I walked out of the Italian based luxury goods store, Bottega Veneta, in Manhattan, NY with a heavy heart; partially from falling in love with the most beautiful bag I have ever seen (and not buying it), as well as feeling like a complete sucker for investing in brands that I didn’t really like to keep up a certain image or attempt to send the message of, “I got it”.
For more than four years I actively invested my dollars and cents into the luxury French brand, Louis Vuitton. Publicly and proudly sharing my large collection on social media platforms and always looking for the “next best” purchase to keep up with the “Joneses”.. the really rich Joneses.
I was a part of luxury handbag forums, Buy, Sell, Trade (BST) groups and in public would glare at any spotted Louis Vuitton bag, determined to figure out whether it was authentic. While I can’t say that I never liked Louis Vuitton bags, I can say that I liked the message that they sent more than the actually functionality or look of the bags.
Louis Vuitton, most known for their signature “LV” or Damier (Ebene and Azur) canvas patterns are widely recognizable around the world. While the company history is admirable, you aren’t really thinking of that when you see the bag. When you see someone carrying a Louis Vuitton handbag, you can assume that they spent a pretty penny, as most Louis Vuitton bags start at $900 USD.
Investment in Louis Vuitton and many other fashion houses (such as Gucci, Prada, and Chanel, to name a few) were ways that some consumers used to send a message to the world around them.
That message: I spent a lot of money on my handbag.
I feel conflicted in writing this post because: it’s not all inclusive (please understand this), some people buy Louis Vuitton or other luxury brands because they really do like them and that is fantastic! Yet, some buy for reasons more similar to mine. Additionally, this post has the potential to make me come across as shallow, but I promised ya’ll transparency.. so here’s the tea.
I spent thousands of dollars on Louis Vuitton, not because I liked them, but because I liked how it made me appear or the assumed social class that others would place me in because of the type of bag I carried, so yeah, I was being shallow.
As a puddle on a hot day..
Needless to say, this is a learning lesson and a gut check. Thankfully, the resale market for Louis Vuitton is great, and in less than 24 hours I sold all of the handbags and small leather goods (SLGs) that I wanted to get rid of, pocketing over $2.5K.
Moreover, the core value of Bottega Veneta, the luxury brand mentioned above is, when your own initials are enough. The company doesn’t have a distinct pattern or label that is displayed on their handbags. All bags are made in one workshop in Italy and artisans carefully craft each handbag. Outside of the extreme attention to detail and core value that throws shots at many of the major fashion houses, I was drawn to the brand’s POV regarding luxury..
“Luxury is a point of view that is more about what you hide than what you show. It is relentless pursuit of excellence and quality for its own sake and your own pleasure. Not to show-off.”
– Tomas Maier, Creative Director of Bottega Veneta
While shopping in Manhattan I dropped into this store on a whim, my cousin Crystal asked had I ever heard of the brand and I quickly replied, “No, I haven’t…”
Upon entry I was shocked to see the most beautiful leather handbags I have ever seen. My sales associate, Molly, glanced at my boastful Louis Vuitton Neverfull MM bag I was carrying that day and continued to greet me with a smile. She asked what sort of bag I was looking for and I explained that I just wanted something plain and black.
“Well, you’ve come to the right place,” Molly said while grabbing an arms full of various bags. While swooning over handbags for the next 30 minutes, Molly explained to me the mission and values of the company, sharing that the brand isn’t interested in having their name or a distinct logo all over their handbags, but rather creating quality bags that allow the consumer to send their own message via individual style.
While I didn’t purchase a Bottega Veneta bag in Manhattan, I knew that it was time for me to say goodbye to my Louis Vuitton collection when I returned home. I couldn’t keep these bags, because I really didn’t enjoy them or use them frequently enough. I bought them for the wrong reasons and it was time to let someone else enjoy them. Most importantly, it was time for me to invest in brands that I really liked, not ones that I felt compelled to buy into because they were recognizable.
So, whether you love, hate, or don’t even know a thing about Louis Vuitton, I urge you to invest your time, energy, resources, and otherwise into things that truly bring you joy. There’s no need to try and keep up, because that is a losing battle.
Do things for you, and always remember that you (and your initials) are enough.
All the best,