*UPDATE: My Instagram is back, but I started writing this before it was reinstated so ignore the first two paragraphs.
Well, my Instagram account was suspended, but at least I have this shiny new Chanel Boy bag as a consolation prize.
While I wait for the Instagram Gods to decide whether I will get my account back in one day or one year (or never?), I thought I’d take this opportunity to speak to you all from the one thing that I can control in full – this blog. I’ve had issues with my Insta account in the past, and while they usually resolve themselves quickly, it’s jarring to me that a random bot can just delete my existence from the Insta world.
But, let’s focus on the positive – THE BAG OF MY DREAMS. I’ve spent the last two years stalking the medium Chanel Boy bag in black caviar with aged gold hardware. Because no one needs a $6000+ handbag, purchasing this bag has taken a backseat to the many actually important things in our life (ie. buying a house, planning a wedding, making sure we can still feed our dog after buying said unnecessary handbag). It was only a month or two ago that we (because, yes, when a bag costs $6k, it’s a “we” decision with my fiancé) decided to purchase it. It was a present from Dave and as if coming to terms with spend thousands on a bag wasn’t enough, I knew that it was going to be nearly impossible to find it brand new from a Chanel boutique.
Although I understand the allure of the pre-loved market, it’s my personal opinion that it doesn’t make much sense when it comes to Chanel. If I’m going to buy something used, I want a steep discount on it. Chanel bags oftentimes go for the same as retail, if not higher, on the pre-loved market due to supply and demand. For example, I paid $5900 for my medium boy bag brand new directly from a Chanel boutique. The same bag, used, is asking for $6175 on Fashionphile here.
For those of you interested in purchasing your first Chanel directly from a boutique, my advice to you would be this: go often. Chanel launches six(ish) collections a year, and the best time to buy are the two to three weeks right after a new collection is launched, as the boutiques will have the best selection then. Chanel is intentionally opaque with when collections are being launched, so stop by your nearest boutique, get the number of an SA (sales associate) you feel comfortable with, and follow-up frequently with said SA on whether they have the bag you are looking for.
If I were you, I wouldn’t waste my time calling the general customer care line you can find on Chanel’s website. Multiple calls into that number led me to realize that none of the advisors employed via telephone have any idea as to what kind of stock individual stores have. Chanel doesn’t operate like most retailers in that stores do not share their stock with one another. If there’s a boutique that has the bag of your dreams two hours away, don’t count on them to ship it to the boutique that’s ten minutes down the street from you.
If you somehow are in or near the Greater Philadelphia area, I highly recommend calling the Chanel located in Bala Cynwyd and asking to speak with Donna. Out of the four of five Chanel stores I worked with, she was, by and large, the most helpful SA. I had a hard time even getting most of the other stores to even pick up the phone, whereas the Chanel in Bala Cynwyd picked up their general line right away, and Donna gave me her cell shortly after that (yes, for some reason all Chanel SAs work off of their personal cell phones).
To summarize everything I did that didn’t work: Called the Chanel customer care line (the 1-800 number), signed up to be on a “list” with an SA so I could get a call when they got the bag in stock (two years of dying on that list and I realized I was probably never going to get a call), and got the number of an SA so they could text me when the bag was in stock…another spoiler: I never got a text. The exception to this would be Donna from the Chanel in Bala Cynwyd – she actually texted me when they got the bag back in stock, but by that time, I had already found it at another boutique.
Ultimately, what did work was frequently visiting my local Chanel, whether that be in Connecticut where we live, or in Pennsylvania while visiting family. I had a vague idea of when their new collections would be launched (the people on the 1-800 care line will give you like a 2-4 week window, which is about the only helpful thing you’ll get from them), so I would stop in and check to see if any of their classics were also released with the new collections. It wasn’t a weekly thing, and I didn’t kill myself looking for this bag. I probably visited Chanel maybe 4ish times over the course of the last few years while I was in the neighborhood, and finally…I stumbled across the bag inside the Chanel at Neiman Marcus in King of Prussia. It was a Friday and fairly quiet day at the store since I went during working hours. My mom and I had gone to the mall to look for comfortable heels that she could wear for our wedding, and I popped into the boutique and literally said to the SA, “there’s no way you have a medium boy bag in black caviar with gold hardware, right?” The rest is history. The SA pulled out the bag and I haven’t let go of it since (jk, obviously I let go of it to sleep).
I hope this was helpful, and if anything, encouraging, because despite what most people will tell you, you will eventually be able to find a classic style new directly from a Chanel boutique – no need to pay the used market markup.
Chanel newbie here too, recently acquired my first few this year and it was hard work! I searched for them across a few cities I had access to. I agree with everything you wrote above, except your experience with Donna at Bala C. I had the worst experience with her, she was the rudest and least professional one I’ve ever dealt with. It was such a degrading experience that I felt the need to submit an official complaint. The SA at NM at King of Prussia was the kindest and extremely helpful.. cannot remember his name. Chanel associates can be a hit or miss and an encounter with a bad one really puts such a damper on the entire experience.
Hi Sara! I’m so sorry to hear of your experience with Donna at Bala, that is so shocking since I had such a different experience with her, but I’m so glad you found an awesome SA at KOP. I’m based out of Connecticut and have also found the SAs in the Greenwich store here very helpful in case you’re ever up this way.