It’s a match made in heaven. Handbag heaven, that is.
Brenda Buschle loves photography and computers. Her mother loves handbags and retail. After years running a mobile X-ray company, Buschle sold her business to recover from a serious health condition. The experience gave her a new lease on life, and Buschle began looking for a fun new hobby she and her mother could enjoy together. On a whim, Buschle put a few of their gently used bags on eBay. When the bags sold almost as quickly as she could post them, Buschle knew she was onto something.
“I found an e-commerce summit out in Las Vegas, booked my spot and the rest is history,” Buschle explains. She started sourcing from manufacturers and stores, and built a successful eBay store. In 2010, she transformed her Springdale-based photography studio into a handbag warehouse and branched off from eBay to start selling directly through www.ChateauLeBeau.net.
Then, to sell the items that didn’t necessarily qualify as “first quality,” but were still high-end and highly desirable, she started selling those items through www.DesignerHandbagsRescue.com. These items, Buschle says, range from new bags with a possible minor defect to gently used. She works with leather repair experts and seamstresses to repair any defects.
The name “Chateau Le Beau” was inspired by Buschle’s dog, Beau, who is arguably head of the household. The name of “Designer Handbags Rescue” was also inspired by her four legged friends, as they are both rescue dogs.
Until late 2012, Chateau Le Beau was strictly online. But right before the holidays, a West Chester-based client called to ask if she could come by and see a bag. When she arrived, she was shocked by the variety of bags and asked to come back with friends to shop the selection in person rather than online.
|Brenda Buschle, founder of Chateau Le Beau and Designer
Today, to give customers a little taste of handbag heaven, Buschle offers a “Purse’onal Shopping Experience.” This gives shoppers with the opportunity to get a group of friends (at least six but no more than 20) together and schedule a time to stop by the warehouse and shop. Then, whoever hosts the get-together is given 10 percent of total sales in free merchandise at the end of the event, Buschle explains.
Purse’onal Shopping Experiences are booked at your convenience, days, evenings and weekends. “We usually schedule in 1-2 hour blocks depending on how many will be attending,” she explains. The showroom offers a mix of both new and gently used bags from all the brands they carry.
“The ladies love the bargain section where you can find top, name brand at discounts of up to 80 percent off,” Buschle adds. The bags from the bargain section are mostly from the used inventory and much of what is in the showroom is different from what’s listed online. So, it’s best to check out the sites before you stop by.
If you do find something you like online, write down the SKU numbers and bring them so they can pull it from the warehouse for you to see in person. Buschle says it’s also good to remember that the bags in the showroom are priced lower than merchandise online because they don’t have to cover the cost of packing and shipping.
Buschle says they have a very budget-friendly line of leather bags from Bacci that range from $30 to $100. There are also the leather bags from KGB Black Label, a newer line, for which prices range between $100 and $175. They also carry Big Buddha and Melie Bianco which average around $75. Then, there are the big names – Michael Kors, Coach, Sabina New York, etc. – that run from $200 to $400.
Chateau Le Beau also carries B. Makowsky, Tignanello, Giani Bernini, and Nino Bossi. “We also have smaller quantities of numerous other name brand designer bags,” she says. “Our inventory is always changing as we work with multiple liquidators, so a lot depends on what they’re offering.”
The average discount price at Chateau Le Beau is about 30 percent off retail but it really depends on the deals they’re given from liquidators. “We currently have a Michael Kors Deneuve on ChateauLeBeau.net that’s brand new with its original packaging listed for 40 percent off retail, Buschle says. “On DesignerHandbagsRescue.com, we have some store display bags (with no flaws) from Botkier and Kooba that are listed at 65 percent off retail.”
Buschle says Chateau Le Beau is expecting their first shipment of Sondra Roberts bags in mid-September and they’ve also recently contracted directly with Sequoia Paris. The bags will come straight from Paris and the quality of leather and detail is exquisite, Buschle adds. She says they expect these bags to arrive in mid-September as well.
Visit Chateau Le Beau at www.ChateauLeBeau.net and Designer Handbags Rescue at www.DesignerHandbagsRescue.com to learn more. To schedule your own Purse’onal Shopping Experience, call Chateau Le Beau at 513-835-3586 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.