I’ve purchased a few Chanel pieces in the last years. I am in no way a Chanel expert, but I have picked up a few tips and tricks along the way which can help you find the style that you are looking for. I found that buying Chanel isn’t anything like buying other luxury brands. It can be like buying Hermes, where the styles are extremely hard to find, especially in Canada. Whereas I find buying Louis Vuitton or other brands much less stressful because they don’t tend to limit the number of styles that come out each season. Chanel comes out with a very high number of bag styles each season, but each style only comes in a limited number of pieces, which can be annoying when you have your eye on a certain style. Hopefully these tips can be helpful if you are looking to buy your next Chanel piece!
1. Work with a salesperson
As a luxury brand, Chanel primarily works on relationship sales. I.e., if you have a good relationship with one or many salespeople, they will try harder to get you the styles you want. This is especially true if you are looking for a highly sought after style, for example a Classic Mini. Salespeople will always, always save the best stock for the people they already have an existing relationship with.
Now in order to build a relationship, you can either buy lots from a single salesperson, or if you are just looking for a specific bag, go visit the store often and chat with a particular salesperson. You want them to get to know you as a person and not just as a customer, and once you’ve built up that relationship, you can see if they are willing to find things for you. Keep in mind that each salesperson works with many clients, so they’re not going to remember which styles you are looking for – you really have to proactively ask them, and ask often, in order to get them to remember you and the style you’re looking for.
2. Check Purseforum
I am obsessed with Purseforum’s Chanel subforum, which may or may not be a good thing. Chanel releases a plethora of bags and accessories each season, but not every store will order the same things. Purseforum has an abundance of users who post what they see at boutiques, as well as what styles are available based on what their salespeople share with them.
Vancouver, and Canada in general, is like a Chanel deadzone because the stores here don’t order much of each season’s stock, so if you want to plan ahead to what is going to be available, check out the Purseforum. Not only does the U.S. get way more stock that us, they also get it a few weeks earlier so you can see what’s available and then call up your salesperson to ask for stock availability.
3. Call Chanel to check stock
Each Chanel product has a dedicated product code that comprises of three parts – the style code, leather code, and leather code. The code is something like 15 or 18 characters long, and is unique to a particular style, in a specific leather and colour. If you are having issues finding the stock you want, you just need to do a bit of internet research to figure out what the code is for that style, and then you can actually call Chanel’s phone number listed on their website to find out which store has what stock. I am 99% sure this is how personal shoppers help their customers find products. Save yourself that personal shopper mark-up, and find it yourself!
4. Buy pre-loved versus new
There comes a time when you need to decide to pick up a product new or pre-loved. You’d be surprised that buying pre-loved doesn’t always mean you can save money – a lot of times very popular pre-loved styles can come with a steep mark-up. Leather type can also affect the pre-loved price, for example pre-loved lambskin will usually not sell as well as caviar, so if you are looking for a lambskin style, you can likely find one in good condition for a good price.
Some styles you have no choice but to buy pre-loved, for example if you want one with hardware that is real gold plated versus just gold coloured. Also some styles are so popular that you’ll end up waiting more than a year for it, so you might have to buy pre-loved if you are wanting to get your hands on it sooner rather than later.
Depending on the style you want, it’d be a good idea to stalk consignment sites such as Fashionphile or Ann’s Fabulous Finds to see the trend of prices for the style you are looking for.
Just based on what I’ve seen, some styles that have pretty good pre-loved prices include any lambskin styles, and the classic Medium/Large flap in beige clair caviar leather in either gold or silver hardware. Styles that are very marked-up on the pre-loved market include the rectangular and square minis in caviar, as well as any coveted seasonal colours, such as the oil slick rainbow hardware Boy bag from a few seasons ago, and any styles in the light gold / rose gold chevron caviar from last year.
Hope these tips were useful for you!