Five-Minute Powwow: An Interview with a Curator of It Bags & More

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On a recent stroll around SoHo (after a major carb splurge at The Dutch), I spied the telltale chain links glimmering in the sun – Chanel! Gently used investment bags (along with The Dutch’s sweet potato doughnuts) are a particular love of mine. So down I went into A Second Chance. What I discovered was a jewel of a shop featuring some of the most coveted pieces imaginable: Stephen Sprouse–edition Vuittons (yes, more than one). CÉLINE mini luggage. A bottle-green Lanvin leather dress. And, oh, the Chanel.

Now, better than any doughnut is an entire Boutique on Rue devoted to a curated collection of Chanel from this beloved NYC destination. This merited a chat with Natalie Rivera, daughter of owner Maria.

Rue La La: What inspired you to open A Second Chance?
Natalie: My mom, Maria, was an avid resale shopper. She always dreamed of owning a Chanel bag of her own one day and opened the store to stay active and involved in an industry she loved. She never dreamed the business would grow to what it has become today. I joined after working in corporate fashion for three years.

Rue La La: We hear you’re ruthless – in a good way – when deciding what makes the cut for the shop. And it shows.
Natalie: Authenticity is first and foremost. Once we are confident that the item is authentic, we appraise the condition to ensure that it is up to our standards. While condition of vintage items varies from piece to piece, we avoid selling items that show too much wear. Once this criteria has been established, we look for items that are classic and timeless. We accept both current and vintage pieces, but everything must be from a luxury designer. Our forte is Chanel, Hermès, and Louis Vuitton.

Rue La La: How tempted are you to buy the pieces right when they come in?
Natalie: We only accept items we love, so there’s always a strong desire to buy before they hit shelves. My mother and I are a good balance for each other; she loves to shop and I love to sell.

Rue La La: Is there something that always flies off your shelves?
Natalie: The fastest items to sell are Chanel black quilted classic flap bags with gold hardware. They are iconic bags and almost every girl aspires to own one.

Rue La La: What are people asking about most right now?
Natalie: Chanel vintage jewelry. The handbags have always been on their radar, but the jewelry is becoming more and more popular. There was a time when people would only be interested in the classic CC pieces, but the demand is now growing for the more unique Gripoix and vintage jewelry pieces.

Rue La La: What’s on your personal fashion wish list for spring?
Natalie: A pink Hermès Kelly bag. (Ed. note: Ours, too.)

Our Chanel: Picks by A Second Chance Resale Boutique opens Wednesday, March 13, at 11AM ET.

By Rachel Solomon, Associate Creative Director

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March 13, 2013