I started my handbag hobby with £400 – now it's worth £200k, my man quit his £70k-a-year job to work for me | The Sun10/20/2023
PLENTY of people dream about quitting their 9am to 5pm jobs and turning their passion projects into a full-time careers.
And if you’re looking to find inspiration, you’d be hard pushed to find a better role model than Ana Navabi.
The entrepreneurial whizz is the founder and CEO of Bags Chase, a London-based start-up that sells affordable pre-loved designer bags.
In the past six months, her blossoming business has turned over a whopping £200k.
Ana told Fabulous how with just £400, she turned her side hustle into a full-time career – and how it now even employs her former-banker husband.
Ana’s idea took root in 2016, and started with a chance investment.
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“I started decluttering my clothes, because I just had a baby,” the mum-of-two said.
“I thought I don’t fit in these extra small anymore, so I started selling non-branded bags, shoes and clothes on Depop and eBay.”
But while browsing, Ana found herself a deal on a pre-loved Mulberry Alexa bag which was simply too good to pass up.
She snapped it up for £400, but after using it for a week, she realised “it wasn’t for me”.
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But when she decided to sell it on and cut her losses, she unexpectedly bagged a £60 profit – and the savvy businesswoman quickly realised she was onto something.
Ana decided to invest the money she’d made reselling the Mulberry into purchasing a Louis Vuitton Neverfull, which she then peddled for a £100 profit.
“So from then on, I started buying one bag per week, and then reinvesting the money into the next,” she explains.
As she continued to have such success listing pieces on online marketplaces, the savvy seller began branching out and purchasing more and more hand bags each week.
“Every week instead of one, it became two, three, four,” she said, until the company came too big for her to manage alone.
Back then, her husband Seth had been working as a banker at Goldman Sachs on a hefty £70k-a-year salary.
Seth was fed-up with the long hours and wanted a better work-life balance so he could spend more time with the kids – and Ana’s burgeoning business offered a prime opportunity.
So in September 2022, the daring duo decided to go for it and push ahead with Ana’s passion project.
As the business developed, people began approaching the canny couple for help selling their items.
“People come to us and say ‘This is my private collection, and I just want it liquidated,” Ana explains.
The duo give the seller a quote and pay a lump sum, before selling the bags individually – and as such, bringing in a hefty profit.
By April 2023, they were approached by an online-auction site, Whatnot, which wanted to host the auctions through which they sell their items.
Right now, the canny couple sell a whopping 100 bags a week – and they’ve raked in an absolutely remarkable £200k in the last six months.
“We have put all our efforts and inventory into this for five months,” Ana said.
“And little did we know we’d make this much.”
WE WISH WE'D KNOWN…
From monetising a side hustle to becoming business partners with your spouse, Fabulous asked Ana and Seth for their advice for people inspired by their journey.
Seth said: "If you’re going to do a husband and wife team, you have to be prepared for a lot because you’re now going to be working together as well as living together and looking after the kids together.
“So that’s gonna put some extra strain on your marriage. So you better make sure that you’ve got a good relationship with your spouse, if you’re gonna go in as a couple. That’s probably my number one recommendation.”
Ana, meanwhile, is passionate about making use of the opportunities that the internet now offers for fledgling entrepreneurs.
“For me, I’m really happy that we didn’t start with a physical store,” she said.
“Always start online. If you can start on social media, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok. If you have already, start with your friends and family selling, and then start building you social media.”
“If you can grow and sell there, I think you have massive, massive potential.”
And the duo agree that turning a side hustle into a career is much easier if you find something you’re truly passionate about.
It’s much easier than to “spend a good amount of time thinking of ways to monetise that”, without it feeling like a chore.
BAGS, BAGS, BAGS
If you’re ever looking to splurge on a second-hand bag yourself, Ana and Seth have some top tips to ensure you snap up an investment piece.
“We love vintage pre-loved more than a new model,” she explains. “The craftsmanship is so good.”
“Celine is making a comeback,” Ana notes. “And a good condition Chanel classic. They always get snapped.”
The model would set you back £8k if new, but Ana says a second-hand one typically holds a value of £4k or a little less.
Seth says if you invest in a Chanel classic flap, you can bet that “every year, there’s gonna be at least 10% price increase”.
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“I also think the Neverfull, you can’t really go wrong with Louis [Vuitton].”
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