Okay fashionistas and luxury brand fanatics – pop quiz: What brand comes to mind when I say Hamptons Signature Satchel? Bleeker Duffel? Heritage Stripe Tote?
Did you guess Coach? You smarty pants – you are correct.
Where do you think that Hamptons bag was made? Think again.
I have recently begun an arduous program of using every gift card, gift certificate and store credit I’ve ever been issued. Reason number one being many of them will be eaten by their issuers at a charge of $2.50 to $5.00 per month if not used. I fear some companies may go out of business altogether, so hey – I’m shopping.
This weekend I was only up for one mall store visit so I chose Coach as I had a $100 gift card to burn. (That one has been hanging around for a while because there is not much at Coach in the $100 price range.) Now I need another handbag like I need another arm, but one cannot let gift cards evaporate.
To spare myself the agony known as retail clerks, I hit the website and made my selection on line, carefully memorizing the name of the product. “I would like the Hamptons Signature Tote Capacity Wristlet in black please” I practiced in the mirror.
Luck was on my side because as I entered the store I spied the exact item hanging on the front wall. I snatched it up and walked directly to the register. To wait in line. Ugh. The economy may be struggling, but not, apparently, in the luxury leather goods market.
A young woman with a palm pilot-like device approached asked if I’d found what I was looking for as she tapped some information into the device. I showed her my selection and proudly declared “I would like the Hamptons Signature Tote Capacity Wristlet in black please.” “Yes,” she sniffed, “I got that.” I don’t think I received an ounce of credit for memorizing the name. I was informed that someone would be out with my bag shortly and directed to pay the young woman behind the register.
I paid up and then wandered the store for 5 minutes until someone in the back room wrapped the bag in tissue, applied a sticker and delivered it to me out front. I perused the featured bags ranging in price from $798 to $7000. Yikes, step away from the display table. Before I could do any damage fortune smiled and a young lady stepped from the back room and called my name. I grabbed my bag and ran.
When I got home I unwrapped my new bag and when I finished removing the Coach branded tissue from inside the bag I found an interesting surprise – a country of origin label. MADE IN CHINA. Are you kidding me?
For all of the counterfeit goods seizures in the news, Coach sent its patterns to China? I bought a $98 thingy and it wasn’t even made here? I dragged out a few bags from my luxury closet (okay, a basket in the regular closet) to see where they were made. Prada: made in Italy. Groom: made in Paris. Il Bisonte: made in Italy. Coach, what are you thinking?
Is a luxury brand still a luxury brand if the country of origin is better known for counterfeit luxury goods?
Operators are standing by and I’m dying to learn your opinions on this one.