Jessica Koh once had a first-world problem many working women can relate to—too many bags and too little space to house all her “babies”.

In fact, the 42-year-old financial and estate planner has over 50 designer bags, and her envious collection includes brands such as Chanel, Bottega Veneta, Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga and Gucci.

Since March, she’s been a consignment customer with Style Theory Bags, earning between $60 and $150 per bag and around $500 each month by renting out bags she does not use.

Style Theory Bags is a designer-bag subscription service where users pay a monthly $129 fee to rent two bags for up to three months each time.

The company also allows consignors to put their luxury bags up for rental for a monthly payout in addition to maintenance and storage of the items.

However, not all of Jessica’s white elephants have been accepted—a bag’s condition and material are also taken into consideration by a team at Style Theory Bags.

According to Jessica, Style Theory Bags did not accept this Celine Trapeze Medium Orange
Tricolour because it is made with suede, a material that is prone to wear and tear
Image: Jessica Koh

Understandably, loaning your four-figure bag out to a stranger might not sit comfortably with owners—even if the said bag is insured against damage and loss.

According to Jessica, Style Theory Bags repairs minor wear and tear of her bags, and in the event of irreparable damage, she would receive compensation determined at the start of her consignment period.

A Platform To Earn Passive Income

From music streaming to ride-sharing, it’s now commonplace for people to turn towards rental alternatives for goods and services.

Especially with shrinking living spaces, loaning out personal items for a passive income (à la the Airbnb model) can be appealing for owners of luxury bags to leverage on their collection as an investment vehicle.

In doing so, these designer items can be seen as a real asset class just like luxury watches, supercars and sneakers, given how much certain bags can cost and the prices they fetch on the resale or consignment market.

Good news for us ladies then—expensive bags are no longer merely an accessory—and with the option to loan them out, the rent might even be enough to pay off the bag in the long run.

On the flip side, if you’ve been eyeing a particular bag with a price tag that has way too many zeroes, Style Theory Bags also lets you bring it home for a fraction of the price before you commit your entire paycheck to it.

How Much Is A Chanel Worth

If you’re willing to part with your designer bag for a minimum of three months, here’s a gauge of how much it’ll fetch you:

  • Chanel Old Medium Boy in Ruthenium Hardware Iridescent Rose Pink: $130-$160 per month
  • Medium Lady Dior Berry Red: $100-$120 per month
  • Quilted Lambskin Jumbo Classic Flap Bag in Dark Grey: $130-$150 per month
  • Saint Laurent Classic Small Sac Du Jour: $60-$80 per month

Bags are valued based on brands and styles—Chanel, Hermès and Dior bags tend to be valued higher as they are seen as exclusive and rare since demand outstrips supply for popular styles.

For those interested in the service, up to 20 bags can be consigned at a time, and the longer each bag is rented out, the more you’ll earn — your payout is pro-rated according to the number of days the bag is being borrowed.

Where To Earn Money Off Your Stuff

In addition to Style Theory Bags, other players in the rental market scene include Specter One and That Bag I Want, whose main business is renting — although they do help members sell items as an additional service.

If you’re looking to sell your designer bag, other companies such as Reebonz and Style Tribute offer the service, and for sneakerheads, there’s always Original Fook.

Looking for a platform that would literally allow you to put up anything? Try Singapore-based app MyRent, which was launched in December 2018 and has over 2,000 registered users.

From drones and DSLR cameras to diving equipment, winter coats and party decorations, the rental marketplace app encourages sharing behaviour to become the new norm and helps people get the most out of items lying idle and collecting dust.

Image: Showbit
Text: Joey Lee / AsiaOne / October