“People are still coveting these styles.”
While Diana Nguyen, founder of the consignment site Lux Second Chance, knows that the concept of “luxury is based on scarcity”, she actually launched her business to provide more opportunities for consumers and collectors to get their hands on their favourite pieces.
“I love consignment,” says Nguyen, noting that she’s personally been a fan of that way of shopping for over 15 years–before it became one of the buzziest ways to buy hard-to-acquire items or the season’s latest trends. “But it’s not about the brand itself,” she notes of her high-end habit. “I’m a minimalist, so it’s about the quality.”
When Nguyen returned to Canada after working in the banking sector in Asia five years ago, she wanted to slow down the pace of her professional life and find a way to nurture her interest in tech and fashion. She’d noticed that in Canada, much of the consignment industry at the time was localized, and she wanted to develop a way to sell high-end goods from around the world–a kind of one-stop shop for the best of what fashion has to offer.
Starting off by selling 23 of her own handbags, Nguyen’s idea flourished thanks to her site’s ability to bring together an impressive inventory of pieces by brands like Hermès, Chanel, Goyard and Celine. “Our site [features] a bunch of [consignment] stores on one platform,” she notes, adding that Lux Second Chance’s reach has expanded from the Canadian market to include sellers in the U.S. and Europe.
One might be surprised by the fact that people are still keen to get their hands on a Birkin or Boy bag given the current economy, but Nguyen points out that there are several reasons why a business like hers has maintained–and grown–its clientele in the last few months.
“Luxury buyers aren’t shopping frivolously right now,” she says. “They’re shopping wisely.” That purposeful pursuit is motivated by a sense that “classics never go out of style”, as she says, and that many people would rather make an investment in a luxury good than on the stock market–and Nguyen has done the research on this. She compared the value of some stocks to that of an Hermès Birkin bag, and found the iconic tote actually outperformed shares.
Nguyen also says that seeking out items online means buyers have more options to peruse, since many luxury brands don’t sell their higher prices pieces via e-commerce. Coupled with the restrictions quarantine set in place for shopping IRL, it means that sites like Lux Second Chance are very of-the-moment.
In recent months, Nguyen has noticed an uptick in people buying cross-body and belt bags–“for those who want to go hands-free”–but that versatile items like Prada’s multi bag and large totes have sold well, too. “Backpacks are also making a comeback,” she hints. Further speaking to an interest in the mix of fashion and function, she says customers have been purchasing lots of chain link necklaces and rhinestone earrings–anything to give a bit of zest to all the video calls we’re now making.
She predicts that we’ll be seeing a rise in the chic sweatshirt as we head into fall, and that comes as no surprise. Classic and comfortable, they’re the super hero of a thoughtful WFH wardrobe.