Tucked away in a nondescript office park here, the luxury resale business Designer Vault recently opened a chic, chandeliered, appointment-only showroom to market what it claims to be the largest collection of vintage Chanel in the nation more than 1,500 handbags and accessories worth an estimated $2 million.
Less than 3 miles away, the headquarters for Fashionphile, which has boutiques in Beverly Hills and San Francisco, has floor-to-ceiling shelves and walk-in safes brimming with high-end designer purses, wallets and jewelry by Louis Vuitton, Prada, Dior, Cartier and many others. The bustling operation and abundant inventory is prompting the companys move to a new 30,000-square-foot warehouse in Carlsbad in July.
Welcome to the booming business of selling swank.
While demand for lower-market, so-called gateway designer bags Coach, Michael Kors, Kate Spade, Tory Burch, et al. is in decline, premium luxury resale is one of the fastest growing segments of the retail industry, generating from $16 billion to $25 billion a year, according to several studies.
Sales are being fueled by a seemingly insatiable and recession-proof desire for exclusive leather goods, brands that retain much of their original value and the ease of online sales, consignment, authentication and global shipping.