Nina Pascual-Lopez: The bag lady

UPTOWN DOWNTOWN - Joanne Zapanta-Andrada (The Philippine Star) - June 2, 2013 - 12:00am

Nina Pascual-Lopez’s love for bags started at a very young age when she would play “dress-up” using her mom’s clothes and accessories. “I would use my mom’s bags more than any other item in her wardrobe and I would get so excited when my mom came home from a trip because that meant that she would have brought home some bags and I would get to play with them,” shares Lopez.

To Lopez, bags are not just fashion pieces but are essential to a woman’s everyday life. “We use bags at a very young age. Even pre-school students carry bags.”

“Women have more things to carry compared to men. Women carry makeup kits, brushes, etc. That is why women are fascinated with bags,” Lopez says. She also points out that women have more choices in clothes and shoes compared to men and so it becomes important for them to have bags that match their different ensembles.

Lopez’s first purchased bag was a Lancel when she was 13 years old while she was on an exchange program in Japan. Her passion for collecting bags continued during her college years in the United States where she was exposed to a wide array of brands. She started saving her allowance to buy Guccis and Pradas as well as other labels. To Lopez, it was difficult to let go of any of her acquisitions since they all held sentimental value for her. Eventually, she ended up with two closets filled with bags and more are on the way.

Upon the insistence of her husband that she dispose of her old satchels, Lopez texted close friends about disposing her bags and was surprised with the response. On the first day she was able to sell about a hundred pieces and in the months to follow, friends would be asking her for more bags to purchase. It was at this time that Lopez started reaching out to other friends who also had bags to sell. Suitcases of pre-loved bags would arrive in her house for her to sell, and a business was born! Eventually, she graduated from selling pre-loved bags to retailing brand-new items, which she would purchase from her many trips abroad.

Lopez’s clients are grouped into two sets. The first group would be women between 30 to 50 plus years old who are financially independent and who are particular about what brand or model they want. The second group would be a younger set, girls in their teens and twenties who are either in school or who are starting out at work. “Young women want to baptize their new credit cards by purchasing at zero percent interest,” laughs Lopez. “Students come with their moms in the hopes that their mothers would buy a bag for them.”

As far as Lopez is concerned, the days of the “screaming logo or brand name” are over. Céline, Chloé and Hèrmes are popular because they have subtle designs. When asked to give advice to first-time bag collectors, Lopez stresses the importance of going to a reputable seller so as not to be duped into buying fake designer bags. She suggests steering clear of online stores. It is also important for collectors to buy items that they sincerely enjoy and not simply because the brand is in vogue at the moment. Buyers should think carefully about the items that they will be placing in their bag in order to determine the style that they would most likely need.

Proper care of bags happens even before using the item. For canvas bags, Lopez sprays the bottoms and corners with Scotchgard to protect the material. “Once sprayed, leave the bag to dry overnight,” she stresses. For leather bags, she suggests going to stores that coat bags with a transparent film in order to avoid scratches especially on the handles. The coating would also preserve the vibrancy of the bag’s color. After use, bags should be stored properly in a humidity-free closet. De-humidifying sachets are cheap and are commonly found in hardware stores. Allow bags to “breathe” by bringing them out in the open air for a few hours once every two weeks. Putting “bag pillows” or shapers inside your bags preserve the shape of the structure. If shapers and pillows are not available, rolled-up paper could be used as substitutes.

“I put up The Bag Lady because bags are my passion and I wish to share this interest with the public,” Lopez says. “Confucius said that if you choose a job that you love, you will never have to work a day in your life!”

It seems to us that Lopez will be on vacation mode for a very long time, indeed!




(The Bag Lady is located at the second floor of Serendra 28th Street, Bonifacio High Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig (tel. no. 846-6447).)


(For more on The Bag Lady, visit www.uptowndowntownsite.blogspot.com.)

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