42: Quirky Bag Brands
Updated: Apr 20
Howdy! Fun fact about me, I collect novelty purses. While mine trend towards the very cheap, there are expensive novelty brands out there. Some are new, but a few have been around for ages. Below, I'll list relevant brands/designers in order from most expensive, to least. For my purpose, I do not specify between leather and pleather.
Braccialini: Braccialini is Italian and an older brand. New Braccialini bags range from $195 to $1,650, after a quick search of their website. Like Kate Spade, these bags are quirky, but while Kate Spade bags tend to take on the shape of the subject matter, Braccialini bags are a standard purse shape, but feature a scene of patched leather and embroidery. Resale value varies, but trends high. Used purses can be difficult to find through USA based resellers as these bags are made and sold in Europe. Cheaper alternatives for Braccialini's more popular bags, that are no longer in production, can often found on Aliexpress. Pro Tip, use google search, not the one in the Aliexpress site. Theirs is awful. When searching for these to buy used, or looking for knockoffs, I've found that searching by the Braccialini name brings up relevant results, but so do the words, "cartoon handbag."
Mary Frances: These bags vary more in subject matter and scale than those of any other designer brands I've seen. However, rather than stitched leather, these bags are beaded. That means that no matter how new they are, or how gaudy the subject, they have a fun vintage vibe. New, these bags range from approximately $49-$350. Used, the range shoots out in both directions, so you might have some luck buying resale.
Kate Spade: These bags range quite a bit both in subject matter and scale, and tend to be made of leather, though materials can vary. The cheapest I've seen them sell for, while new, is around $100, but that's generally for non-novelty, very small, patterned bags. The high end of that price scale for new bags is in the low $300s. Look into to Betsey Johnson as a cheaper alternative name brand, or on Aliexpress for knock offs. While resale sites, such as Poshmark, are an option, the Kate Spade bags no longer in production can sell for very high prices. My Chinese food container themed purse, shown above, is not a Kate Spade bag. It was a gift, so I'm guessing the giver picked it up of Aliexpress.
Min and Mon: Their imaginative bags feature aspects of an imagined future. Like Braccialini's, these have a simple shape but feature a patched leather or embroidered scene/character design. Their future includes giant squids attacking taxis, many eyed aliens, swamp lands of funny looking creatures, winged tigers and the like. This is my personal favorite brand and I wish they were more affordable, though ranging from $168-$298 new, the cost is not unreasonable. Being a smaller, young company, these bags are hard to find used, online. As limited quantities of each bag exist, the cost can increase for resale. These bags are handmade by Columbian artisans.
YoshiGoods: This brand isn't as creative as many of the options here, but some of their bags feature room interiors, or rows of books, stacks of movies, etc, made of embroidered leather patches. Thankfully, glancing at their site, these bags range from $2-$115, once we switch the pounds sterling to US dollars. Due to the name being similar to a certain Nintendo character, searching for these bags on resale sites means having those results cluttered with Mario merch. Plus, not being a USA brand, these bags are rare here. Finding and buying used YoshiGoods handbags isn't as easy, as say, finding Kate Spade bags for resale.
Vendula London: Like Braccialini, these handbags are standard shapes, but feature scenes made from embroidered, patched, leather. Unlike Braccialini, whose subject matter varies a great deal, these tend to be building exteriors, largely London based. Buying new, prices range from $78-$274. Being made and sold in the UK, they can be hard to find on USA based resale sites. Unlike Min & Mon, these bags tend to be in production for a long enough time that the rarity doesn't inflate the prices greatly when buying used. I just bought a carousel bag from Vendula London's Edwardian Pier collection and I love it. Also, these bags are vegan.
Radley London: Not as loud as some of these, Radley London is more like YoshiGoods, in that half of their bags are standard, and half feature scenes on the front, in this case, of Scottish terriers. Like Braccialini, the scenes are made from a combination of embroidery and leather patchwork, but with much subtler palettes. New, Radley London's dog themed bags range from $25, for a tote, to $328. You can find these used, but they aren't as common as say, Kate Spade or Betsey Johnson.
Studio Cult: These bags are super fun, but being a smaller company, they only sell three bag shapes at the moment. Those shapes being fire, a binder clip, and a punny bread clip (which I would buy if it were bigger!). These bags range from $100-$110, though during sales, I've seen them drop to $80. My only criticism of the bags is the interior pocket is too small for a practical day bag. Being such a small company, don't expect to find these for resale.
Irregular Choice: This company specializes in novelty shoes but have expanded their inventory to include bags. Those bags are either pop culture themed, or youthful, with saturated pastel palettes. Some of these bags are standard shapes featuring patchwork leather scene fronts while some are oddly shaped, like Kate Spade, but without her subtler color schemes. They range from $80-$259 new. Irregular Choice is a younger, smaller company, that didn't always sell bags, so finding used bags for resale could be difficult.
HellcatLeather: This is an Etsy shop with very creative hand tooled leather bags. The UFO themed ones, which are not always in stock, are very tactile. The wearer can switch out the subject that's being abducted. Unfortunately, these bags are smaller than is practical for general daywear. Price-wise, these range from $140-$162. Also, being such a small company, these will be near impossible to find for resale. Note: Don't put a space between the Hellcat and Leather or your search results will be flooded with holsters, rather than purses. Also, Etsy's search is only marginally better than most. You're usually better off searching through google, but throwing quotations around both the business name and Etsy should help.
Sharif Studio: This brand no longer exists to my knowledge, meaning these bags are both vintage, and only available for resale. Prices range a lot, $25 - $425 on Etsy right now, and while many of these purses are standard shapes and sizes, Sharif did experiment with patchwork leather scenes, and patterns. The bags I prefer trend around the $130 mark on resell sites. At one point, Sharif even made a patterned leather bag in the shape of a dachshund. Palettes vary a lot, with some bags being very vibrant, while others have subdued classical color schemes.
Betsey Johnson: This brand is a cheaper alternative to Kate Spade. These bags are often shaped like an object that builds on the theme of that season's collection, many of which happen to look very similar to Kate Spade bags. New, these bags range from $67-$135, so these are significantly more affordable than most of the brands listed above.
Daniel Nicole: You've definitely seen these bags around. This designer specializes in pop culture themed bags and they have an agreement with Disney, so when you see those cute princess themed bags on Loungefly/Dolls Kill/BoxLunch that's them. New, these bags range from $78 to $100. You can find these bags for resale, but depending on the trends, they can go up in value. For instance, Danielle Nicole isn't currently selling Mulan themed bags from their site, but if a live action Mulan sequel was announced tomorrow, you can anticipate the old Mulan bags, no longer in production, to spike in value. I used to own the Tangled themed lantern crossbody bag. It was beautiful and lit up, but unfortunately, the chain metal strap left green stains on my shoulder when I wore it in the summer. It also cut off my circulation once, when I leaned my arm on the bag, and I fainted. So I gave the bag away, after warning the new owner of my bizarre issues. That said, I don't dislike the brand. I just would switch out the chain strap should the crossbodies come with one.
MartaniaBags: This is an Etsy store. Their bags are shaped like their subject matter. The designs are simple, vibrant, and fun. New, these range from $67-$97. This being a small company, don't expect to find these bags for cheaper on resale sites. Also, Etsy's search is only marginally better than most. You're usually better off searching through google, but throwing quotations around the word Etsy and the store name.
Here are some resale sites/apps:
Poshmark: meant for fashion resale
Ebay: meant for resale
TheRealReal: Meant for high end fashion resale, meaning products, while sold user to user, are curated. If it's a knock off, they won't allow it. Beware! They email a ton!
Etsy: a valid choice for vintage or artisanal novelty bags
Rebag: meant for high end designer bags
1stDibs: meant for high end fashion resale
Vivrelle: meant for high end fashion renting. I believe this is subscription based.
Vestiare Collective: meant for high end fashion resale
Fashionphile: meant for high end fashion resale
Pro-Tip 1: If you're shopping for a designer bag on resale sites, once you have one picked out, do a reverse image search. On the off chance you know both the designer's name and the title of the bag, search those too. First off, see if you can get it cheaper, but also, make sure you aren't over paying for an Aliexpress knock off. They sell convincing Braccialini and Kate Spade fakes where the difference generally lies in the palette. Those knock offs get resold on Poshmark/Ebay/Etsy, sometimes by unscrupulous sellers trying to make a profit. You don't want to pay Braccialini money for an Aliexpress bag, so do your due diligence when shopping.
Pro-Tip 2: If you give your email to the site you're ordering from, when buying new, they usually give you a discount. Pick an email you are capable of checking, but one you don't mind receiving spam. I suggest registering a new email address for every future purchase from that site, if they won't let you re-register that same email, unless they have a sale that offers a greater discount than when you give your email.
Pro-Tip 3: Aliexpress is a China based retailer, much like Amazon, in that it's made up of smaller shops. Don't lose your login info for this site and the email you used when buying because you're going to want to track the shipping, which will take a while. When buying a gift from Aliexpress, buy it very early.
Pro-Tip 4: When buying on Poshmark or Etsy, like the product a day or two before yo plan to make a sale. Often, the seller will forward you a private discount to encourage you to buy this product they can see you've liked. Don't wait though, if the bargain is already a real steal, otherwise somebody might buy it out from under you. If the price is way too good to be true, double check the seller's reviews. For most resell sites, you never want to be the first-time buyer for a new seller. Poshmark is an exception. There, the seller isn't paid until you agree that you have received the item.
Pro-Tip 5: If the price seems to good to be true, it is. There are a ton of websites featuring name brand bags for sale, but when you go to click their social media links, they link back to their home page. Or oddly, there are no reviews. Not only are they offering the bag you want for a crazy price, they have nearly every best bag by that designer, despite those bags not having been in production for years! Once, I found a site with every Hermes doll bag ever made. Spoilers, the site was a scam! Thankfully, I'm an experienced enough shopper not to have fallen for it. Often, these sites are under two years old when you check them on ScamAdvisor or similar sites. If you can't confirm that the store is tried and true, with positive reviews, don't give them your card info. Chances are, they don't even own those bags to sell them.
Good luck and may your favorite bags be on sale! Thanks for stopping by! I put out a new blog post every Monday. Toodles!