May 9, 2021

Couple who quit their jobs strive to be the best second hand designer retailer in Australia

A young couple from Australia have spoken how they quit their full-time corporate office jobs to pursue their own business selling luxury pre-owned designer handbags online.

Alex and Angela Leung, 35 and 32, from Melbourne, started the brand The Purse Affair in early 2017 after deciding to quit their day jobs in product management and accounting.

Before launching the business, Angela was looking for a way to supplement her love for luxury handbags and started buying and selling the luxurious products on social media.  

After noticing she was able to trade the bags online and generate a profit, the pair started the online businesses and have developed a large following of customers across Australia and overseas.

Their impressive collection features a vast range of designer products by leading names, including Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Saint Laurent, Gucci, Prada, Dior and Hermes.

The pair strive to be the number one trusted online retailer in Australia to shop for second hand designer handbags. 

Alex and Angela Leung (pictured), from Melbourne, started the brand The Purse Affair in early 2017 after deciding to quit their day jobs in product management and accounting

The business now has a strong social media following and customers from around Australia and the world purchase the luxury designer bags (pictured)

The business now has a strong social media following and customers from around Australia and the world purchase the luxury designer bags (pictured) 

As Angela was an accountant by trade, she knew how to manage revenue, secure new products each week and make a profit after the re-sell.

Soon after launching, the couple decided to use a portion of their financial savings to purchase several bags to resell on the market under their new business name. 

When they began three years ago there was a huge gap in the Australian market for second hand designer bags, as there were few retailers offering this service.

‘At the time in Australia, there weren’t many businesses and competitors who were doing the same thing we were – but we knew people would be interested,’ Alex told FEMAIL. 

Before launching the business, Angela (pictured) was looking for a way to supplement her love for luxury handbags and started buying and selling the luxurious products on social media

Before launching the business, Angela (pictured) was looking for a way to supplement her love for luxury handbags and started buying and selling the luxurious products on social media

The business now sells a vast range of designer goods by leading names, including Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Saint Laurent, Gucci, Prada, Dior and Hermes

The business now sells a vast range of designer goods by leading names, including Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Saint Laurent, Gucci, Prada, Dior and Hermes 

Alex said when they began three years ago there was a huge gap in the Australian market for second hand designer bags, as there were few retailers offering this service

Alex said when they began three years ago there was a huge gap in the Australian market for second hand designer bags, as there were few retailers offering this service

PRICE DIFFERENCES WHEN BUYING A DESIGNER BAG SECOND HAND

The Purse Affair selling prices compared to retail prices:  

Chanel Classic Flap Jumbo currently retailing $11,780 RRP, the brand sells this for $8,500 in near new condition – save nearly 30 per cent off 

Saint Laurent Sac De Jour $3,835 RRP, the brand sells this in excellent condition for $1800 – save over 50 per cent 

Celine Luggage Mini Size Tote $4,050 RRP, the brand sells this in excellent condition for $1800 – save 56 per cent

‘We obtain rare special pieces such as Birkins and Kellys are regularly on display at our showroom,’ Alex said 

‘We would be one of very few places if not the only place in Australia you can see a Black Gold Kelly in size 25 28 and 32 all at the one spot.’ 

‘Selling second hand designer bags is a proven model that has worked overseas, and we knew it would work here,’ Alex said.

‘We noticed a lot of people were buying from overseas or sending their bags to sell overseas, which we thought is crazy because not only do you risk losing the bag along the way but you need to pay more.

‘You often spend 15 per cent shipping to America and risk spending 15 per cent coming in to Australia from overseas.’

These further costs can add up when purchasing handbags that cost thousands of dollars. 

'Selling second hand designer bags is a proven model that has worked overseas, and we knew it would work here,' Alex said

‘Selling second hand designer bags is a proven model that has worked overseas, and we knew it would work here,’ Alex said

HOW TO SPOT A FAKE DESIGNER HANDBAG

Serial number: All designer handbags are made with a serial number inside – this code is often neat and hard, not weak and faint 

Inspect the shape and material: Designer bags are made using high quality craftsmanship and materials

While fake bags may replicate the look of a designer bag, they don’t replicate the high quality and feel of the bag 

Check the stitching: Inside the bag should be well made, tight and neat 

Ask for the original receipt if possible: The receipt for a designer handbag is always stamped and is proof of authentication 

The brand currently has more than 34,000 Instagram followers as well as customers from across Australia and the world

The brand currently has more than 34,000 Instagram followers as well as customers from across Australia and the world

Since 2017 the pair have spent little money on marketing and instead made a name for themselves through word of mouth and by speaking to others through the online communities.

They currently have more than 34,000 Instagram followers as well as customers from across Australia and the world – last year 30 per cent of the brand’s customers were from America.

In 2018 the brand hired a photographer to take high quality images of the bags to use for the website and Instagram page, while in 2019 the couple hired another two staff members overseas as part of the authenticity team. 

'We focus highly on trust and ethics; we have a high attention to detail to ensure customers are more than happy with their purchase and guarantee authentic items,' Alex said

‘We focus highly on trust and ethics; we have a high attention to detail to ensure customers are more than happy with their purchase and guarantee authentic items,’ Alex said 

‘We focus highly on trust and ethics; we have a high attention to detail to ensure customers are more than happy with their purchase and guarantee authentic items,’ Alex said.

‘Buying a second hand designer bag can be difficult for the customer – but we focus a lot on trust to ensure the customer feels secure purchasing our bags.’

Before any item is posted online, it’s checked by at least two ‘highly trained authenticators’ who specialise in named brands.

Every product is thoroughly checked to ensure it meets the manufacture’s standard of high quality.

The stamping, stitching, hardware, authenticity stamps, date codes, serial number and materials are all checked in detail.

The pair strive to be the number one trusted online destination in Australia to shop for second hand designer handbags

The pair strive to be the number one trusted online destination in Australia to shop for second hand designer handbags 

The business grows more than 200 per cent every year, with an increase in demand as more shoppers find the brand online

The business grows more than 200 per cent every year, with an increase in demand as more shoppers find the brand online

The business grows more than 200 per cent every year, with an increase in demand as more shoppers find the brand online.

This year, despite the coronavirus pandemic, the brand has boosted further in sales.

‘We don’t know why exactly, but the theory is as more people are working from home this year and aren’t going on holidays, they are spending their money on other more expensive items for themselves,’ Alex said. 

While they knew self-employment was a risky decision, the pair don’t regret quitting their full-time jobs and aim to grow the business further. 

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