Getting a hold of a luxury item is no longer confined to waltzing into the store. With the sheer number of forums, resellers, and online boutiques going live, the process has become easier for anyone to tick an item off their wish list with literally a touch of a button. But does this necessarily account for a better experience and customer satisfaction?
Janina Dizon-Hoschka and Juana Manahan-Yupangco are no strangers to luxury. As a celebrated jewelry designer, Janina works with precious gems and turns them into opulent art every day, while Juana’s penchant for luxury pieces has made her realize that quality wins over quantity in the long run. Both women share a remarkable affinity for luxury, but differ in the way they shop.
Janina says that she has come to embrace the benefits of personal shoppers: “I have low EQ and tend to get obsessed if I see something I want. So when it’s not available locally, I go to resellers.” She shares: “I remember wanting a monogrammed Burberry poncho when it came out. I scoured online but didn’t want to wait, so I asked my trusted friend, [a personal shopper based in Paris], Verushka Go of Luxe Confidante, to get it for me and within two weeks, I had it.”
For Juana, shoe-shopping online has worked wonders due to the challenge of finding her size, but for bags, she always prefers to get them directly from the source. “At the boutique, I’m guaranteed of the authenticity, especially when [it] costs a lot of money,” she declares. Brands like Hermès are testament to the unattainability of luxury goods, especially when it comes to sought-after pieces such as the Kelly and Birkin, which aren’t easily acquired even if a client is ready to pay. “Stock is limited and sometimes you get your second choice or maybe something you wouldn’t consider at all. I have had that experience with one of my bags. I was offered [a Kelly] in a color I didn’t even consider. But once I saw it, I loved it and in fact, it allowed my personal style to evolve; it made me realize eventually that you can’t put your style in a box and your choices can grow [and transform].”
Buying through nontraditional channels has its perks as per Janina, who has scored some of her unique finds from resellers: “For Hermès bags, the only reseller I would turn to is Dennis Robles of Authentecite. He has the best colors and has them readily available. I have a chocolate Kelly that I got from him—saw it immediately and fell in love with it on the spot. The best thing with [him] is that I had another bag I wasn’t using so he actually accepted it as a trade-in, but I’m not sure he does it on a regular basis or if it was a special exception.” In addition to purses, she has also scored a couple of other pre-loved pieces, sharing, “Vintage clothing is something that I’ve recently been into, Chanel jackets in particular. I find that the quality and the make of yesteryears are hard to beat. It reflects another kind of authenticity, as these pieces have so much history and soul—and there’s no waiting list either.”
But unlike Janina, Juana sticks to family heirloom pieces, revealing, “I only like vintage [items] from my mom or lola.” And when it comes to acquiring hard-to-find products, “I don’t mind waiting because it’s part of the experience. My heart skips a beat when the store calls to say that my bag has arrived. The little ceremony that comes with unboxing your bag, holding it for the first time, and seeing the other sales associates looking at you with that congratulatory smile in their eyes [is unlike any other feeling I get when I buy something extraordinary].” Janina agrees that the boutique provides an unparalleled experience: “My experience with the local Hermès store is also exceptional. My sales associate, Denise, always updates me about what is in stock and their sales as well.” She adds that going straight to the standard source gives you a different type of reassurance in case you change your mind or ever need a repair, which isn’t the case when you go through a reseller.
Price-wise, Janina shares that there is a premium that comes with a personal shopper: “Resellers tend to price higher because their goods are more of-the-moment, whether it be the best colors or the latest trends. However, when you just gotta have it, you tend to bite the bullet,” she explains. But in spite of her sucess with resellers, she gives a fair warning: “Rule of thumb is to make sure you go to a reliable reseller. I only have a handful that I trust, which are Authentecite for Hermès [bags] and Luxe Confidante for vintage Chanel coats, pins, plus any shoe or bag you can think of. They have proven themselves time and time again for their reliable and efficient service, as well as the authenticity of the goods.”
*This article originally appeared in Preview Magazine.