Tips for Buying Designer Bags Cheaply


I have a big selection of bags. Quite a few of them are on the pricey side. As I mentioned, I celebrate financial milestones in my life by buying handbags – bonuses, promotions, new jobs, selling articles. I usually manage to get bags for less than the retail price though. In several ways:

  • Factory outlets
  • Closing down sales
  • Subscribing to newsletters
  • Sample sales
  • Getting to know staff in shops
  • Buying shares
  • Buying duty free
  • Seasonal sales
  • Familiarising myself with the product
  • Knowing my sites
  • Buying investment rather than trendy styles.
  • Use loyalty points

I will take a Mulberry Bayswater handbag as an example.

The first thing I would suggest doing is familiarising yourself with the product.

Mypoupette and the Purse Forum are sites where you can have a bag you are interested in authenticated. There are also guides on eBay on how real Bayswaters should look. For example the leather on a Bayswater is not uniform whereas on a fake it is. Fake Oak Darwin is usually very orange-looking. There are good bargains to be had on eBay but you have to research the seller and the product beforehand. See my guide to eBay here

Also, know that seasonal versions go on the summer and winter sales. So if you want a Bayswater in a seasonal colour, wait for the seasonal sales. In this case it is also good to get your name on mailing lists so that you are given advance invitations to sales. Usually instore and online sales start a day or two early for members. If you get to know salespeople in shops they may give you a heads up on items that may be going on sale.

If you want a Bayswater in Oak, they are seldom on sale unless you find a closing down sale or a second in a Mulberry factory outlet of which there are quite a few. If you do go the factory outlet route, check often or phone them often to find out what they have in stock.

I have never seen a Mulberry in TK Maxx but I have seen a few genuine Balenciaga Twiggy bags and a beautiful Campomaggi there. Once again you need to check often and thoroughly because they have a big turnover of stock and a lot of it is not nice at all.

Not strictly related to Bayswater but companies which are responsible for showing bags to buyers for stores always have samples to show them. Usually one of each style and colour. At the end of ‘their’ season (which is middle of ‘our’ season because fashion buyers have to order the autumn lines in spring and winter lines in summer etc) they then sell off the samples at a very low price. Get yourself on a mailing list for sample sales and you will snap up bargains. But go early and be prepared to tussle hordes of people! Proenza Schouler sample sales are legendary!

You can also buy Mulberry tax free in airports – Heathrow has good seasonal sales and also no tax on their items. My Mulberry Oak Bayswater (on the right in the picture)  was a limited edition so being half price and tax free took the price from £600 to £250.  A little off topic but insure your bag! My old scotchgrain Mulberry handbag was stolen on my trip from hell and my insurance company replaced it with the Roxanne on the left because the style I had was no longer in production.comerfordinsweden-015

If you buy something like a Mulberry Bayswater it will keep its value. It is an investment buy because you can always sell it at a good price. So rather than buying something like a bag covered with giant feathers  or a Jill Sander paper bag for £200, get that classic Bayswater.

Jil Sander paper bag £200
Jil Sander plastic bag £90

Look at sites like Bag Boudoirand LoveHandbags or Naughtipidginsnest where you can buy genuine preloved handbags in discontinued and sought after styles. You can sell handbags on here or even swap your handbags for one on the site. I have used both sites and can recommend. They will also keep an eye out for a particular bag that are looking for.

Also, you are a loyalty card member and you collect points every time you spend, save your points or discount coupons for a special handbag buy. And ask for gift certificates for birthdays and Christmas. With enough of those you will really be able to get something nice! Also if you buy shares in Mulberry you get permanent 20% discount when you buy their products at selected retailers.

Happy Shopping!

Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

3 thoughts

  1. I’m on the look out for a Mulberry Agenda organiser. I’ve heard that these sometimes go at reasonable prices at the Factory Outlet shops in UK, but I’m not sure what time of year is best..

    1. The Old School House
      Kilver Street
      Shepton Mallet
      BA4 5NF
      Tel: +44 (0) 1749 340 583
      – is my fave Mulberry outlet.

      Worth contacting them regularly – they have a nice email form too on their website where you could contact them regularly. You could get a nice Agenda in Oak, Brown or Black if it was a second (usually means defective popper or zip) but the seasonal colours are always deeply discounted even if they are in perfect quality.

      Mulberry at Bichester Village is
      Bicester Village 50 Pingle Drive, Bicester OX26 6WD,
      +44 1869 322882

      and you could always email bagboudoir or lovehandbags and ask them to source one for you. Lovehandbags have sourced quite a few rare things for me. Good luck!

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