The History of VDB – Vintage Designer Handbags Online
I am originally from Jamaica,
I have been living in the UK for the past 19 yrs..
I came seeking a better life so I followed the conventional path of college then going to University to do a Master degree in Business Admin..
I came from humble beginnings my father was a barber shop owner and mom (now deceased) worked in the Jamaican postal service.
So I worked very hard part-time to educate myself, doing all manner of jobs, cleaner in a school, cashier in Netto Supermarket (doing 10 hour days), hotel house keeping, hotel receptionist.
Even ended up working on cars changing spark plugs, oil and tires in a garage after applying for a job as receptionist!
After Uni I started to look for a jobs with my MBA and quickly realised that no one was going to hire a MBA student with no experience and I think having a strong Jamaican accent at the time didn’t do much for me either..
I didn’t have enough experience to get a job with the MBA qualification and wasn’t hired for lesser job as I was deemed over qualified!
Talk about being between a rock and a hard place! `
I was very discouraged, however the computer/internet back then was still a bit of novelty to me, I had gotten a taste of it while working as a receptionist in a guest house.
My then husband (we are now separated) gave me a laptop…
I was fascinated by computers and the internet!
The most I normally used the computer for was to complete university assignments and the internet to check emails and hangout in MSN chat rooms.
I had gotten an email account (exciting times) off course I spent lots of time checking to see if I got any mails!
I was super excited to receive what is now called “spam” I read everything.
Long story short one day I thought the internet is amazing! There must be a way to make money with the laptop, thus I typed in “how to make money online”
I was blown away by what I found..
I was going to “push a button” and become the next internet millionaire!!!
From then on I lived and breathed the internet only take time out for bathroom breaks! Yep I would forget to eat sometimes and would just have a sandwich over the laptop!
The fist company I signed up with was SFI, a MLM (Multi Level Marketing) company.
My upline/sponsor Sylvia, took me under her wings made contact via MSN chat and told me how to promote my new found business..
Create your own page and build links to your keyword was how it worked at the time to get traffic for potential leads to my business..
I went on to buy countless products and services over the years, as when you bought something there was always something else you need for the fist thing to work, so this created a never ending spiral of “shelfhelp” products filling up my hard drive.
As soon I bought the must have “thingy” that was going to make me an internet millionaire something came out that was going to get me there even faster.
I also hated the idea at the time which was you buy a make money online product and whole idea of making money online was to sell ebooks telling people to sell ebooks to make money online!!
I know right!!
Unsuccessful and frustrated I decided that the gurus where never going to give me “their true push button secrets ” so I decided selling physical products was my best option.
My inspiration at time was, I was trying to keep my hair natural but wanted something that would help to keep it manageable and had no harmful chemicals, something completely natural…
My motto is treat people how you would like to be treated.. this didn’t feel right!
By now I was now a master at online research and I had also developed some intermediate level web design and SEO (search engine optimisation) skills .
Back to my first physical product story .. I found this natural hair product seller in the US, that I was happy with and thought I would also help others who had my dilemma.
So I built first my ecommerce store using one of cpanel (you get this with most purchased hosting) free shopping cart called os-commerce.
Naturalhairrelaxers.co.uk was born about 2004!
Even better yet about a week later I had my first sale £29!!! Whoopie..
The greatest thing about the internet marketing is that the skills and knowledge gained are transferable to any market!
I went on to build a sizeable customer base even had a subscription service..
However it was plagued by logistics nightmares.
The supplier would take my payment and failed to deliver weeks on end!
I had a lot of angry dissatisfied customers, I felt terrible just when things where going well!
I found a new supplier same product different packaging and sold my customers the new line…
However I ran into the same problems with the new supplier and not to mention I hated going to the post office!
I moved to Portugal with my then husband and this created further problems as the postal service in Portugal was horrible its as if I travelled back in time!
Once I again I was fed up and frustrated..
I remember my brother in law Peter, whose nick name for me was Internet Millionaire said what you need to sell to be rich are big money items! Aha!
I had found a new quest… What big ticket items could I find to sell online?
I was an avid reader of the business news – a newspaper for business people which was advised to read while doing my masters, as well as The Times, FT, any reputable business articles etc..
I think I remember reading an article about how much money was being made in the luxury industry at the time and I thought that this would be the ideal industry for my big ticket item!
My search lead to eBay where luxury designer handbags where selling like hotcakes..
Mostly fakes being pawned off as the real macoy at unbelievable prices!
Off course being a newbie I believed the sellers and wanted to find a way to get in on the action, (not buying but selling)..
Further research increase my knowledge on the industry and lead me the Chinese suppliers of these so called “real designer handbag” of these eBay powersellers, who were just selling top class replicas also know as AAA+.
I confess I am no saint I did try to emulate these sellers with little success, but because of my christian morales I was plagued by guilt.
I knew that this was not how I wanted to build a business..
My motto treat other how you would like to be treated would not give me a clear conscience
Now there were a few legit sellers on eBay, selling authentic pre-owned handbags.
My research at the time using a software called (Ebay Hot item finder) had revealed that Chanel handbags was the most coveted designer handbag of all
Infact it had what I can only describe as a cult following!
I had found my high ticket item!
Preowned Chanel Designer Handbags!
I found a seller who was selling loads of used Chanel bags and had lots of great feed back from happy customers and an impeccable reputation for selling the real deal!
I made contact telling him that I was interested in buying wholesale and we agreed a discounted price!
I bought, I think about 3 Chanel bags initially which I listed on eBay and I thought finally the money was now going to roll in!
Now I had a legit supplier and a legit sustainable business that I could proudly build!
As I was making plans how I was going to spend my new found wealth, countries and spas I would visit….
Ebay rolled out its VERO programme and majority of the luxury handbags sellers were slapped!
I was among others was booted of Ebay and my account banned!!
It didn’t matter that I was selling the real stuff..
I went down with the bad apples!
The brand owners where off-course unhappy and Ebay was held accountable.
To say I was shocked and angry at time was an understatement!!!
I thought how could they do this!
After all I was now abiding my the rules and trying to start a legit business!
Further more what was I do to with my current stock?
I was more interested in selling than owning designer bags!
In my disappointment I declared ….
I am going to create my own eBay for designer handbags which would eventually leave eBay in the dust!
I refused to quit because I had also seen that this was a multimillion industry!
My supplier who was also booted or left eBay, had moved on to setup his own offline store in London Covent Gardens.
I told him that I wanted to sell my bags online (as I know he wasn’t doing this so I would not be competing with him.)
So I asked him if I could contact his buyers from eBay to tell them about my new authentic pre-owned designer handbags online store, he agreed.
So in January 2007 VintageDesignerHandBagsOnline.com was born!
The name was inspired by google keyword search which revealed this to be a great keyword to rank for (remember I was an internet marketer after all ).
I think I coined the internet phrase “Vintage Designer bags” as no one at the time was selling used handbags online from a website!
There was a lot of searches for “where to buy Chanel bags online”
As Chanel was sold only in stores at the time.
Otherwise It was either eBay or special groups or forums.
Now all that has changed now even big department stores are selling pre-owned bags!
This was going to be IT!
Or so I thought….
I quickly discovered there was a big learning curve.. I had to quickly learn how to become a Chanel bag cconnoisseur ..
I remember a customer calling me once to haggle price and she kept saying she would only be happy to pay more if it was a “perforated version” Chanel bag!
I held my own in the conversation as I had acquired some knowledge of Chanel bags but in the back of my mind I was thinking “perforated version chanel!”
What the hell is she going on about?
I later learned she was talking about the Caviar leather Chanel bag (sort of pimpled skin leather).
Business was going well, not without its fair share of challenges mind you.
I even remember at one point I somehow became the hate target of a very popular purse forum!
No idea why… as I was just busy doing my own thing.
A few of my loyal customers came to my defence bringing it to my saying who attention saying that I need to go there and defend myself but I thought, no publicity is bad publicity..
It’s all just publicity!
My energy was best spent building my business.
I chose to ignore it until I noticed that a particular forum thread in google searches was coming up with search for my company!
Hard to ignore then.. I had to take a look and I was shocked!
Where was all the hate coming from!
Anyway long story short I had to take action and put a stop to it!
VDB business model was had many flaws, one again being logistics as my supplier had revealed his source so I decided to go went direct, he had also left the bag business to explore other ventures.
In trying to reduce cost I would have my agent ship as and when the item was sold, this lead to severe delivery delays.
Also building customer trust was a challenge when selling high ticket items, as the industry was plagued with fake sellers, customer needed extra reassurance to feel secure about handing over large sums of money.
I remembered being thoroughly interrogated on the phone by my fist first few customers.
A common question was are these handbags authentic?
So I decided to pass my knowledge of identifying fakes onto customers by providing the information freely on the website.
Also note that Chanel brand is highly policed, If anyone puts a site selling fakes their website is brought down almost immediately by Chanel legal actions team.
Business was going well, I was building trust as the online go to place for authentic designer even had some celebrity clientele.
Then a series of disaster struck;
My marriage had broken down and I think I spent about 2 years of my life in limbo hoping for reconciliation..
Then my youngest bother died in a bike crash 21 years of age in Jamaica, he was last remaining sibling (mother had four children in total)
I was his guardian and his sister. I was inconsolable.
Also my persoanl assistant who I had hired and trusted to help me with my business, decided to use her new found insights to start her own designer handbags business! Being a trusting person I had nothing in place that prevented my business from being plagiarised.
I was devastated failed marriage, death of my last sibling (by mom, dad has other kids) and to top it off my business model stolen by someone I had come to trust, while I was attending my brothers funeral in Jamaica.
I lost focus and passion not to mention I was still chasing the internet marketing dream throwing good money after a bad..
Instead of reinvesting revenue from VDB back into the business
(I had gotten to point where I was earring about several thousands pounds per month per month and even secured a lucrative deal to supply a department store in Hong Kong)
I would attend internet marketing seminars buying various high ticket programs.
After all internet marketing was my first love and I still wanted the push button dream!
I think I also attracted a lot of vultures because of my business earning potential.
My business suffered, I was also niggled with self doubts that maybe I shouldn’t be in the luxury industry as luxury goods was not my real passion..
Internet marketing was my true passion.
I truly enjoyed looking for demands in the market place and helping people to find what they were looking for.
After all the tragedies, I felt alone, overwhelmed and life became meaningless.
So I decided to take some time out or rather I think life decided I needed to take a break!..
I needed to regroup.
I started hanging out more with my Uncle, who he and his partner had just had twin boys so welcomed the help.. they became my world!
I became their second mom.
I felt loved and happy, this time provided the healing I needed..
I think the love from a child is the purest, the best love ever, free from preconditions and judgements! Heals the soul.
After a while with dwindled cash flow (you can only feed on love for so long) and feeling a bit more balanced having connected with family.
I decided it was time for me to get back in the game after all 4 years was enough, (I was also missing it).
I had yet to achieve my goal.
This time I would take things slowly, learning from my mistakes and seeing how best to improve on what I had before..
First I was going to work on myself, my mindset so I devoured motivational books, podcasts, documentaries, spiritual leaders talks also YouTube became a great resource.
I could chose exactly what I want to see and hear to feed my mind.
I fell in love with one channel in particular Ralph Smart – Infinite Waters diving deep.
I truly resonated with his teachings and listened to him day and night.
No more television. “Telling lies to my vision”
In fact I told myself I would not watch TV again until I made at least £10K.
I think during my mindset journey something shifted..
I decided I deserved to be successful thus I restarted my Handbags Business ( I had to restart as the hosting company had deleted my dedicated server with all my websites!)
Now once again I am back on track.
My projects are doing great and life is awesome!
I also now have a beautiful 9 mth old baby girl called Micaela, to love and mentor.
Micaela means gift from God. I have been compensated by the universe for all the loss I had. I look at her and somehow I see my mother, sister and brothers.
I continue invest in learning (another passion). I have found mentors that keeps me focused.
I am well on my way to achieving my ALL my life goals!