say in the luxury world: pre-loved) may be risky at times, and especially with expensive luxury goods it may be a bit deceiving. But if you know exactly what to look out for, you won’t have any problems purchasing pre-loved (ain’t nobody got time for fake replicas)! I will specifically be talking about Louis Vuitton products, since it’s the only brand I’ve purchased pre-loved from. I actually never imagined myself purchasing pre-loved items, until the day I became addicted to Louis Vuitton. You can honestly find excellent condition items (some look like they’ve hardly been used!) for a cheaper price than purchasing the same item brand new (ain’t nobody got time to purchase a thousand dollar purse every month).
There are also many other reasons why people go through the pre-loved market (besides it being cheaper!) Many designers like Louis Vuitton create limited edition collections, and if you miss out on purchasing it new, the only way to get your hands on the item is by purchasing it pre-loved. It also depends on your preference. Some people love the history of vintage items. Some people love the thicker canvas of older Louis Vuitton bags. Some people love the discontinued items they no longer make. Some people love the old models of certain products before they were ‘updated.’ And some people just love the ‘hunt’ and satisfaction of finding one in perfect condition for hundreds of dollars less.
The first Louis Vuitton item I purchased myself was a pre-loved agenda last year in March (you can see my first post with it here, where I unbox my inserts and LV note paper). I fell in love with the agenda when I saw a YouTube video of Charmaine Dulak feature her pre-loved agenda’s that she purchased for only $250. I immediately began searching online for an agenda, and had my mind set on a mint condition one. It did take me about a week to find the perfect one, but it gave me a lot of time to do research on the agenda. One year later, my agenda baby is still in perfect condition. Here are some tips on purchasing pre-loved luxury goods so you can undergo a smooth transaction like I did:
If you are looking for a specific product, be sure to look at tons of authentic photos and every detail on the item – from the stitching counts, date codes, rivets, to the colors, etc. Once you know what an authentic product looks like, it’ll be easier to spot fakes that are posted online. Research how to read the date codes and where they were made, the fonts of specific years, how they come packaged, etc.
There are many great platforms you can choose to purchase pre-loved luxury items – from online consignment stores like The Real Real, to bidding sites like eBay, and even to the handful of Facebook groups open.
For consignment stores, they are guaranteed to be authentic items because they authenticate them before selling. These kinds of stores are definitely a safe platform, especially like The Real Real where they sell not only luxury handbags, but jewelry, shoes, mens items, and more. You can also get a $25 credit as a new member and up to 90% off of retail price on most items!
There are tons of luxury Facebook groups as well, which you can search in the Facebook search bar for whatever group you would like to join. It may take a little while to get approved into the group, but once you are in you can see many people posting items they have for sale. I love the Louis Vuitton groups – the girls on there post so many amazing items and I love looking at what people are selling. Most of the transactions are through PayPal invoice, so if worse comes to worse PayPal can refund you if something is not as described. NEVER pay through ‘Friends and Family’ if the seller asks. It means you are both NOT covered if something happens, and you lose out on your money if they never end up sending the bag or something (or if its FAKE!) Many sellers ask for ‘Friends and Family’ because they don’t want to pay the 3% selling charge through Paypal, but most of the time it’s included in the price anyways. Only use Friends and Family if its *gasp* your actual friend…or family…lol. I ended up selling my Louis Vuitton Luco tote bag on a Facebook group, and the transaction went smooth – I was very happy everything turned out good!
If you’re looking for a specific item, in a specific condition, and a specific price range, then don’t rush! The item you’re looking for may not be on any of those platforms right now, but I promise you it will pop up sooner than you think. Just be consistent in looking around, and on many platforms you can ‘save a search‘ and it will email you when any of those specific items you’re looking for are posted. When I was looking for an agenda, I couldn’t find the right one to my qualifications at first. I almost settled for one that had a corner starting to fray and lift up because I wanted an agenda that bad. After I noticed the agenda didn’t give me that ‘that’s the one!’ feeling, I decided to wait it out and literally a couple days later I ended up finding the perfect one – which had only been used once and at the perfect price (it also came with a LV ruler, which are rare these days)! The right one will pop up for you, just give it time! There are always new sales!
Sometimes descriptions aren’t always informative, and photos may be deceiving. Always try and ask the seller questions if you need more information. The first bag I purchased pre-loved was the discontinued Sarria Mini bag in Damier Ebene print (which is my most used bag to this day, btw). When I purchase pre-loved, I try and find the most perfect looking item – like it has hardly been used. The photos looked amazing, and I even messaged the seller to verify if it had any kind of wear on it, because the photos looked perfect. They said the bag was in excellent condition with no signs of wear. When I received the bag, I noticed everything was perfect as the seller had mentioned, except for the smell. I had never purchased pre-loved bags before, so I wasn’t aware of the possible ‘odors’ to look out for. The description didn’t mention if it had an odor or not, but I also didn’t ask. For future reference, if the listing doesn’t mention it, I would ask. I’m very sensitive to odors and could have returned the bag, but the price point was just too amazing. So I decided to clean up the bag myself. It had a type of storage/musty odor, and I tried dryer sheets in the bag, a car air freshener, coffee beans, baking soda, and febreeze. I then put the bag in a box and closed it up with all the fresheners in the interior and exterior of the bag. I then let the bag get fresh air outside on the balcony on a sunny day for a few hours at a time. It took about a month for the smell to finally deteriorate, and I was finally able to use the bag! The bag has no trace of that smell anymore – it now smells like me! To eliminate this problem again, I always ask if there is an odor when purchasing pre-loved now.
The Sarria Mini still looks amazing though, and I’ve had it almost a year. It’s held up incredibly good! Funny story: While I was at a Louis Vuitton store last month, I had it on the counter as I tried on a couple other bags. A lady actually came up and grabbed my Sarria Mini from the counter and started asking a Sales Associate if she can get that bag. I immediately was like ‘Excuse me, That’s my bag!’ She looked and saw my stuff in the bag and apologized. My SA also apologized about the incident, and said ‘Your bag looks so new, so I can see why she wanted it.’ It made me happy that I found such an amazing condition bag that has been so useful to me!
From all the research I’ve done, I know I’m pretty skilled at differentiating authentic to fake. From all three pre-loved Louis Vuitton items I’ve purchased, I’ve been correct at purchasing authentic ones. There are professional authenticators out there who you can pay to get a verbal or certificate of authenticity (it’s also good to have for reselling the bag too.) For my own safety, I still get all my items authenticated. I use Meme’s Treasures – she’s very quick in getting back to you. All I had to do was pay on her site through Paypal and then text her photos of my bag (specifically the rivets, buttons, date code, made in stamp, and overall bag.) Many people pay to get the item authenticated before they purchase the item, but I’ve honestly never done that. I’m pretty secure on knowing my item is authentic, but for a second opinion I just wait until I receive the bag, then send photos to Meme’s to get it authenticated with a formal letter. I would highly recommend getting your items authenticated, just so you are 100% sure you didn’t end up getting a really good replica! It’s around $25 to authenticate, which is not much compared to the bag you just bought 😉
I hope this guide was helpful to you in purchasing pre-loved items, especially if it’s your first time! Pre-loved is an amazing route to go if you can find one in the condition and budget are you looking for! It’s definitely a satisfying feeling when you accomplish that, and I hope you do too! If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment and I will respond as soon as possible!
Be sure to check out The Real Real for some amazing deals and excellent condition items!