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5 Things to Consider Before You Buy Your First Exotic Leather Handbag

August 16, 2017 3 min read

5 Things to Consider Before You Buy Your First Exotic Leather Handbag
There are a few milestones that luxury lovers can hit—their first purchase, their big purchase, and their first exotic leather buy. These bags, made with the highest quality "exotic" leathers, are unique and unusually glamorous; turning heads is what they were made for. Before making a big purchase, it's important to know all the facts before jumping into the deep end. There's more than just looks to consider when purchasing an exotic leather bag that could sway you in one direction or the other, whether that means opting for a different leather or waiting until your lifestyle suits the needs of these pieces.

Five Things to Know Before Buying an Exotic Leather Handbag

It's important to do some research before buying anything, but the price tag and needs that come along with exotic leather pieces mean you'll want to take a bit of extra time before reaching for your credit card. Here's what you need to know:

1. These are investment pieces.

If you're going to buy an exotic leather bag, it's good to know that you're actually making an investment. Some luxury bags hold their value more than others, and this is true of exotic leather pieces. As long as you are able to keep them in good condition, these purses are some of the most highly sought-after and coveted pieces, helping to keep their prices up as the years go on.

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We also think of these bags as investment pieces because their price tag is typically much higher than more traditional leather goods. As an extreme example, take the Hermes white Himalayan Crocodile Birkin bag. We know that Birkin bags already come with a hefty price tag, but it's safe to say that spending over $300,000 on a bag is a little out of the ordinary. Nevertheless, you can expect to spend a few hundreds to thousands more on the exotic leather varieties of some of your favorite bags.

2. They require more care.

We all love taking care of our luxury goods, but exotic leather purses do require more care than you'd think. Leather itself is a very sturdy material that can withstand years of wear. Though some, like lambskin, may be more delicate, you'll want to file "exotic leather" under that category as well. Though looking at snakeskin, alligator and crocodile may evoke thoughts of sturdiness and resilience after the animals the leather comes from, these materials can actually be quite delicate and their scales prone to separating over time.
If your bag has pronounced scales, as with python bags, you'll want to clean in the direction of the scales—not against—and avoid any situations where your bag is exposed to a lot of direct sunlight, humidity, or liquid as all of these factors can contribute to lifting.

3. Storage is key.

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Because heat and sunlight are damaging to exotic leathers, storing them properly is key. We've talked about good storage habits for your luxury bags in prior blog posts, but it's always important to note that adequate stuffing and tonal storage bags are what you should be reaching for.

4. They aren't all waterproof.

This may come as a big surprise to many people, but not all exotic leathers are waterproof! If you're looking into reptilian varieties of exotic leathers, it's important to know just exactly how resilient your bag is. Crocodile, for example, isn't waterproof so, as always, it's best to keep them away from as much exposure to the elements as possible! In cases where you are purchasing ostrich leather, you'll also want to avoid contact with water as you would with your more traditional leather items.

5. There is drama surrounding these products.

One thing that many luxury-lovers are surprised at is the fact that exotic leathers are accompanied by a heightened sense of drama from the environmental and animal-loving community. Many groups that disdain the use of leather feel more opposed to exotic leathers in many cases. Groups like PETA and other animal-rights groups commonly run feature stories that expose the practices of the exotic leather industry, putting more of a spotlight on the practices and farms big brands, like Hermes, use. Thankfully, many brands are working to promote more humane practices to provide high-end and quality products without exacerbating the scrutiny.  

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