Can Hermès handbags and diamonds give you a start?

Definitely. At the moment they are giving cash-short women all over the world a life-line. Watch this short video on Asian women cashing in on Hermès and Chanel bags:

There is a huge rise in women cleaning their wardrobes to raise cash. Could be to save their business, pay bills or simply survive after being hit by various financial headaches. Pawning a $12,000 Hermès handbag to pay your child’s school fees, can be necessary if you lost a lot in the global recession. So for those of you tired of designer handbags or clothes, you now know what to do.

It’s not surprising that this new kind of pawn shop is popular. It does after all enable women to part with something that’s not as dear to them as their jewelery.

Why don’t you do “a Diane von Fürstenberg”?

Pawnbroking is not a new phemomena. It was popular in ancient Greece and Rome and, actually was going on already in 1,000 B.C. in China. Remember reading that Caesar sometimes pawned assets.

Diane von Fürstenberg famously pawned her diamond ring to launch her dress business. And it’s a safe guess that building up her business made  her much happier than wearing the diamond ring in question. Today her business is a multi-million dollar corporation and if she doesn’t have the diamond ring it’s because she decided she didn’t want it.

Personally believe what Diane von Fürstenberg did is something more women should contemplate. It is after all really difficult to get a bank loan nowadays. So why not follow in Diane’s footsteps and get the money to start the company of your dreams?

Is designer handbag pawn shops as big a surprise to you as it was to me? Do you agree with me that it’s better to pawn your handbag than your jewellery? Are you surprised that cash starved women pawn their clothes and handbags? Do you agree with me that what Diane von Fürstenberg did represents the positive side of pawning? Should more women, and men for that matter, follow in her footsteps?

Video: Reuters TV – You Tube 

32 thoughts on “Can Hermès handbags and diamonds give you a start?

  1. Nothing surprises me. If it sells it works. When I heard that Oprah was refused a showing of a $38,000.00, handbag, I did a double take as that is little over the top for me as far as what I would pay for a handbag. However, she has the money. If you need money and pawning works I really don't see the problem. I see many Asians coming to the US and buying the very expensive handbags. The video is more like the buying frenzy that is happening and then the need to pawn to buy more. Diane Von Fürstenberg's story was one of trying to start a business, not a need to collect more things
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    1. Glad you agree with me, Arleen. However there are no doubt Asian, as well as US and European, women who pawn their handbags to fund a start-up. They just don't advertise it to the world, so we don't know who they are.

  2. The plot of The Devil Wears Prada features an intern who gets a bunch of designer clothes. At the end of the story, she's fed up with the world of fashion magazines and pawns all of her "freebies" for over $50k. I've heard of websites where designer fashion is bartered. I guess that's a good way to make money, though I don't own and never will own anything that expensive.

  3. Actually, this is very common in Canada. I did not know about designer bags. I will not pawn mine but I have sold gold and silverware because I did not need them but I needed cash to travel.
    It is so common in Canada that there is a war between several jewellers for our gold and silver as well as expensive watches. people even sell their " flatware ". Pawning is different. All the ads are for selling for cash. Then whatever you sell is melted for making gold or silver bricks.
    Romy Kerwin

    1. True Romy, selling valuables you can do in all countries. And pawning jewellery as well. But pawning designer handbags is, at least not to my knowledge, not possible in Sweden. You can do it however, in Asia as shown in the video, the US and Britain. Personally believe it will soon be possible to do so in all major cities in the world. Why? Simply because it's a good business idea in a world in economic downturn.

  4. I am a firm believer that I will do anything I need to in order to take care of my family. Has that meant pawning designer items? No because I don't own any but if I needed to I would. I have cashed in jewelry though in order to pay bills. I believe that these women are perfectly right in cashing in these "designer" items.
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  5. Not surprising. In New York we have consignment shops that sell designer clothes for the rich and famous. They've been around forever. In the bad old days of slavery, plantation owners would sell their clothes to their slaves. The rich are not above pawning or selling their possessions.
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    1. Exactly, Jeannette. There are plenty in London as well. Hope that people needing finance for a start up will do "a Diane von Fürstenberg". Much better to have a business than a handbag.

  6. Interesting post. I have actually found myself sucked into reality shows that focus on pawn brokers that deal in high dollar goods. Beverly Hills Pawn is one such show in the States where you find the wealthy buying and selling goods at a one of these "boutique" pawn shops. If there is a market for an item, a seller will sell it, and a buyer will buy it.

    Thank you for sharing!!
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  7. Sometimes the best lessons come from difficult times. Not being a purchaser of designer labels myself , I don't see the down side of this story. We've gotten very caught up in consumerism and while I've no doubt these items have some value for these women, I think buying an education with an old bag is lovely thought. I particularly like the Diane von Fürstenberg story. It certainly puts into perspective how strangely we value things. Who cares about a diamond when you can have your freedom, independence and a career you love?

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  8. As you said, it has been a practice for centuries. I have heard of pawning purses or jewelry of late and yes it was a surprise. Partly because my own purses are old and very worn… LOL. Do I think we should Follow Diane… if the need arises, I believe it should be considered an option.

    As a side note; I think that, for the first time, women may see it as an option to gain some much needed cash for a startup business. Banks are sadly still remiss is seeing women and their businesses as a viable opportunity. Don't you think there needs to a change f attitude there?
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    1. Doreen, women all over the world are pawning their designer handbags. As far as I know not in Sweden and maybe not in Canada. But it's common in the US and Britain. The woman I mention in the article who pawned a bag to pay for her child's school, is British residing in the UK. Not sure how you can be shocked that this is going on in a world mired in an economic downturn. Personally think they should try to do a Diane von F. Now's the time to do something to get their economy working again. Not borrow to consume.

    1. True, Cheryl. But considering the economic downturn are you surprised? By the way, it's not only in Asia that they are pawning designer handbags. It's done in the States and UK as well. However not in Sweden, as far as I know.

  9. Interesting post, Catarina. I know that LVMH et al have been having relatively good times in the recession as people buy smaller luxuries, instead of the bigger ones (fancy cars, etc.), but hadn't picked up on this side of things.

    Certainly, it seems that the Chinese government has been actively encouraging consumer debt there in an effort to keep growth rates high at times of slowing exports, and there is a concern now that the Chinese economy could be reaching a difficult period as a result of all this debt. China, of course, has a significant spin-off within the rest of Asia.

    I guess being able to effectively trade in a handbag for a fancier one, as happens with cars, can be important for some people and can yield a reasonable business in label-conscious societies. It's certainly a way of unlocking cash.

    It would be interesting to know if Diane von Fürstenberg ever retrieved her diamond ring from the pawn broker…

    1. Good points, Guy. Like you I had never even heard of pawning your desinger handbags. Very much doubt that such pawn shops exist in Sweden. Did some research and it turned out they are very popular in the UK and the United States. The woman who pawned a bag to pay for her child's school fee did so in the UK. But once I found out I'm not surprised since it makes sense in a world where many people are in dire straits.

  10. I don't think I could part with my diamonds or my Gucci bag (certainly not worth $32000, for that I would pawn it!).
    I guess my things have sentimental value, so it would be hard to part with them. Although, I guess if it was a short term thing and I had an idea for a business, you could do without them until you build the business up.
    It would still be an emotional decision for me.
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  11. A rather scary video, Catarina! I keep thinking there is a psychological problem here.

    Yes, Diane von Fürstenberg's story is a much more positive, upbeat one. Just a guess that most of these women represented in the video are not investing in a business with their money (probably trying to pay the bills instead).
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    1. Definitely, Leora. Diane von Fürstenberg's story is much more positive than what applies to most of the women featured in the video. Showed it because, most likely, for most of you, like me, the fact that you can pawn your handbags and designer clothes is news. However, a woman, or man for that matter, can pawn valuables to finance a start-up. In these days when banks are reluctant to lend that's an option. You are much better off with a company that gives you an income than a designer bag.

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