Image by Cathryn Virginia | Photos by Getty/Jason Merritt/TERM and Ebay
Let’s say you want a designer bag but you’re a normal person, which means you don’t have thousands of dollars lying around. Or the environmental impact of buying new clothes scares you. Where do you think Mary Kate Olsen’s Hermès Kelly bag looks? exponentially cooler because she slowly destroyed it. Where do you go to find reliable and authentic used products? Should you become obsessed with real estate sales? Remember the restocking dates of your local thrift stores? Haggling with a 17-year-old Briton on Depop? No, no, and – thank God – no.
If you’re willing to invest some time in window shopping, Japan-based eBay resellers have literally thousands of designer bags for sale. You may still have to put down a few hundred dollars, compared to the thousands it costs to buy first-hand designer goods. But unlike some sleazy second-hand options, at least what you buy is virtually guaranteed to be genuine.
Marc Frank is a full-time US-based retailer who has been returning clothes for almost 20 years. For the past five years, he’s turned to Japanese eBay sellers when looking for second-hand designer bags, a fact he regularly shares on his TikTok account. “People are always in the comments saying, ‘OK, you can delete this now, we’ve seen it,’ as a joke,” Frank told VICE. “But you can go to one of these sellers’ page and they have 10,000 bags. It’s not like I’m sharing a secret source for a few really cheap bags. Everyone can and should be able to find these things by itself.
When Frank started buying bags in Japan, he found he was able to sell them for a profit on the same eBay he bought them from, simply because sellers trusted his New York-based company more than ever. overseas — ironic, because he said he constantly sees fake designer goods circulating in the U.S. resale market, especially on resale platforms like Depop and Poshmark.
“There are authentic designer bags in thrift stores [in the U.S.], but not as much or as frequently as on TikTok,” he said. “The resale world is so big now, and it’s easy to take shitty pictures at home and list an item on Poshmark or Depop, but 80% of that stuff that’s posted [by TikTokers] are not genuine products. For someone who just thinks “I’m done with my 10-year-old Prada bag, let me put it in the trash”, knowing that the world around us is so fond of second-hand and designer clothes …it’s the first flag red bag.”
What sets Japan apart is its already robust luxury market and its strict regulations regarding the sale of counterfeit designer goods. “Japan has very strict counterfeit laws,” Frank said. “It’s like illegal drugs there. If an account is based in Japan, they won’t try to sell a fake knowing that their country’s laws and regulations are so strict. The only thing that may be questionable is how the transaction is going – their delivery time and their professionalism. But if you like what you see and end up buying something, that product will be genuine.
Part of the reason this strategy flies under the radar is ignorance. Neighboring China is world famous for producing counterfeit products that are getting closer and closer to the real deal as manufacturing technology improves and demand increases, which Frank says is casting a cloud over the market. Japanese Resale – Buyers could see sellers based in an Asian country and automatically write them as sketchy or DHGate-style scammers.
So how do you actually shop on Japanese eBay? If you’re familiar with the bag you want, a specific search is a great place to start, but something like “Louis Vuitton tote” or “Prada backpack” can also work. All you need to do is view the results and click on one of the listings. that note that the item ships from Japan (annoyingly, you can’t filter sellers more specifically than “USA only”, “North America”, or “Worldwide” on the eBay website or app ). You can also backtrack by looking at the inventory of a few of the larger resale accounts: Frank specifically recommended next-innovation and brandstreet.tokyo as reputable vendors.
The goal is not necessarily that you will get your goods very cheaply – some items may be cheaper, but some may be more expensive than resale in the USA. The real benefit is that you actually know what you’re paying for: the most thorough sellers list their product flaws in detail and categorize items with a grade indicating their condition, with anchored points for things like stains, peeling leather, faded colors. , frayed seams, torn straps, and even storage-related odors. That’s why Frank suggests buying from Japanese eBay users who offer free returns. “I had to give some back,” he said. “If you get a bag and it’s not what you thought – you’re bummed out like, ‘I don’t want it’ – you just need a printer and a box to send it back, so there’s really no reason not to give it a shot.