Pre-owned and pre-loved: Simple ways to afford premium quality items

I started talking about market segmentation in one of my previous posts (that the mid-segment is disappearing, but the lower segment and upper segment are simultaneously on the rise – see here for more). However, even if you are a household that is searching ways to save money there are numerous possibilities how you can get premium quality items. First, you can rent them (e.g. renting exists for almost everything, even handbag rental services are well-known in the US, but are also starting to hit European markets), second, you can share (a car, an office space, even a private jet), or third, you can buy them pre-owned. Although the first two options are likewise very interesting, in this post I would like to elaborate a bit on the last option.

For those who cannot afford (or doesn’t want to pay) the full price tag which comes with a first ownership of a luxury item, there is a huge second-hand market. You can find luxury goods in specialized second-hand shops, in antique shops, in vintage shops, thrift shops, pawn shops, on some flea markets, at garage-sales, but also online – on peer-to-peer selling platforms (I have my Delvaux bag via for example) or on specialized luxury vintage online shops. Wait, too many terms. I guess I need a side note here…

Side note: when you see words like: “second-hand”, “vintage”, “antique”, “pre-loved”, “pre-owned” – in essence it’s all the same thing – there has been somebody before you, not necessarily wearing or using the thing, but owning it for sure. I somehow like the term “pre-owned”, because “second-hand” for some people has a negative connotation. Remembered a funny thing, actually: somebody I know told once that she would never ever wear anything second-hand and the next day proudly posted a picture of herself in a hotel robe… Yep. Never. My “never” with respect to pre-owned items is only underwear, no compromises here. But for the rest…

We buy a lot pre-owned: different tools for my husband, our elliptic trainer, our floor lamp (fancy Arco by brothers Castiglioni), our golf sticks, our golf bags and trolleys, whole bunch of kids clothes and shoes. If we talk about kids clothes, there is a lot of nearly new, almost not worn, or washed-and-forgotten-until-it-is-too-late items, sold at a fraction of the original price. Kids grow up so fast that on a lot of occasions you are just not able to wear all the clothes that you bought and received as gifts.

A separate place for getting some great pre-owned items are bankruptcy auctions. In a lot of cases you are able to get completely new items coming out of the stock of a bankrupt business, in other cases – you can get their professional equipment or some other items they had on their books. One of the main caveats here is that frequently one lot is a bulk, so instead of getting one hotel bed you might need to immediately buy five (and be aware of the auction fee!). On the other hand, the price of five is more or less the same as the price of one in retail, and you can get some extra money if you feel like taking the trouble to further resell what you don’t need.

The bottom line is that there are numerous ways how to become the proud owner of premium quality stuff – just know what you want and do some research. And trust me, a premium quality robust pre-owned item will serve you much longer than their cheap counterparts, and in the end the buying price might even be the same.


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