Cynthia Hudson, left, and Shirley Chen, right, founded Luxe Crush. Photography courtesy of Shirley Chen

The internet has its share of online consignment shops, but there were few that Greenville Avenue neighbor Shirley Chen trusted to sell or rent her $1,300 Louis Vuitton handbag and other luxury items. So she created her own.

Chen and her partner, Lakewood neighbor Cynthia Hudson, founded Luxe Crush, an online marketplace for people to sell, buy, lend and rent their designer bags, jewelry and accessories.

“A lot of people now are about the experience,” Chen said. “We thought it would be a great way for people to make money on things they don’t want to part with, but don’t get everyday use. We wanted everyday people to have that experience of luxury without having to purchase it at a brand new price.”

Before launching Luxe Crush, the pair had nearly 40 years combined experience in luxury retail at corporations like Neiman Marcus and J.C. Penney. They started their new venture in March and launched the online consignment shop in late November.

“It was a labor of love for us,” Chen said. “We were passionate, but we knew vey little. There’s not a checklist out there with step-by-step instructions on how to start a business. Things took twice as long and cost twice as much as we thought.”

Chen and Hudson are focusing on handbags and jewelry to start, but they will likely expand to watches, shoes and accessories as the business grows. Chanel, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada and Valentino are just a few of the designer goods Luxe Crush offers. Items are insured up to $10,000.

The business offers flexible rental periods, from four days to four weeks, and a try-before-you-buy program in which 50 percent of a customer’s rental fee is applied toward a purchase. A White Glove Membership option also takes the hassle out of renting, selling and shipping goods. Just sign up and collect a commission check as Luxe Crush markets the items for you.

Luxe Crush is perfect for fundraisers, weddings and other events, but it’s also an affordable resource for anyone who wants to dress to impress, Chen said.

“We know there’s a group of fashionistas out there that, even if they’re going to the office or lunch with girlfriends, they want something new,” she said. “It’s a good option for people who want to change their look a lot.”


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