Asset-sharing handbag clubs seem like an unusual idea, but they have proved to be one of the fastest growing fractional sectors. Fractional Life’s roving IT girl (not the computer-fixing kind!) Jennifer Clark explains further...
Today started with good intentions; a rare day away from the office and I was fully committed to a wardrobe clearout (and then a restock shopping spree in the afternoon, but we’ll keep that our little secret). I was going to be ruthless-any accessories and clothing that had not seen daylight in the past 12 months were going to be dispatched without compassion or remorse.
The problem was, I fell in the first event of the spring-clean Olympics-the handbag hurdles. The bags had decided to resist the clearout by using each larger bag as a Trojan Horse; every bag I looked in seemed to house ten others... some still with the price tags attached! Against my better judgement, I started to mentally add up the cost of my handbag haul... bad idea. So, moving swiftly on...
The thing is, there is a reason for each and every one of the bags; the Prada Red Leather Hobo that was a must-buy to match a bargain pair of shoes that cost about a quarter of the price of the bag (oops!), the Louis Vuitton holdall bought for a short business trip in Rome and not forgetting the multitude of high-street bags bought on the off-chance that, one day, they will be required. All of the bags shared a common lifecycle; once they had had their evening/weekend/week in the spotlight, they were retired to the bottom of the wardrobe.
As you are reading this piece, you will no doubt be aware of the opportunities offered by fractional ownership for you to live like a millionaire on a rather more modest budget. You can hire a gorgeous scarlet Ferrari and perhaps give the aforementioned Prada bag another airing, as one just wouldn’t feel right sporting an uncoordinated high-street bag when stepping out of a £150k sports car at the latest London hotspot. But what if you don’t already own the correct arm jewellery to match your outfit/car/occasion? If this morning’s ’clear-out’ has taught me anything, it is that good value for money will not necessarily be attained by simply rushing to Harvey Nicks, credit card in hand.
Obviously, if you have Victoria and Colleen on your speed-dial, you could ask one of them nicely if you could borrow one of their latest fashion acquisitions, but for those of us outside such social circles, there are still options open to us.
Over the past few years, the popularity of borrowing high-end handbags and luxury luggage has gained tremendous momentum, the basic premise generally working along similar lines to a DVD rental website; you pay a monthly fee, you borrow a number of items at a time (determined by your membership level) and each time you return an item, you can select another. It’s as simple as that really, with the only differences between such sites is that some charge a higher monthly subscription with no further charges for particular bags, whilst others offer a much lower monthly fee and then an additional payment dependent on the retail cost of the selected bag.
What you really need to remember though, is that for the same or less than the price of actually purchasing a single top-end designer bag, you could have access to every single designer’s collections for a year. Now that sounds like money well spent and, of course, it frees up space in the bottom of your wardrobe for more shoes. Well, you need a wider range to match all of those fabulous bags!
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