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How to Increase the Value of Your Designer Bag, According to Our Experts

So you’ve got a designer bag you’re certain will retain its value over the next few years. But, did you know that scratches, cracked edges, or stains can knock hundreds of dollars off your bag’s preloved pricetag? When it comes to evaluating the resale value of any designer bag, it’s not just the popularity or exclusivity of the bag model that matters; the condition of the bag is an important consideration for any resale and consignment platform you plan to take your bag too. 

At Style Theory Bags, we’ve restored over 700 designer bags in our studios with our partners from Kaya Leathers, many of which are then listed as part of our consignment and resale inventory. And in this story, our Marketplace Analyst and Buying Coordinator gave their insights into 5 designer bags on the restorative work that was done to help to bump up the resale value of these bags by hundreds (or even thousands!) of dollars: 

#1 Chanel Quilted Chesterfield Flap Bag 

Retail Price: $4,860

Pre-Restoration Resale Price:  $2,600
Post-Restoration Resale Price: $3,300

Increase in Resale Price: +$700

Style Theory Bags Restore Service: Revive ($239)

This Chanel Quilted Chesterfield Flap Bag from Chanel’s Fall/Winter 2016/17 collection arrived at our studios requiring stain reduction and colour touch-up work on both the interior and exterior. Its soft lambskin leather and pillowy quilts were stained and scuffed around the edges, and the inside polyester lining had absorbed stains and dirt over the years. 

Our restoration experts got into all the nooks and crannies to remove layers of dirt and lift the stains with industry-standard cleansing solutions. The exterior scratches and discolouration were airbrushed over with custom-matched paint for a smooth and seamless finish. 

Experts’ Tip: As both the interior and exterior of these quilted bags have folds where dirt and dust can easily accumulate, do pay special attention to these areas if you’re cleaning the bag on your own, or bring it to our experts at Style Theory Bags Restore for professional cleaning.

#2: Prada Small Saffiano Monochrome 

Retail Price: $2,690

Pre-Restoration Resale Price:  $1,410
Post-Restoration Resale Price: $1,890

Increase in Resale Price: +$480

Style Theory Bags Restore Service: Refresh + Edge Restoration ($199)

Worn out bottom corners, discolouration at the opening, and cracking of leather edges are tell-tale signs of a well-loved bag! In this case, it’s the Small Saffiano Monochrome, a style that was first seen in Prada’s Cruise 2018 collection. 

Our experts were able to clean off surface-level stains that had not yet absorbed into the leather, while older stains that penetrated the leather had to be carefully lifted, and then airbrushed over with a custom blend of paint. 

As for the cracked edge coating, we believe that simply coating over compromised foundational layers only leads to short-term and unsatisfactory results. Therefore, the cracked edge coating along the opening of this bag had to be completely removed before a fresh coating was applied multiple times to protect the underlying leather. 

Expert’s Tip: Edge coating helps to protect the raw edge of the underlying leather. Once your bag’s edge coating begins to crack, we strongly recommend restoring it as a preventative measure. Once the underlying leather is exposed to the elements and worn out, it is much more difficult and costly to restore it to its original condition. 

#3 Chanel Urban Shopping Tote

Retail Price: $6,400

Pre-Restoration Resale Price:  $3,740
Post-Restoration Resale Price: $4,350

Increase in Resale Price: +$610

Style Theory Bags Restore Service: Redefine ($169)

This Chanel Urban Shopping Tote, a beautiful style produced only between 2016 to 2017, arrived at our studios requiring much-needed edge restoration work. While the general surfaces of the bag were well-maintained, the existing edge coating along the opening and handles had become dented and sticky, causing unsightly lint to stick to the handles. 

Our restoration experts removed all the existing edge coating for a clean and smooth foundation, before working to apply layers of colour-matched edge coating for fresh leather edges that are finally lint-free! 

Expert’s Tip: Improper storage of your designer bags in hot and humid climates can lead to sticky edge coating issues, as seen on this Chanel. To prevent this from happening, we recommend storing your bags away from direct sunlight, and airing your bags out once every 2-3 months when not in use.

#4 Celine Medium Classic Box Bag

Retail Price: $5,600

Pre-Restoration Resale Price: $2,500
Post-Restoration Resale Price: $3,210

Increase in Resale Price: +$710

Style Theory Bags Restore Service: Refresh + Edge Restoration ($219)

The Medium Classic Box, first introduced in 2011 during the reign of then-Creative Director Phoebe Philo, remains one of Celine’s most popular and timeless pieces, along with the Celine Luggage, Trapeze, Belt and Trio. 

This bag arrived at our studios to get colour touch-ups and edge restoration work done. It had obvious scratches on the exterior of the bag, cracked edge coating, as well as peeling and abrasion on areas where the shoulder strap and bag flap meet. 

To remove the scratches on the smooth exterior calfskin leather, we applied small, controlled amounts of alcohol and used fine sandpaper with low grit. This removes the surface colour, and gradually smoothens out the marks. Next, a custom blend of paint was matched to the surrounding colour, and airbrushed to reapply colour, as well as to cover up the scratch marks for a seamless finish. 

Expert’s Tip: Extra attention should be given to the strap design of any Classic Box bag. Due to the design, the underside of the flap often sees peeling and abrasion due to the constant friction. While there’s no definite way to prevent this from happening, the occasional restorative and repair work will keep it from worsening. 

#5 Hermès Kelly 32

Current Retail Price: $16,160 (estimated)

Pre-Restoration Resale Price: $6,300
Post-Restoration Resale Price: $10,990

Increase in Resale Price: +$4,690

Style Theory Bags Restore Service: Renew ($399)

The Hermès Kelly, which shot to fame in the 1950s thanks to Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco, has been steadfast in both its popularity and its constant increase in retail and resale value. 

However, the appreciation of the Kelly’s resale value depends highly on the condition of the bag. This particular Kelly reached our restoration experts needing extensive mould removal and a full colour restoration. 

The bag was thoroughly cleaned with state-of-the-art chemical solvents to remove mould growth, especially in the interior leather lining. The discolouration on the interior and exterior was also evened out by airbrushing a fresh coat of paint to revive dulled colours. The beautiful blue contrast stitching and interior were kept as close to the original vibrant blue shade as possible. 

Expert’s Tip: Mould isn’t just displeasing to see — it will also slowly ruin the leather. If left untreated, mould can spread to infect other leather areas or even other bags stored in the same environment. To prevent the growth of mould, refrain from storing your bag in damp or humid places. Make sure to also air your bags every 2-3 months if left unused. Notice signs of mould growth? Reach out to our experts for professional mould removal. Meanwhile, disinfect your bag’s storage area to prevent any regrowth.

Simply investing in a bag with huge resale potential isn’t the be-all and end-all. Taking steps to repair and restore your designer bags can help in increasing the resale value of your designer bags, especially when they’ve seen a few years of wear and tear.

Planning to consign or sell your preloved designer bags? Drop them off at our restoration studios for a quick facelift before you take them to a resale platform for valuation! Find out more about our service packages here. 

Want to see our restoration experts in action? Watch how they clean and remove unsightly mould from this Celine bag in our Designer Facelift series:

 

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Read More: 10 Things You Should Absolutely Avoid Around Your Designer Bag

 

About Author

In pure Aries fashion, Nicolette’s passions reveal themselves in fiery bursts — tell that to her 4-year-old flugelhorn still in mint condition. If she isn’t DM-ing you memes from private Instagram accounts, she’s probably snuggled up to a sitcom. A huge admirer of the harmonious coexistence between the style sensibilities and atrocities of the ‘90s. Yin and yang, baby.

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