Sunday, November 6, 2016

Vestiaire Collective Offers Worldwide Shopping Exploration

Writing a shopping blog sometimes feels like managing a hedge fund. In both fields we work to identify vulnerabilities in the market. Sometimes that means spotting a trend before prices rise, as was the case when we first spotted the Celine luggage tote, in 2011. (Back then the retail price was just $2000!) Other times that means hitting the streets to scope out great sales or finding new and interesting places to shop.






Most recently, we've been haunting the european-based luxury market place, Vestiaire Collective. At any given time, the site boasts 300,000 items from more than 10 countries around that world. The best part is that each item is authenticated and guaranteed, which takes a lot of the risk out of overseas consignment shopping. (Hedge funds specialize in mitigating risk.) We have found the site is particularly great for resourcing for designer items that might be rare, vintage or brands that aren't as popular in the US.

For instance, we have been stalking Delvaux bags for about the past year. Retail prices normally top $8000 and spotting one locally is like seeing a unicorn. The company launched its first bag at the Brussels World Fair, in 1958, and the bags have been a steady part of royal European fashion. Resale prices for the bags are quite reasonable when they become available. Vestiaire Collective has one of the most steady streams. Here is the brand's most classic style, The Brilliant, that's like-new and priced at just $578. The same one is sold at Barneys for $4300.

It doesn't hurt either that the dollar is super strong. We found these brand new Gucci loafers that come to just $387 and here are a super pair of Princetown Gucci slides for $588. If you've been stalking the Chloe bags or Anya Hindmarch, this is a great place to find one within your budget. The currency conversion makes almost any European item more attractive.

Unlike other sites, Vestiaire Collective allows you to set alerts when an item you're looking for is posted, it lets you track markdowns or send a seller an offer. So, if you're lusting after a Chanel Boy Bag tote, like me, you can stalk it and track it and place offers. This especially works well if you're looking for clothing in a particular size. Just think, we have almost all the same tools as a hedge fund manager-- minus the Bloomberg terminal.

Take note, items shipping from Europe that cost more than $800 will have import duties and taxes. We suggest trying to negotiate item prices to be less than $800 whenever possible to save on those extra fees.

Madison Avenue Spy readers can take advantage of a super special discount. Right now, you can use the code MADAVESPYVC and save 10% off anything on the site and receive free shipping on purchases over $200. There are no restrictions, but the code does expire on November 10. Let your heart be your compass-- but don't wait too long.

So just when you begin to think that hedge fund managers have all the fun, ask one about their collateralized debt obligation (CDO). We bet dollars to donuts you can have a lot more fun sourcing vintage Chanel jewelry.

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