CHANEL, Valentino and Gucci are just a few of the designers whose handbags Apollonia Llewellyn loves to splash the cash on.
The 21-year-old fashion blogger has amassed a collection valued at £20,000 — enough for a house deposit.
It may seem a waste, but some experts have claimed designer handbags are a better investment than the stock market or gold.
While the FTSE 100 index gained 12 per cent last year, Hermes Birkin handbags increased in value by 13 per cent.
It comes as no surprise to Apollonia, who spends almost everything she earns on her collection and cannot afford to move out from her parents’ home in South Yorkshire.
She says: “People may look at me and think I am a dumb blonde, but I’m not. I am the ultimate 21-year-old bag lady of Britain.
“I have a collection worth thousands, and that is more important to me than buying a house. My collection takes pride of place and no one but me is allowed to touch it.”
Apollonia, who has also moved her glazier boyfriend Billy Mole, 23, into her parents’ home, has been collecting bags since she was 14.
She says: “All of the supermodels, like Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, Kate Moss and Kim Kardashian, collected designer bags and were showing them off on social media.
“I loved looking at their collections, so I started researching designer labels and decided I was going to start collecting.”
Apollonia’s mum Paula, 49, a personal manager, helped her get going. Apollonia says: “She left a present in my room on my birthday and when I opened it I saw my first £300 Michael Kors bag. I took it everywhere. It spurred me on even more to officially begin collecting.”
A year later, Apollonia used her savings and birthday money to buy a DKNY bag for £200 and a £400 Valentino bag. She even got glazier dad John, 60, in on the act. She says: “I pleaded with my mum and dad to buy me a black Gucci bag for £1,200.
“I showed my mum research about how they had been increasing in value. My dad wasn’t as convinced — but now that bag is worth £1,600.
“By the age of 18, I had amassed 15 to 20 high- street bags and a dozen designer bags.
“This included mini Jimmy Choo bags, including the Jolly mini worth £500, the mini Callie hobo worth £475 and the classic Jimmy Choo mini logo version worth £475.
“I’d also managed to add a crossbody hot-pink Gucci bag which cost £1,300. The coronavirus epidemic has seen the stock market plummet and many homes are falling in price, so I believe now has never been a better time to get into the business.
“I have been looking at a couple of Birkins, which will cost £15,000 for basic calf-skin style. I don’t care if I have to eat baked beans for a year. It’s an investment that is paying off. Mum and Dad don’t charge me any rent, so that helps me a lot.”
Apollonia earns £1,400 a month from selling bags, collaborations on her blog and modelling work — and she saves at least £850 of that to invest back in bags.
She says: “I keep track of all my bags on a spreadsheet, and how much I paid for them.
"I will spend hours checking high-end, secondhand designer-bag sites, and auctions like Christie’s, to see if the bags I have are increasing in value.
“My collection has increased in value by 25 per cent in the last two years, and some of my older bags have almost doubled.
“Last year I sold the Michael Kors bag I was given when I was 14 for £500, making a £200 profit.”
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Apollonia’s most expensive bag was £5,000. She says: “I spotted a classic Chanel hot-pink quilted bag and was determined to get it, as it had always been on my wish list.
“I spent all of my salary, for four months, on it. When it arrived in its beautiful packaging and special dust-bag cover, I felt like I’d died and gone to heaven.
“I have always been a Barbie fan and it was the ultimate accessory. It takes pride of place.”
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