[Editor’s Note: This week, we’re taking it a small slow to take pleasure in a single of the final weeks of summer time, so we’ll have a mix of each new posts and the most well-liked articles we’ve published in the current previous. This is a single of the latter, in case you missed it.
In my almost decade-extended profession covering luxury brands, I’ve never ever believed of Louis Vuitton bags as scarce. To a particular extent, that is a query of scale: Louis Vuitton has been the greatest luxury brand in the globe for all of current history. If your corporation is that huge, you are going to be satisfying the majority of customer demand as a matter of course, since the company wouldn’t have grown to that size if it didn’t have manufacturing skills that outpaced its competitors, which tends to make correct scarcity far significantly less most likely than it would be for a smaller sized brand.
Louis Vuitton does quite a few of the issues other brands do to shore up a sense of exclusivity about its items, like requiring shoppers to acquire straight from the brand and never ever placing accessories on sale. Barring an It Bag predicament or particular situations (such as the amazing, sustained demand for the Hermès Birkin and Kelly), even though, it is quite quick to acquire even the most well-liked designer bags from almost any brand. But lately, Louis Vuitton bags, wallets, and tiny accessories can really feel downright scarce. For instance, proper now, two of the 4 sizes of Vuitton’s most well-known bag, the Speedy, are sold out in monogram canvas, each in the regular and bandouliere models. I can not recall that taking place any other time in the previous decade.
The Speedy is not a bag whose scarcity tends to make sense—it’s positioned as a handbag gateway drug, the form of bag that inures new consumers to the thought of becoming luxury shoppers. Its acquire need to really feel like an occasion since it is an person initially, not since the bag itself was tricky to track down. The Birkin, on the other hand, is the type of bag whose scarcity moves it to the top rated of the purchasing list for ladies who have extended been obtaining what ever they want gaining their interest demands various techniques than for these initially getting into the ranks of luxury shoppers. Simply because introductory-tier bags like the Speedy are impacted by Louis Vuitton’s stock challenges, as properly as quite a few wallets and tiny leather goods that are typically intended to be sold at higher volume, it appears as even though Vuitton’s out-of-stock dilemma is at least partially genuine rather than completely manipulated by LV in order to stoke buyer demand. So what’s causing it?
We reached out to Louis Vuitton for comment, but the brand declined to participate in this story. That is typically how luxury brands method inquiries to their stock practices and manufacturing, which are complete of tightly guarded secrets. What we do know, even though, is that customer interest in Louis Vuitton, and in particular in its monogram bags, has rebounded in a enormous way below the leadership of inventive director Nicolas Ghesquiere. At the exact same time, the brand’s handbag and accessories lines have been in expansion mode, adding new styles regularly, which logically spreads LV’s current manufacturing capacity thinner, to cover a wider set of bags.
And we know that Louis Vuitton is actively seeking to expand its handbag manufacturing: In October 2017, the brand announced it would be constructing a new bag and luggage manufacturing center in Keene, Texas, which will open in 2019 and employ 500 people today. By all indications, the bags are promoting out since people today are obtaining them. Louis Vuitton may possibly also be shifting its manufacturing capacity to improve production of other bags in its lineup, thereby creating fewer of the super-well-liked designs than it has in the previous, but its difficult to think about widespread inventory complications and investment in elevated manufacturing capacity taking place simultaneously without having substantially elevated customer interest playing a part. It appears like a ideal storm of components: demand is growing just as Louis Vuitton has selected to reallocate its sources in a way that constrains provide of particular bags.
Our forum members speculate that Louis Vuitton is shifting some of its concentrate to its much more high priced all-leather bags, and at least on the surface, this theory appears plausible—stock levels of the well-liked leather bags we checked are carrying out notably superior than their monogram counterparts, even though there are also inventory complications to be located amongst them. For instance, the just-launched epi leather version of the Louis Vuitton Neonoe Bag is completely sold out on the internet, even though all colors have been obtainable at launch and a couple of them have been nevertheless in stock as of final week. Forum members have been floating rumors and theories, some of them heard from in-shop LV associates, about looming discontinuations of well-liked bags and tighter stock constraints coming up. Primarily based on anything I’ve study and noticed, even though, the simplest explanation is in all probability the proper a single: The bags have come to be notably much more well-liked, so there’s fewer of them obtainable, and that will in all probability be correct till Vuitton expands its manufacturing capacity in a meaningful way.
On our PurseForum, members have been documenting their complications acquiring common Louis Vuitton stock considering that early November. The bag that is been impacted for the longest—its thread goes back more than a year—is the Pochette Metis, which is presently a single of the brand’s most well-liked styles. Each monogram versions and 3 of the 5 colors of the bag’s leather model are presently sold out. Megs has been attempting to get her hands on a single in monogram for weeks and has had no luck so far, but involving her encounter and these of our forum members, we’ve been capable to compile some recommendations, tricks and ideal practices for finding your hands on the difficult-to-locate LV bag of your dreams.
Very first, you will know a bag is sold out on the internet since when you choose it, it’ll say “call for availability” exactly where the button to location it in your cart would ordinarily be. That is prompting shoppers to make contact with the brand’s central buyer service quantity, which can double verify site stock numbers for any buyer. In order for that buyer service line to support you locate the bag in a shop and arrange for a charge-send acquire, even though, you will have to have created a acquire with Louis Vuitton in the previous year. My understanding is that this acquire requirement wasn’t normally the case, so that restriction suggests quite a few shoppers are in search of support acquiring bags to have shipped from shops, and LV desires to guarantee there will nevertheless be bags left for shoppers to acquire when they come into their regional boutique. Some products on the Louis Vuitton site will say “out of stock” alternatively of “call for availability,” and in these instances, it is in all probability ideal to start off purchasing for one thing else.
When Megs contacted Louis Vuitton’s worldwide buyer service line to inquire about the Pochette Metis, she was advised that there weren’t any presently obtainable to be shipped from shops in the US, and that her ideal bet would be to verify in with the Louis Vuitton website in the evenings, when a handful of bags (seriously, like two or 3) are sometimes released for acquire as they come to be obtainable. When you see a single, you have to act promptly.
If you reside close to a Louis Vuitton shop, your luck may possibly be a bit superior, in particular if you have an current connection with a sales associate. In-shop shoppers are provided initially dibs on bags that arrive in shop stock, and shop associates are the ones who determine who gets on get in touch with lists and how that stock is allocated. As with any difficult-to-get piece in style, it normally pays to be a type and loyal buyer.
As with all sought-immediately after luxury goods, even though, the most expedient route to finding your hands on a sold-out Louis Vuitton bag is in all probability to acquire from a third celebration and spend more than retail. Web sites like Vestiaire Collective and The Actual Actual have promptly availability of Louis Vuitton’s most well-liked bags, but in a clear testament to how sought-immediately after quite a few of them are proper now, the selections in like-new situation will run you properly more than retail rates.
Illustration by Brooke Costello.