A Trip to Yi Sen Leather Goods Wholesale Market


Guangzhou Markets
Wholesale Markets Near the Old Guangzhou Rail Station

The Yi Sen Wholesale Market in Guangzhou is several stories tall and stretches for blocks. It’s not too far from the old train station. As you approach on the street, your nostrils begin to detect the smell of leather. There are other smells mingled in. I guess it’s only fitting that a leather alternative be called PU.

I love wandering around this market. Actually, I love wandering around most of Guangzhou’s wholesale markets. And there’s a ton of them. The Yi Sen Wholesale Market and the Baiyun World Leather Wholesale Market are pretty much across the street from each other. Here you can find bags, belts, shoes and leather accessories. You can also get a real education in the art of knock-off.

Mulberry Knock-offs
Mulberry Knock-offs

Yes, you’ll see fake Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Coach, Chanel, Juicy Couture, you name it. Some of it is good – very good. Any wonder then, why most (not all) designer labels have moved their manufacturing to China? Which brings up the question: When does a “designer label” become “not a designer label?”

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Real Men Carry Purses


Article first published as Two Turtledoves and a Gucci From Italy on Blogcritics.

Hello, my name is Ron and I’m a purse-o’holic. I prefer that spelling. It’s more upbeat.

I first began to realize I might be addicted when I found myself using keywords on the Internet: clutch, tote, wristlet. I know them all. By the way, remember to use upper case C when you search for Coach. Unless you’re into whistles.

Next, it was DVD’s. I’d freeze frame on the shot of the beautiful girl just to gaze at her Gucci. Lately, I’ve been introducing myself to women in order to ask if they like Juicy Couture. I know. It’s sick.

It’s not easy, you know. Handbags are everywhere. I’d run and hide in my closet, only they’re in there, too. I told my mother they belong to my girlfriend. Only, I haven’t had a girlfriend in ten years. I think she knows.

I’ve had to switch dentists six times. The receptionist keeps noticing me lingering in the waiting room. Have you ever tried to hide a fashion magazine inside a Sports Illustrated? It’s nearly impossible. Especially when the perfume blow-ins keeping falling on the floor.

What’s that? You think it’s nothing to be ashamed of? You don’t know how happy I am to hear you say that. I wonder if you’d mind signing my petition? I’ll pass it around. It’s an open letter to the White House asking for our own holiday. I like the sound of Happy Handbag Day, but I’m open to suggestions.

While that’s going around, I’d also like to pass out some lyrics I wrote. I brought my guitar. You all know the melody, so let’s sing shall we?

“On the first day of purses my Visa gave to me a Gucci made in Italy. On the second day of purses my Visa gave to me, Dooney and Bourke and a Gucci made in Italy. On the third day of purses my Visa gave to me three Prada knock-offs, Dooney and Bourke and a Gucci made in Italy. On the…”

Sorry I stopped singing, but I just can’t keep my eyes off your Hermes. Do you mind if I touch it?

How to Tell If a Coach Designer Handbag is Fake


Coach has carved out a rather enviable fashion niche by being uniquely, well… American. And as always, there are others out there hoping to cash in on the Coach handbag name. Unfortunately, the official Coach website does not provide information on detecting knockoffs; they feel it helps the pirates! However, there are a few steps you can take to be sure the Coach bag you have your eye on is the real deal.

Step 1
Vintage or new? Quite simply, you’ll only be able to purchase a new Coach handbag at an authorized outlet or through the official Coach website. However, there are many authentic “gently loved” Coach bags out there.

Step 2
What‘s the price? Used Coach handbags that are still in good shape retain much of their original value. This means that if the Coach bag you’re looking at is a “real steal,” well… it probably is!

Step 3
Quality materials and workmanship are a hallmark of Coach products. Inspect every inch of the bag thoroughly. It should look, feel and even smell, hmmm…expensive! It goes without saying that there should not be any stitching “issues!”

One thing that Coach does is use only YKK brand zippers. Look for the tiny letters on the zipper pull. Another thing to look for on “signature” bags is the C logo. They should begin at the middle of the bag and wrap around. When they come to a seam, the logo should look like a mirror image of the one on the opposite side of the seam.

Step 4
Most, but not all Coach bags have a serial number. Inside the bag there should be a leather tag and at the bottom of the tag should be the serial number. It should consist of numbers and letters. The last four digits correlate with the particular bag style.

Coach Leather Tag
Coach Leather Tag

The tag should be correctly centered and not the least bit sloppy-looking. Sometimes knockoff artists wait to put in the tag until they have the fake bag at the point of sale.

Step 5
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If the person selling you the bag doesn’t seem to be quite on the level, then walk away. Actually, this is also a good bargaining strategy if you want the price to come down!

Step 6
I’ve saved this point until last, but maybe it should be first. Handbags are kind of like, well, chocolate. We know we shouldn’t have any more, but we just can’t resist. So, the question is “Will you still love it in the morning?” If the answer is yes, then buy it and enjoy!

When Does a Designer Label Purse Become Not a Designer Label Purse? – Yi Sen Wholesale Market


Guess you’re wondering why I would choose to blog about handbags and purses. Thanks for asking.

Women and Purses
Women, like purses, come in all shapes and sizes.

Initially, I became interested for business reasons. If you’ve looked around my blog at all, you probably noticed I owned and operated a coffee bar in the middle of tea country. So the logical next step is to move on to a purse business. Makes sense, huh? Then there’s the other reason: women. They come in all shapes and sizes and what goes on inside them is a complete mystery to me. Kind of like purses.

The Yi Sen Wholesale Market in Guangzhou is several stories tall and stretches for blocks. It’s not too far from the old train station. As you approach on the street, your nostrils begin to detect the smell of leather. There are other smells mingled in. I guess it’s only fitting that a leather alternative be called PU.

I love wandering around this market. Actually, I love wandering around most of Guangzhou’s wholesale markets. And there’s a ton of them. The Yi Sen Wholesale Market and the Baiyun World Leather Wholesale Market are pretty much across the street from each other. Here you can find bags, belts, shoes and leather accessories. You can also get a real education in the art of knock-off.

Yes, you’ll see fake Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Coach, Chanel, Juicy Couture, you name it. Some of it is good – very good. Any wonder then, why most (not all) designer labels have moved their manufacturing to China? Which brings up the question: When does a “designer label” become “not a designer label?”

I know this is a slippery slope, so for now I will go away and think about it. I invite you to do the same. If you have any ideas, let me know.

Mulberry
Mulberry Purses?
Guangzhou Markets
Wholesale Markets Near the Old Guangzhou Rail Station

How to Tell if a Gucci Designer Bag or Purse is Fake


Gucci Stands for Luxury, High Fashion and Good Taste

Gucci. The name stands for luxury, high fashion and good taste. While most of us are probably more carpool crowd than jet set, it is possible to carve off your own juicy slice of this rich Italian tradition. Here are a few things to bear in mind when you go hunting for an authentic Gucci designer bag.

Step 1
Virgin or vintage? Brand new Gucci designer bags and purses could set you back a month’s wages or more. But, if only new will do, then buy your bag online at the official Gucci website or at a high-end department store such as Neiman Marcus or Saks Fifth Avenue. There are plenty of authentic, pre-owned Gucci bags out there, however.

Step 2
Just because it’s used doesn’t mean it’s cheap. An authentic Gucci in good shape should still be on the expensive side. If it isn’t, then chances are it’s fake. Ask the seller a lot of questions. If you don’t like the answers then take a pass.

Step 3
All designer bags have a certain heft, appearance and even smell that says “quality.” Examine the bag inside and out; note the stitching, clasps, zippers, lining, etc. The workmanship and materials should be absolutely first rate. Yes, if you are buying a used bag, there may be some signs of use. However, these are fairly easily distinguished from factory flaws.

Step 4
The distinctive Gucci double G logo is one thing you should scrutinize carefully. If the letters look more like a C or an E then it is an obvious fake. Look for the logo on the buckles, clasps and other bits of hardware. You will also sometimes find the words “Gucci” and “Italy.” Normally, the zipper will not have a Gucci logo, because they use YKK zippers. Look for the tiny letters on the zipper pull.

Step 5
Inside the bag there should be a leather tag centered along the zipper seam. There should be a serial number on the underside of the tag. New bags come with a certificate of authenticity. Ask the seller if it is available. Sometimes the certificate is sewn in under the leather tag. There should also be a set of tracking numbers embossed on the inside of the bag.

Step 6
If you are new to the world of Gucci, then take some time to learn about their products and history. Check out handbag blogs and Internet articles. Talk to your friends. Perhaps one of them is a Gucci expert! Be absolutely sure that Gucci you desire is the real thing. And when you are sure… buy it and enjoy!