Buying my first Chanel handbag - an candid tale!
Hi peeps, here’s a not-so-little story about buying my first Chanel bag five years ago this week!
I’d dreamed of, and actually attempted, buying a Chanel bag for several years before I actually bought it. I love the style of the bags, the classic, timeless shape, the fact they don’t lose their value, and the fact that in my opinion, they make every outfit look better :D Anyway, as much as I dreamt of buying one, I had never spent that kind of money on anything before, and the thought of it made me feel sick!
After lots of consideration, I came up with a plan. Being naive at the time, I had read online that the bag I wanted cost £1000 (sooo much money for a bag!!), and I decided to save my “extra earnings” until I had enough for The Bag. Define extra earnings? Well I was living in New Zealand and working full-time at Massey University, and in my spare time making and selling Shh by Sadie jewels. It didn't take long before I had saved my £1000 for my “baby” which is how I referred to The Bag, and probably still do! :D
Attempt one to purchase The Bag
So, I had enough “extra earnings” for my bag! While back in the UK on a visit home, I took the bus from Wales to London to stay with my sister and buy THE Bag. Alllll the way to London I honestly felt sick about spending so much money on a bag. I kept thinking I could buy a lesser-expensive designer bag and have TWO! Or other things I could spend the money on - none of which I needed or wanted as much as THE Bag. My sister kindly rang around the Chanel boutiques in London to ask whether they had the bag in stock, doing so in a faux-posh-granny voice that had me in STITCHES on the bed beside her. “Do you know what, I’ve found myself in London with some spare time, and thought I’d pop along to your store and have a little rummage”. The store in Harrods said they had one in stock, but to hurry as they couldn’t guarantee it would be there much longer (they apparently sell like very expensive hot cakes!).
And so sister and I dash across to London to the Chanel boutique in Harrods. We wait patiently to be seen, and am in luck - the bag is still there! Jumbo, double flap, black caviar leather with gold hardware. Yes. I touch it and (still feeling sick) ask the price - £1800! Oh! I hadn’t anticipated that!! Stupid Sadie not doing proper research (at that time Chanel did not list prices on its website and so I’d read prices from bag forums, humpf.)
I literally nearly collapse and hand the bag back to the assistant. She shows me some of the seasonal bags, which are far closer to my budget, and which my sister and I do really like, but nope, I liked the classic Chanel because it is, well classic, and I can wear it forever :D
So I leave Harrods feeling sick but also slightly relieved, because I’d been so hesitant to part with my £1000 for “just a bag” anyway.
Attempt two to purchase The Bag
Fast forward six months or so, and I am still thinking about The Bag. I’ve saved more of my extra earnings, and have decided that maybe I will just get it because it is something I have dreamt of for so long. Even if I did buy a lesser-expensive (I couldn’t bring myself to write ‘cheaper’ because nothing about paying £1000+ for a bag to me is cheap!) Chanel bag, or another designer bag, I would still want The Bag. And truthfully, I worked very hard to earn my extra earnings and The Bag is like a symbol of all of that effort, and a reward to myself. I don’t smoke, buy magazines, don’t have my hair done often, eyelashes, facials, spray tans, false nails - things that people regularly spend money on, and so all of this was my argument to myself anyway :D
My then boyfriend, now husband, Chris and I visit Hong Kong 12 months after the first attempt (there was no Chanel stockist in NZ when we lived there - I’m not sure if there is now - and so I couldn't buy The Bag there). I’ll perhaps tell you about my trip to Kong Kong another time, but to sum it up, I couldn’t manage with the humidity and ended up wearing the loosest, baggiest clothes I had with me - my hair was scraped into a bun on my head, and there was no point in wearing makeup because it sweated off as soon as I left the air conditioned hotel. I had a sweat moustache for the whole three days. Just not a climate I managed well in!! Anyway, we are at the airport, me dressed like I don’t know what, (and there’s no way I want to try and find a photo of (if one exists!)), and I pluck up my courage to enter the Chanel store. I ask the assistant for the bag - get pointedly looked up and down, and told “no” they do not have The Bag.
To be fair, I looked such a mess I couldn’t blame them for looking me up and down, but it was still extremely rude, and I left bag-less.
Attempt number three
This is just a quick one! We visited Sydney, entered the store and checked out the price. It was £1000 MORE than buying the exact same bag in the UK. So we left.
Attempt number four
I’ll keep this one quick, too. Chris was in London for business, I managed to persuade him to ring the stores and ask if The Bag was in stock. Yes it was! On his way to the airport from London he managed to get his taxi driver to pull over on Oxford Street (or some busy main London street) while he left his suitcase in the taxi and ran into Chanel to ‘quickly’ buy The Bag. The Bag was there, he got it packed up, all ready to go - and his New Zealand bank card wouldn’t go through with the transaction (maybe it felt sick, too, haha). He said they tried it multiple times, and in the end he had to go because the taxi was waiting and he needed to get to the airport. I cried when he rang me and told me.
Finally buying The Bag
And so now it is December 2013. I am in New York with Chris on a holiday there half-way home from New Zealand to Wales for Christmas. The price of The Bag is now £2750 because the longer you leave it, the more the flipping price goes up - if only I’d bought it in London that first time!!
I’ve made the decision, and we go to the Chanel boutique on a wonderfully snowy day. We go in, and YES they have The Bag in stock! The sales assistant offers us a glass of champagne. I’m so nervous and sick about spending this money on this flipping bag that I decline, almost wanting to get the whole thing over as quickly as possible. I pay for The Bag on two bank cards - one NZ and one UK - because I don’t want Chris’ London bank card fiasco to happen to me!! And the cards work. The Bag is mine. We are going for a whole day walking in the snow in Central Park and so I ask if I can collect The Bag later. The assistant says of course.
Later I collect The Bag and it has its own little waterproof cover for its paper bag underneath. It is wrapped beautifully. I take it back to the hotel and open it. It is my new best friend (not joking, haha), and my dad suggests I call it Yorkie because I finally bought it in New York. (No fancy photos of ‘the opening’ of the bag, just ones snapped on my iPhone to send to my parents in Wales!)
I don’t use The Bag for another two days because I am frightened someone will steal it off me (LOL). The first outing it has is to an AMAZING Greek restaurant in NYC.
I’ve now had Yorkie for five years, and it is still my prized possession. It never sits on the floor, it stays neatly in its dust cover when it is not being used. It is what I grab when the fire alarm goes off and we have to stand outside our apartment in our PJs at 2am in the morning.
I don’t save Yorkie for special occasions, because I didn’t pay £2750 for a bag to sit in my wardrobe 90% of the year, though I obviously don’t use it every day.
So after that very long-winded tale, do I think Chanel bags are worth the price? Of course not. But I am glad I finally bought The Bag and love it too much to feel guilty about it :-)
Just a note - I know Chanel bags, designer bags - things like these are not everyone’s cup of tea. This is my opinion and an honest account of how and why I bought my bag.