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CC 203: The Newbie From Down Under

Today, we’re checking in with a collector hailing from Australia who is two years into her collecting journey. After getting her first designer bag, a Louis Vuitton Alma, for her 30th birthday, CC went on to add some Chanel to her collection, though she’s since sold off most of it in order to hone in on Hermès.

Speaking of Hermès, for her last birthday, CC 203 was able to snag a stunning green Picotin 18. CC 203 enjoys sharing the shopping experience with her husband, and though she budgets well yearly for each purchase, her husband will occasionally chip in to help.

A true collector at the core, this handbag lover enjoys the whole process of collecting and enjoys the sparks of creativity that shopping in-store provides. Read the full CC below, and don’t forget to submit your own!

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Basic Bio

Your Age? 31
Your Gender Identity? Female
Where do you live? Sydney, Australia
What is your occupation? Administrator
What industry do you work in? Tertiary Education
Your annual salary? $70,000
Total Household Income? $150,000
Are you a PurseForum member? Yes

Onto The Bags

How many bags do you own? 7

What bags are in your collection?

CC 203 Collection 3

How much is your collection worth? Around $14,000

What is your most expensive bag? Hermès Picotin 18

Do you ever regret any of your bag purchases? If so, which ones and why? I did previously have more Vintage Chanel pieces, but one had a push clasp and I was scared that it would fall apart, so it was re-homed. Another Vintage Chanel Jumbo Maxi was also sold as the size was not right for me and I have now minimised everything I carry. I also sold my Louis Vuitton Alma because again, it was too big for me.

What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? It was a Louis Vuitton Alma, which I received for my 30th birthday! It came with a matching coin purse which was my favourite part of the purchase.

Is there a specific bag you are looking to purchase next? I am really honing in on more Hermès pieces. My next few I am hoping would be:

– Hermès Bolide
– Hermès Evelyne TPM
– Hermès Kelly (size 25, 28 or 32)

Do you have a ‘holy grail’ dream bag you’ve always wanted to own? My holy grail would be a Hermès Kelly 25, GHW, in noir.

Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? I was able to get my Hermès Picotin on my last birthday at the boutique, so that piece is quite sentimental.

Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated? Yes, mainly when I am shopping high street or in luxury stores. The service usually improves, and I can see that they’ve noticed what I’m wearing and even what my husband is wearing that day. I understand they see it more as a target to sell me something, based on my previous experience in retail. Perhaps this is why I like the low-key Hermès items that are more subtle.

How do you take care of your bags? I put them on a shelf away from the window, so I can see them and grab them as I need to; the leather needs to breathe, after all! I have heard that leaving the bags in the dust bag in the boxes can cause mold and can eventually absorb the scent of the glue of the box, so I don’t utilize these.

If I buy a vintage bag, I usually put an insert so I don’t scratch the inside of the bag, and if there is a chain, it gets pulled inside the bag to minimise the indenting on the leather. If the inside of the bag is leather, I will also get an insert to prevent scratches. Any hardware that is heavy will be removed when I am not using the bag and will be placed inside the bag.

CC 203 Collection

On Shopping

How often do you buy new bags? My discussion with my husband was one luxury bag per year. But I have already purchased two this year…

Do you prefer shopping for bags online or in-store? Why? Both. I prefer to see something in store to try it on. If I am purchasing pre-loved, sometimes I don’t get the chance to look at the item physically, so I ensure I read all the measurements and try to see how big an item is and, more importantly, that it fits my phone.

Which stores do you frequent the most? Hermès and watch stores for my husband. I go online for everything else.

Have you ever returned a bag after purchasing it? Why did you make that decision? Yes! I purchased a pre-loved Hermès Kelly 32 in black box leather on a re-sale website, but they weren’t completely honest about the condition of the bag. So it went back as there was a tear on the side panel (it would have probably cost so much more to fix rather than to choose an alternative bag), and there was rust on the leather on the handle, not to mention so much tearing in the leather.

Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? Yes, the RealReal, Vestiaire and eBay. You can find some true gems secondhand, but you have to be super careful – authenticate your items once you receive them and ensure it is the same bag as was advertised.

Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? Yes, I’ve sold some of my Chanel pieces to fund my Hermès items. I’ve sold them at a local consignment store in my city. Do your research and shop around at who will give you the best deal- and read ALL the terms and conditions!

Do you ever donate or gift your old bags? If so, to whom? I only do this with non-luxury bags.

Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? Yes, I guess we all feel it somehow. When I was younger, it was more of me looking up to everyone around me and what they wore. These days I feel the pressure that some people have more items than me (mainly on social media), which is something I try not to get caught up with. My husband definitely grounds me and always reminds me of how lucky I am to have what I have and that not everyone is as fortunate to be able to spend the way I do.

Do you consider your bag purchases investments? Yes, that’s how I convince my husband sometimes…the value increases! But would I sell my items? Only time will tell.

Do you follow the latest fashion trends when deciding on your next purchase, or do you prefer classic styles? I prefer classic styles but in fun colours that match my wardrobe.

Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? Yes, especially at Hermès. I don’t think my relationship is the best one, because I don’t buy as much as others. My Hermès store is competitive because there are a lot of high-profile people who live in my city and tourists who come in. I bring my husband to the store because we both genuinely love it, but we haven’t been consistent with making appointments with our SA, so we are usually walk-in customers. There have been times that we’ve totally vibed with some SAs and also the complete opposite, so this is still a work in progress.

Do you enjoy shopping beyond just acquiring something new? Yes, I love seeing creative items from different stores. Also some displays are quite beautiful so it is nice to wander around sometimes. I don’t consider myself a shopaholic, because I try and pull back from buying more. Instead, I try and acquire things that will last a very long time. Sometimes I just walk around the stores to get my creative juices going.

Have you ever felt you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity or gender? No, I have been fortunate not to feel this way. If you are a confident person, this will come across in all aspects of your life, and no sales associate should make you feel a certain way because of who you are.

What are some factors that may dissuade you from buying a bag, even if you like it? The price, because to me, it has to be worth it. How is the bag created, what part of the world is the leather from, can I maximise my use of this item, what is the quality like, etc. – these are all things I consider when I am purchasing an item.

Whether I am buying this because it is trending or because I feel like it will last forever in my wardrobe- If I can figure out at least 3 occasions I can use the item, I will go for it. But if it is only for the evening and it costs too much, then I won’t pull the trigger.

Is there a brand you outright refuse to buy? Why? I won’t completely refuse to buy anything, but if it doesn’t fit my style, I won’t do it. Also if some brands are charging high prices but are giving low quality, then it doesn’t go on my radar.

On Budgeting & Perceptions

Who pays for your bags? Me! Some bags have been gifts from my parents (Vintage Dior, other contemporary bags), but it is mainly me saving for these items. Sometimes my husband chips in if I need extra funding.

Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? Yes, but the budget varies. I try to target for around $10,000 annually.

Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? When I was young, yes. But now that I have learnt where that money goes, I avoid it at all costs.

Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? No, I get excited to show him what I’ve purchased! He gets excited for me too.

Have your friends or family ever criticized your bag-buying habits? If so, how did you respond? My parents think that I spend too much money on certain items. I grew up not purchasing luxury because I chose to spend on other items like travel. But now, purchasing luxury goods is my choice and they can talk to me about it, but I won’t stop doing it. I think my parents see it as part of my success that I can make these purchases.

Have you ever made a significant sacrifice to afford a bag? If so, what was it? Trying to save money and maybe selling my current bags to afford other bags.

Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? Yes, sometimes I do feel like I have an addiction because of how much time I spend looking at things. But I don’t always buy things, so it’s not too problematic.

Let’s get personal…

Any other expensive hobbies or passions? Real estate & jewelry

What is your greatest fear? Losing my loved ones.

Which living person do you most admire? Heart Evangelista – such a creative mind and very stylish.

What or who is the greatest love of your life? My husband- he is my everything.

What is your favorite journey you have taken so far? New York, April 2022- my 30th birthday celebration with my husband.

Any parting words you would like to share with our readers? Thanks for taking the time to read about my life…I hope you have a great day!