Authentic Designer Handbags at a Discount

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Authentic Designer Handbags - Yes You Can Buy Them at a Discount

By Dale Guiducci

The manufacture of fake or replica designer handbags has received a lot of attention in the media, and deservedly so. Designers have made an investment in the promotion of their brand name, and their intellectual property rights should be protected. Unfortunately, because of this attention, paranoia has overcome consumers. Many people now believe that in order to own a genuine designer bag it has to be purchased at a designer store or authorized reseller at full retail price. This simply isn't the case.

Handbags are no different than shoes, clothes, electronics and nearly every other consumer product. Authentic designer handbags, like all these other products, can be purchased at less than retail prices at outlets that deal in overstock merchandise. These bags are not the current season styles perhaps. But women flock to discount shoe stores (traditional and online) to buy last years top name designer shoes at 25-50% off retail and don't think twice about authenticity. A good example of this is DSW (Designer Shoe Warehouse). DSW has over 200 stores in 36 states. They sell top designer men's and women's shoes at "less than department store sale prices". The Men's Wearhouse has been selling top name Italian-made suits to men for years at less than half the retail price. And today Overstock.com has become extremely successful by giving consumers access to all kinds of consumer products for a substantial discount.

The reason why these stores exist and thrive is the same reason a woman can buy a designer handbag at a discounted price. It's a function of supply and demand. Not all of the current season's handbags, shoes, suits or other items will sell at the authorized reseller's stores, so they will have to find a way of moving them to make room for next season's styles.

Buyers for retailers need to place their orders for the new styles months before they are produced and shipped. Buyers typically see a few items from the proposed new line and make buying decisions based on those samples. How many of what style and color will they sell? They can make an educated guess but really can't be sure. Maybe another designer will be hot in the fall and certain handbags will sit on the shelves, with a $1200 price tag no less. So what happens when all the bags don't sell and the next new line is ready to be put on the shelves? This is expensive inventory and can't be simply thrown away, and they can't sit in the warehouse either. The designer certainly isn't taking them back. These bags must be sold to companies that make their living finding markets for overstock merchandise. This process takes place several times a year, in every city in the world creating a huge opportunity for all types of goods including designer handbags. And the U.S. is still the biggest consumer market in the world, especially for high priced items like designer handbags.

One might argue that classic bags like the Chloe Paddington have been selling in retail stores for 3 years now, which is true. But the Paddingtons that were produced in 2005 and perhaps 2006 are not sitting on the shelf at Neiman-Marcus right now. They were either sold or returned, and what sits there now are the 2007 Paddingtons. Classic handbags such as the Paddington and the Marc Jacobs Venetia get reproduced every year, often with a new twist so that the woman that needs the new style has to go buy it and pay retail. But if you're perfectly happy carrying a 2005 or 2006 Marc Jacobs Blake, you can buy one for a discount, sometimes a large discount. Online stores that sell these handbags to the public are good resources for finding styles that aren't produced anymore as well.

This presents an opportunity to women to buy an authentic designer handbag for a lot less than retail. There are many companies on the internet that help keep the price down even further because they don't have the overhead of a brick and mortar retailer. Most of these companies are very reputable and buy from excellent sources. If you buy a bag from one of these companies and don't like it or don't feel that it's authentic, then you will be able to return it for a full refund. You are protected. However, DO NOT buy from any company that will not allow you to return the bag for any reason within a specified period of time, or does not clearly state their location and contact information.

But how do you know the bag is authentic if it doesn't come from the designer store or authorized reseller? Take heart ladies, it really is fairly easy to tell the difference. If someone has absolutely no knowledge of designer items, or has never seen one and is buying a designer piece for the first time, it may require a little homework. One suggestion is to visit an authorized retailer such as Neiman-Marcus, Nordstrom, etc and look at the handbags from the designer of choice. If someone spends just a few minutes really looking at, feeling and smelling the real bag, it will be hard to be fool them with an imitation. Look at and touch the bag, open it up, and yes, smell the bag. Imitations can smell like the chemicals that were used to treat the leather. When handling the genuine article one should easily smell the aroma of genuine leather.

Another suggestion is to refer to the Authenticity Guide at http://www.eStyleSense.com. If you are looking for information about Chloe, Fendi, Gucci, Marc Jacobs, Prada or TOD's you will find specifics on what these designers have done to protect their brand from forgeries and therefore what you can look at in a bag to protect yourself from buying a fake handbag. There is also general information about what to look for in any designer handbag.

You will discover that knockoff handbags typically do not even compare to the real deal. Replicas can be bought at a swap meet or purse party for $50. They don't feel like calf skin leather and they certainly don't smell like it. Anyone fooled by these bags just isn't paying attention, has done no homework, or just wants to think it's real.

Go ahead and take the step. Find an online seller of discount designer handbags. Buy from one of these companies and check out the bag. Bring the bag to Neimans or Saks. Compare it. If you buy from a reputable online retailer you will be pleasantly surprised, and extremely excited that you saved a lot of money. Then perhaps you can also afford to buy that Fendi Mamma bag you've had your eye on.

Dale Guiducci is co-owner of eStyleSense.com, an internet-based company specializing in discount designer handbags and accessories. Mr. Guiducci is a graduate of Boston College, has over 25 years business experience and has represented companies such as T.G.I Friday's, CompUSA, Marcus & Millichap and Transoft, Inc. He currently lives in La Mesa, CA with his wife Shirley.

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