SPOTLIGHT ON: BAG RELIGION, FOUNDER, KRISTINA BI
When did you fall in love with vintage?
That's an interesting question, I wouldn't call my aesthetic vintage. Sometimes I like to find classic vintage items from my favorite designers, but I usually like them to be current in terms of make and style. I also like to look for rare and unique items and live for the thrill of finding something gorgeous for less than retail.
I always appreciated designer style, but finding good deals on the internet became a fun hobby for me when I was pregnant because it was visually stimulating without being stressful or time-consuming.
How would you describe the difference between "vintage shopping" and "thrifting?"
I'm not necessarily an expert on either, I put my focus on high-end consignment. With consignment, I get to help people sell their designer fashion. Bag Religion is highly curated, I have a list of designers that I accept based on demand and resale value.
I respect people who put together beautiful looks from vintage and thrift shops- but Bag Religion tends to be of the moment. I do appreciate timeless style, but my clients prefer a newer model. We do have a few vintage treasures in stock though.
What has been the most rewarding and challenging part of owning a luxury resale business in Canada?
It's rewarding to see someone get their dream bag- there are people who don't think they can own designer fashion. I like educating clients on the benefits of choosing luxury and finding it for less. As far as challenges- starting up a new business has many of them! Mainly that everything takes longer than you expect it to in the beginning.
Sometimes the balance between mom life and boss life can be a challenge, I’m sure many mothers out there can relate! This is something I plan to explore on the blog.
Top 3 brands?
Hermes, Louis Vuitton, and Chanel
What are some trends you've seen come back in style?
Clear shoes, tearaway pants, everything Kanye brought back! Literally, every fashion blogger has a pair of clear shoes.
Have you ever kept anything you originally bought to sell?
Yes. That's the beauty of owning a resale business ;) I wouldn't wear something someone consigned to us, but sometimes I'll find a good deal, buy it for the shop and wear it a couple of times before putting it on sale.
What advice do you have for the women out there looking to make it in the fashion industry or open a successful boutique of their own someday?
Don't doubt yourself- just start. Start anywhere. It's going to be slow at first, but it will just come to you once you make that first step. Don't be scared to fail, and don't give up if it doesn't go exactly as planned. Actively seek people out who've been there and ask for their advice. It's nice to have a mentor to look toward so you know what your goals are. It's hard for a woman to make it in a man's world so be proud to be a woman, be proud that you're trying. I'd also like to add that a lot of women feel they can't succeed if they are mothers, but being a mom makes me really motivated to do well, be a role model, and it helps me relate to my clients who have families.
What is your top tip for women who are looking to get into vintage shopping and thrifting?
Do the research. There is so much information out there these days- take advantage of that. Some brands can be all hype while others are an exciting find on the resale market. Invest in classic pieces that hold true value. A lot of customers will be surprised or disheartened to find that their bag has lost value when they bring it to me for consignment. You can never go wrong with Classic Chanel and Hermes.
What are the most important things to know when vintage shopping or thrifting?
Again, I wouldn't say vintage shopping and thrifting are my strong suit, but with consignment just make sure you've researched the item or the designer. Also, choose something that suits your lifestyle. You may find a great bag for a low price that is too small for your daily use, or a color that won't work with your current wardrobe. Don't be afraid to be picky.
When it comes to selling your fashion- doing it alone can be scary- you don't know what your piece is worth or how to get that value for it. Work with an expert!
What is the most surprising piece you've ever discovered?
My first Chanel bag- I found it for a fraction of the cost!
You carry some of the most sought-after designers. What are some of the interesting places you visit to gather your merchandise?
Being in the consignment business, I meet a lot of interesting people with extensive collections of designer bags. Fashionistas are always looking to refresh their look, and I like to see unused items on consignment rather than sitting around in someone’s closet.
Favorite places to eat in town?
I love to eat, especially in nice restaurants :). Right now my kids are young, so we don’t get the opportunity to go out much. As a family, we go for dim sum a lot. There’s a really good place we check out a lot called Crown Princess. I like dressing up and going to high tea with my girlfriends when I can, but sometimes it's fun to just search what's in my area and try something new- I love this city because there’s always something exciting to try!
Follow @BagReligion on Instagram for more inspiration!