Chanel instituted a global price increase on all classic bags this past week, and bag ladies are up in single flap slinging arms. The price of a small classic handbag went from $8,200 to $9,600, which is a whopping 17% price hike. What is a Chanel lover to do? Well, there is good news and bad news, and it’s all bag news.
Here are my honest thoughts on the global Chanel price increase:
But first, a little history lesson.
Ten years ago, my husband gifted me with a classic Chanel maxi double flap in black caviar leather with gold hardware. It was instantly the crown jewel of my handbag collection. Today, ten years later, it’s worth double what he paid for it at the Madison Avenue store, “where all the women looked like cats.” It is still the crown jewel of my collection.
Chanel has been steadily and strategically raising prices since before the day that bag arrived in my arms. The good news is, a classic Chanel bag like my Maxi now holds an ROI of 100%. That is, if I if I could ever bring myself to sell it. However, with a track record of increased value year over year, why wouldn’t one hold on to a gem like that for investment purposes alone? The bad news is, if you are currently saving for one, that bag is not going to get any cheaper.
Brand loyalists of Chanel will continue to buy, no doubt. If you find the price increase upsetting, congratulations, you’re a person.
If you are a Chanel loyalist, then you already know that Chanel has already enforced a cap of two classic handbags per client per year. With that, Chanel buyers were already becoming conditioned to be selective and strategic about their classic bag purchases. That fact, combined with the price increase, will drive second hand market sales upward, which are already seeing prices soar well over retail. Chanel is purposely increasing demand and decreasing supply to create rarity, and frankly, it’s not the worst brand strategy. If it turns some people off the brand, they are not crying about it. That’s what they want.
All of these things considered, I will continue to shop at the Chanel boutique in the same way I have:
1. I must absolutely love it with no reservations.
Whether I am buying for myself, a loved one, or I am gifted, I must love it with no hesitations. Just last year, I bought a kelly green 19, which I LOVED, but what I really wanted was the emerald green mini. I returned the 19 because my instincts told me it was the right thing to do, and months later my husband snagged the emerald mini at the Las Vegas boutique. Yes, he is the coolest. He is also a smart investor and knows these bags are worth more than gold (literally) and his wife loves them so it’s win win. I still want a leather 19. Just waiting for the right color that leaves me with no doubts.
2. Whether I buy it or it is a gift, I must wear it regularly.
If I don’t see it being used, I don’t get it or keep it. Bags are meant to be worn and loved. I preordered the mini tennis bag and although I loved the novelty of it, I decided to pass on it since it was canvas and would get too dirty with wear and I could fit absolutely nothing in it.
3. It must be a piece that I know will increase in value.
The classics fit this bill, period. However, there are certain novelty or “fashion” bags that become “unicorns” or highly sought after, highly valuable pieces. I essentially presented a power point to my husband about the return of the heart bag before mine arrived on reserve, detailing the price history of the original 90’s design which now sells for upwards of $20K.
I will also continue to shop for Chanel on the second hand market for:
1. The one that got away.
This was a big one for me, and I was not able to find it when it released in a wallet on chain, which is the size I wanted:
2. Only if the price is at or below retail.
I could not believe my eyes when I saw this beauty. If you’re looking for one, this is the best deal I’ve seen on this houndstooth in the most sought after iteration: the 19.
3. My dream bag, since it is no longer produced.
At the top of my dream bag list is a turquoise mini classic or small in caviar with gold hardware. The mini is no longer produced in caviar, so I would have to find one on the second hand market. The Real Real, Fashionphile, and Rebag are some of the best and most reasonable resale spaces which regularly offer discounts and trade-in opportunities. I have yet to see one from a reputable reseller.
4. Unique vintage pieces
My favorite destination for vintage Chanel is LA based Moonstone Vintage. That’s where I scored my vintage bandana print tote.
In summary, this just confirms that Chanel is a smart investment. If you love it, you keep rocking it. If you don’t love it, don’t wear it. That’s what personal style is truly about.
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