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 company?s 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.