Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Retail Review: Specialchoice Handbags

Logo From Ebay Store
Specialchoice isn't your average online retailer - it's actually an Ebay store specializing in trendy, distinctive handbags from South Korea (home of the best romantic comedies this side of Ursa Major, btw). They currently offer almost 300 different items, and most of them come in a wide color variety as well. Prices average at about $120 shipped.

So wait. Stop the presses. Hold the phone. How did the One-Dollar Wonders gal end up looking at $120 handbags? Before you stone me as a charlatan, I'd like you to know that I have credit card rewards points to spend, thankyouverymuch (and yes, I pay my bill off completely every month).

Now that that's out of the way, back to bags! As I neared the rewards tier that would net me a $250 gift card to Macy's. Since I knew I wanted a cognac leather messenger bag for fall, I started kept my hairy eyeball on the Macy's handbag offerings -- all through spring. And do you know what I discovered? I must be a spoiled brat of a handbag snob, because I was wholly unimpressed with the ho-hum bags I could get there - especially at the prices I'd have to pay! For the size of bag I wanted, I'd have had to pay $50-$100 on top of my gift card -- seriously? $250 won't even get a body a handbag nowadays? Wow. I'm a snob and I'm out of touch.

Screencap from Ebay Store
Disillusioned with department store bags, I turned to Ebay, my discount shopping rock. I sifted through thousands of used and damaged cognac bags over a matter of months, and I still never felt those thunderous stomach butterflies of handbag love. So I opened up my search to new merchandise. I narrowed the results to leather items only. I sorted by lowest price...

... and Specialchoice handbags were officially on my radar!

After my lackluster experience ordering from China, I was wary of ordering from Korea. But Specialchoice's Ebay reviews far surpass what I would call "positive" and rocket on into "rave" territory. Shopping is fantastically easy, as all color options are shown in the item's main gallery photo. Their numerous large, clear photos depict the bags hanging and unstuffed, to better communicate the drape and texture of the leather. Almost every bag offers the added functionality of a removable crossbody strap. And almost all of them induce a hearty, internal squee. And if I converted my CC rewards to cash (i.e. gift cards to the gas station), I could get one of their bags and have money left over. Needless to say, I went for it.
Promo Pic from Ebay Store
I chose their Jesse Satchel in cognac (now sold out), as it is just the color I wanted, offers two removable straps, and can also be reconfigured as a tote or hobo.

My order was shipped the day after it was placed, trackable trough Korea Post/EMS. It arrived a full week ahead of the estimated delivery time in a 12"X17" cardboard box. The box was a wee bit squished, but mostly well-preserved, considering its recent travels. The bag itself was wrapped in plastic (a good touch in case of inclement weather) and a white dust bag. I pulled the wrapping off and...

I love it. Oh, yeah.

The bag itself looks exactly as pictured. The pebbled leather is thick and smooshy - you can tell the leather is new, and maybe a bit stiff if you are used to Lucky Brand or the washed leathers that some brands use now, but I think it will soften up even more over time. I would compare the softness of the leather to the Italian brands Cristina or Valentina (both sold at TJMaxx) or a Dooney & Bourke. The zippers are all metal and work smoothly, and all the clasps and other hardware items are also real metal of a nice weight. There is one spot of sewing that is not 100% perfect, but it is nothing I feel compelled to complain to the seller about. The rest of the seams are sturdy and neat. Measurements and color are both true to the item description on Ebay.

All in all, the bag was very well represented in the Ebay description -- and that's key. I had already decided I loved the bag based on the pictures and write up, so I would have been crushed if it looked cheap or didn't measure up. Luckily, this time, I was able to breath a sigh of relief after getting just what I expected.
Order Placed: 7/10/11
Order Shipped: 7/11/11
Tracking: didn't feed to Ebay, but worked via EMS site (probably Ebay's issue)
Estimated Delivery: 7/27/11 - 8/9/11
Actual Delivery: 7/20/11


 Shown here with the coat I had in mind when I started looking for a cognac bag... until it got to hot for a coat in my living room. :)

This post is NOT sponsored. The bag was purchased with my own funds via Paypal, and all the gushing is 100% my own.


  1. Love to read your internet adventures! The bag is lovely!

  2. WOW!!^0^ Thank you very much! :)
    We're extremely impressed by your photo review.
    Words cannot describe how thankful we are. :)
    The bag looks awesome with the beautiful model!!
    We hope to meet you again :)