These days, investments come in various forms and shapes. Gone are the days when the only wise investments were real estate and the like. As the adage goes, you get what you pay for, so who wouldn’t want to keep their luxury purchases kept at their best condition, right?
Authentic luxury leather bags can now be restored back to its “mint” or excellent used condition with the opening of the second branch of Duchess of Luxury Manila Bag Spa + Restoration. Located in the bustling Madrigal business district in Alabang, the shop is conveniently located in the vicinity of the neighboring prime residential villages in the area. The original outlet in Merville, Paranaque City will still continue to service customers in the Makati, BGC and nearby areas. An outlet in Cubao is also in the pipeline to act as the conduit for the QC clientele.
Owners of premium branded bags who live and work in the southern part of Metro Manila can now avail of expert services offered by Duchess of Luxury Manila, a one-stop shop for owning and maintaining luxury designer bags. The shop offers a complete range of services including Authentication on selected designer brands; Bag Spa, which uses its own leather conditioner called “DUKE Leather Conditioner” to clean, condition and protect expensive leather bags, while safeguarding the high-value investment from natural elements and daily wear and tear; Repair Services by Artisans– including stitching of exterior leather or inside lining, leather patching, rubber edge sealant services and Tannery through “ColoRestore” and “ColorMAGIC”, which can bring back the mint-condition and exceptional look and feel of bags. DLM also continues to offer brand-new and pre-loved purses of highly coveted brands like Chanel, Hermes, Louis Vuitton (LV), Givenchy, YSL, Balenciaga, Gucci, Prada and other sought-after brands.
How DLM Began
With almost 10 years of experience in the luxury bag business, Duchess of Luxury Manila Proprietress Roe Quiambao-Dillera knows first-hand the care and attention needed to maintain these luxury bags.
“Bags are a passion of mine. I started owning and collecting limited edition preloved and brand new premium branded bags even before I set up Duchess of Luxury Manila in 2008.”
In the late ‘90s, owning a Louis Vuitton or a Chanel became an obsession similar to collecting luxury watches, paintings or expensive cars. Ownership of these luxury designer bags was viewed as a badge of high quality and affluence. With no local outlets or store-owned boutiques then for premium bags, people can only buy these brands when traveling abroad.
Roe turned this passion for bags into a lucrative business. She started sourcing genuine branded bags directly from suppliers abroad, with a stringent set of requirements including that even the pre-loved or pre-owned bags should be delivered in their original boxes, dust bags, and authenticity cards. “In the past years, my regular clientele has grown and has rewarded me with their trust, because these are not just bags, they are investments. Much like jewelry, a lot of the customers I cater to maintain their bags in top condition to get a fair resale value, should they decide to part with their ‘babies.‘”
“In my previous corporate job as Department Head of Marketing Communications and PR, I travel to our Head Office in Japan and Regional office in Singapore two to three (2-3) times a year. Back then, it started out as a favor for my close friends who asked me to buy them Chanels or LVs in Japan. Japan was known for selling only authentic Excellent Used Condition designer bags. I would go to Komehiyo and Ginza area to scout for these finds.
And the quality of these preloved bags is really very good. There was even a time the LV bag I bought even had the blue plastic film in its zippered hardware! Connoting that the bag’s condition is brand new but categorized as pre-owned by the Japanese” she added.
Seeing this demand confirmed there was a market for these pre-loved items, and from just her circle of friends, her clientele grew with referrals from friends and acquaintances. To better manage the increasing demand, she decided to put up an online store on Facebook.
In 2015, Roe expanded what Duchess of Luxury Manila has to offer, in the form of top-notch services for the bags she sells to clients. “My clients would often ask me if I can recommend anyone who can repair a scuffed handle or remove ballpen marks on their Chanel or LVs.”
In her travels to what are considered as bag capitals of the world such as Florence, Italy and Paris, France, she makes it a point expand her orientation and relevant supplier contacts to make sure that the level of services will be as premium as the bags themselves. “It is really a practical jump from just selling to cover these services for customers. To ensure that a luxury bag can be handed down and enjoyed by the next generation, but, yet still maintain a good market value for reselling, if the need arises, thus expert maintenance is a must. That is why our team of craftsmen or Artisans offer services that are at par with the best of what the global bag capitals have to offer.”
“The leather material is delicate and will be subjected to daily wear and tear, humidity and environmental pollutants. Over time, the quality of leather and the bag itself can deteriorate if not properly cared for. This is not a welcome prospect for the owners who spend a big investment in acquiring these bags. Sending the bags to an ordinary local leather repair shop is not suitable as the “tanning” of the leather is unique to each brand,” explains Roe.
“My vision for DLM Showroom is not just to sell luxury designer bags but to be a venue for servicing these luxury leather items as well as having a community of bag lovers like me, where I can share what I have learned from handling these designer items, including sharing tips on the different kinds of leather— from Calfskin, Goatskin and Lambskin, distressed versus smooth— how to properly care for each type of material and even how to spot a non-authentic bag from the real one. A complete luxury bag experience.“
“Owning a luxury designer bag nowadays has developed from just being a status symbol while enjoying the beauty of a finely-crafted leather bag. Based on my personal experience, these are also good investments if you know the right circle of people. Instead of just disposing an old bag when you get tired of it, or you fancy an “upgrade”, you might get back a sizeable amount of money if you resell it, as long as it is in excellent condition,” concludes DLM Proprietress Roe Quiambao-Dillera.
Duchess of Luxury Manila in Ayala Alabang is located at G/F CTP Alpha Tower Investment Drive, Madrigal Business Park, Ayala Alabang, Muntinlupa City. Business hours are from 10 AM to 7 PM, Mondays to Saturdays.
Follow DLM’s FB page and Instagram account at www.instagram.com/duchessofluxurymanila/.