My first luxury consignment purchase ever was a Louis Vuitton Epi Leather Pochette purse. I had wanted one for ages but the constant Louis Vuitton price increases always kept me from taking the plunge. It was once reasonable at $385, but the last time I checked the Louis Vuitton website, it retailed for $870…to me, an absurd amount for a little purse that is about 9″ long.
While perusing a popular online consignment site, I found one for $295. It was in perfect condition. The owner had never used it, and it was being sold with its original box and dust bag. PERFECT. I purchased it, and it was in my hot little hands by the end of the week. I use it constantly and adore it.
When the beautiful Dia of Valamode contacted me for a collaboration, I did a little happy dance, as her luxury online consignment site is one of the best in Canada. Featuring a wide array of luxury brands such as Tiffany & Co., YSL, Christian Louboutin and more, Valamode is a site that I have bookmarked, and I peruse it like it is my full-time job.
I had the chance to sit with Dia a couple of weeks ago and find out what motivates her, how she got her start and how she manages to curate such a lovely collection of covetable goods.
Dia glides up to Starbucks, gorgeous as per usual, thick honey blonde hair blowing in the wind. She is the only person outside on this sweltering August morning not sweating buckets. Her David Yurman jewelry is glittering in the sun, and I immediately start salivating like Pavlov’s dogs at the sight of her python Gucci Disco Bag.
Hi Dia! Thanks so much for meeting me!
No probs, Dom! Great to see you!
So, let’s get right down to business. How did you get your start in luxury consignment?
I worked in the handbag department at Holt Renfrew and always had a passion for fashion. I eventually moved away from retail to corporate HR but always kept my finger on the pulse of fashion in our city. Ottawa was ready for this – luxury consignment – and needed someone to lead the path and set concrete luxury consignment standards.
I agree! Especially now that Holts has closed up shop and there isn’t really anywhere to get Louis Vuitton, Chanel, etc. So, what brands do you specialize in?
I specialize in all luxury brands including mid-level brands such as Coach, Michael Kors, etc.
Your instagram profile (@luxuryconsignmentcanada) reads like a veritable luxury treasure trove. How do you source items?
I travel across Canada to meet with potential clients. People from Toronto, Montreal and Calgary contact me and I go out to them to review and authenticate their items and sell on their behalf. This personal service is so beneficial to both the client and my business. It is so important to me to bring something new and fresh to the table, to provide exclusivity and tailored one-on-one service. I eventually want to open a boutique with a luxury feel and provide this level of personal, exclusive service to customers and sellers alike.
So, when a customer is shopping luxury consignment, what should he or she be keeping their eyes out for?
I highly recommend getting educated about luxury standards and characteristics that are typical of each brand. You absolutely do not want to waste money of counterfeits. Look for quality stitching, ensure that prints match up (this is a given with Louis Vuitton’s Monogram line and Chanel’s quilting), proper hardware on purses, logos are authentic, etc. If you have any questions at all, enlist the help of a third party authenticator.
Also, don’t be scared to buy used! Some people turn up their noses at consignment, but it is such a great way to afford that dream piece that would be otherwise totally unattainable. Most luxury pieces are coveted by their original owners and totally babied. I see so many pieces that are in perfect condition. Why spend $7,000 on a brand new Chanel bag when you can buy one pre-loved for half that cost?
Tell me about your luxury matchmaking service.
Clients can sign up on my website and specify items that they are looking to buy. If I manage to source the requested item, the client will receive an email with an option to purchase. I also work within the clients budget when dealing with matchmaking. So, if someone is looking for a vintage Louis Vuitton Speedy, they will get all notifications for Speedy’s produced during a certain timeframe, not new ones without any lovely patina, etc.
Speaking of clients, describe your typical client.
Oh! I get all sorts, from the client saving all year to get her dream Louis Vuitton bag to the corporate lady who prefers at-home service and loves designer labels, to the fashion forward fashionista looking for that special limited edition it-bag.
So, that client saving all year for her dream bag…do you offer any sort of payment plan for people like her?
I sure do! I offer eight-week layaway. All I require is a non-refundable 25% down payment and you must pay it off within that eight-week timeframe, and that dream bag is yours!
NO WAY! You are speaking my language, girl! So, matchmaking and checking out your website is pretty much the best way to keep on top of your inventory?
Yes – and follow my instagram account at @luxuryconsignmentcanada. I post new pieces added to my inventory regularly. It’s a quick and easy way to keep up to date on all the great items I’ve sourced. It’s also great for fashion inspiration!
Thank you so much Dia for meeting me, and giving us a great run down of luxury consignment!
Follow the Valamode instagram account at @luxuryconsignmentcanada and visit Dia’s beautiful website at www.valamode.com. Valamode is also on Facebook and Twitter. Now, go treat yourself to a little luxury!
What a great score! I’ll definitely have to consider looking at consignment stores in the future!
Thank you! Honestly – some of them are total treasure troves!
Hello Dominique and Dia!
Great interview about shopping consignment! I am a huge thrift shopper myself and I find amazing gems all the time. I sometimes will find some great authentic designer pieces. I often keep my treasures but if it’s not the right fit for me then I sell them for others to enjoy. Consignment and thrift are not only cost effective but also eco-friendly 🙂
Great point, Gennifer! I’m like that too. If I get tired of something, off it goes to a new home. I’ve found so many awesome treasures over the years!
I’ve never shopped a luxury brand on consignment before, but it sounds like a fantastic idea! I would think that most people who are going to shell out hundreds or thousands of dollars for a bag are going to take care of it, and would gladly take a well loved piece at a discount over a brand new one any day. Also, Dia sounds like an awesome person. So cool that you got to interview her!
Thank you so much! Dia really is a great person who is really knowledgeable in this area. I’m always surprised too when people refuse to consider consignment…