If you’ve lusted over a Louis Vuitton bag, but have a tight budget, there’s a way to get one for a lot less. I am sharing my guide on how to buy a vintage Louis Vuitton bag on eBay so that you can get the monogram (or damier, or vernis, or epi) piece of your dreams.
1. Know the style you want
I think this tip will help you narrow down your search a lot more. If you’re looking for a crossbody bag, do some research and learn about the style you want. I knew I wanted either a Saumur, a Jeune Fille or a St Cloud and narrowed my searches to those three. I narrowed it even further when I decided to go with a vintage Louis Vuitton St Cloud, because the style was still modern, and had less pockets that could go sticky or buckles that could be brittle.
2. Start searching
I like to narrow my search to the style, colour and size, as well as auction ending soonest. Buy it Nows are often overpriced, but if you see a perfect fit and don’t want to wait, go for it. Most Louis Vuitton eBay auctions only last a few days though. Get familiar with common auction end times so you don’t miss out.
3. Go on different eBay sites
If you have access to a US address, I highly recommend searching eBay.com instead of eBay.ca. I found my St. Cloud on there for a lot less money! There’s also more selection and sellers. Try to avoid the ones that use “Global Shipping Services” to cut back on the duty fees.
4. Research Sellers
I would start my research on sellers on eBay itself, going through feedback and seeing what other products they offer. I would avoid sellers that have only a few items. A large vintage Louis Vuitton seller is more established, has more stock and is more professional to deal with. You can also google the seller name and see if they appear on the Purse Forum as well. Gauge their feedback with caution… how they respond to negative feedback also shows how professional they are. As a rule of thumb, I prefer to look at larger Japanese sellers and Fashionphile in the US, however the latter is priced way higher.
5. Inspect your bag
Look for a listing that features dozens (12+ at least) photos of the purse, from all angles and details. I’d rather see a photo of a flaw than to be surprised by it later. Watch out for washed out lighting/photoshop. I like to also download the photos into Photoshop and do a reserve image to give a better sense of any flaws or if the photo was manipulated. Feel free to reach out and ask questions to the seller. If you have genuine concerns about authenticity, use The Purse Forum to authenticate. I spent a long time learning the hallmarks of an authentic Vintage Vuitton, so take the time to learn about stitching, date codes, vachetta leather and styles.
6. Compile your watchlist
Now that you’ve done your research and found some bags, add them to your watchlist. I prefer auction styles. Set alerts and notifications so you can snag the vintage Louis Vuitton bag of your dreams right away!
This is the fun part. My rule of thumb is to have a max price you would pay for something. Don’t increase your max bid to your max price until the very last 30 seconds of auction. Keep an eye and try to gauge whether there is only 1 or more people fighting you for it. Try to stick to your limit and don’t get caught in a bidding war! There will always be more… unless it’s some super limited edition version!
8. Bag spa
When you receive the bag, you might need to conduct some work to make it wearable. Older bags might have a bad odour, so I suggest airing it outside someplace dry (like a covered porch), with newspaper and dryer sheets inside to absorb smells. I also get an alcohol free, unscented baby wipe and rub down everything. I use this tip for items from pawn shops/thrift stores as well. If your bag has water marks, you can try to gently remove the stain with an alcohol free baby wipe, or failing that, use a magic eraser. Remember to condition the leather afterwards with Apple Care or Cadillac Leather Lotion.
I hope these tips on how to buy a Louis Vuitton bag will help you on your hunt! Remember, when in doubt, authenticate! Use The Purse Forum or pay the $10.00 for some piece of mind. With some patience and research, you can find your own Louis Vuitton bag for less, even on a student budget! Investing in quality pieces is worth the effort… especially when it comes to a timeless brand like LV. Good luck! Feel free to comment or tweet me @natalieast if you have any questions!