Meet the Woman Taking the ‘Blood Sport’ out of Buying a Coveted Hermès Birkin Bag
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    HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $1,613,207 (-0.60%)       Melbourne $969,484 (-0.54%)       Brisbane $991,125 (-0.15%)       Adelaide $906,278 (+1.12%)       Perth $892,773 (+0.03%)       Hobart $726,294 (-0.04%)       Darwin $657,141 (-1.18%)       Canberra $1,003,818 (-0.83%)       National $1,045,092 (-0.37%)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $754,460 (+0.43%)       Melbourne $495,941 (+0.11%)       Brisbane $587,365 (+0.63%)       Adelaide $442,425 (-2.43%)       Perth $461,417 (+0.53%)       Hobart $511,031 (+0.36%)       Darwin $373,250 (+2.98%)       Canberra $492,184 (-1.10%)       National $537,029 (+0.15%)                HOUSES FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 9,787 (-116)       Melbourne 14,236 (+55)       Brisbane 8,139 (+64)       Adelaide 2,166 (-18)       Perth 5,782 (+59)       Hobart 1,221 (+5)       Darwin 279 (+4)       Canberra 924 (+36)       National 42,534 (+89)                UNITS FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 8,638 (-81)       Melbourne 8,327 (-30)       Brisbane 1,728 (-19)       Adelaide 415 (+10)       Perth 1,444 (+2)       Hobart 201 (-10)       Darwin 392 (-7)       Canberra 1,004 (-14)       National 22,149 (-149)                HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $820 (+$20)       Melbourne $620 ($0)       Brisbane $630 (-$5)       Adelaide $615 (+$5)       Perth $675 ($0)       Hobart $560 (+$10)       Darwin $700 ($0)       Canberra $680 ($0)       National $670 (+$4)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $750 ($0)       Melbourne $590 (-$5)       Brisbane $630 (+$5)       Adelaide $505 (-$5)       Perth $620 (-$10)       Hobart $460 (-$10)       Darwin $580 (+$20)       Canberra $550 ($0)       National $597 (-$)                HOUSES FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 6,197 (+313)       Melbourne 6,580 (-5)       Brisbane 4,403 (-85)       Adelaide 1,545 (-44)       Perth 2,951 (+71)       Hobart 398 (-13)       Darwin 97 (+4)       Canberra 643 (+11)       National 22,814 (+252)                UNITS FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 10,884 (-22)       Melbourne 6,312 (0)       Brisbane 2,285 (-54)       Adelaide 357 (-14)       Perth 783 (-14)       Hobart 129 (-14)       Darwin 132 (+6)       Canberra 831 (+15)       National 21,713 (-97)                HOUSE ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND       Sydney 2.64% (↑)      Melbourne 3.33% (↑)        Brisbane 3.31% (↓)       Adelaide 3.53% (↓)       Perth 3.93% (↓)     Hobart 4.01% (↑)      Darwin 5.54% (↑)      Canberra 3.52% (↑)      National 3.34% (↑)             UNIT ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND         Sydney 5.17% (↓)       Melbourne 6.19% (↓)     Brisbane 5.58% (↑)      Adelaide 5.94% (↑)        Perth 6.99% (↓)       Hobart 4.68% (↓)     Darwin 8.08% (↑)      Canberra 5.81% (↑)        National 5.78% (↓)            HOUSE RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 0.8% (↑)      Melbourne 0.7% (↑)      Brisbane 0.7% (↑)      Adelaide 0.4% (↑)      Perth 0.4% (↑)      Hobart 0.9% (↑)      Darwin 0.8% (↑)      Canberra 1.0% (↑)      National 0.7% (↑)             UNIT RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 0.9% (↑)      Melbourne 1.1% (↑)      Brisbane 1.0% (↑)      Adelaide 0.5% (↑)      Perth 0.5% (↑)      Hobart 1.4% (↑)      Darwin 1.7% (↑)      Canberra 1.4% (↑)      National 1.1% (↑)             AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL HOUSES AND TREND         Sydney 29.8 (↓)     Melbourne 31.7 (↑)      Brisbane 30.6 (↑)        Adelaide 25.2 (↓)       Perth 35.2 (↓)     Hobart 35.1 (↑)      Darwin 44.2 (↑)        Canberra 31.5 (↓)     National 32.9 (↑)             AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL UNITS AND TREND         Sydney 29.7 (↓)       Melbourne 30.5 (↓)     Brisbane 27.8 (↑)        Adelaide 22.8 (↓)     Perth 38.4 (↑)        Hobart 37.5 (↓)       Darwin 37.3 (↓)       Canberra 40.5 (↓)       National 33.1 (↓)           
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Meet the Woman Taking the ‘Blood Sport’ out of Buying a Coveted Hermès Birkin Bag

By SHIVANI VORA
Fri, Feb 16, 2024 9:08amGrey Clock 4 min

The impetus for Judy Taylor to start her luxury handbag and jewellery resale company Madison Avenue Couture dates back to her career in investment banking more than two decades ago. At the time, she was an avid shopper for high-end clothing and had built a sizeable collection of corporate wear from designer labels.

Taylor eventually took an extended break from banking to travel the world and decided to sell the clothing on eBay.

“I was surprised at the money I netted by selling these used items and realised the potential of the online resale market,” Taylor says. “Not being someone to let an opportunity pass, I began to buy and sell new and almost new luxury clothing, shoes and handbags and saw how much they were in demand.”

Hermès Birkin 25 Himalaya Niloticus Crocodile Diamond Encrusted Hardware, priced at $US500,000.
Courtesy of Madison Avenue Couture

Her homespun venture quickly grew into a full-fledged profitable business, and in 2010, she established Madison Avenue Couture. Today, the brand bills itself to be the largest online independent reseller of new and never-worn Hermès holy grail bags, primarily Birkins and Kellys that are nearly impossible to find. It also sells a selection of pre-owned collectible and vintage Hermès, Chanel, Goyard, and Louis Vuitton bags, Hermès and Chanel jewellery, and accessories and sought-after fine jewellery.

Taylor says that her company enables any consumer with the means to buy highly in-demand goods.

“You can’t just go into Hermès and buy a Birkin because there usually aren’t any available, and if they are, customers are limited to buying two bags a year,” she says. “Chanel has also limited purchases since Covid, and other brands have imposed restrictions.”

According to Taylor, these tactics have increased market demand and have enabled luxury labels to increase their prices. However, since supply cannot meet demand, consumers are increasingly reaching out to the resale market, including her company, for these items.

“Our business continues to grow, and we have an extensive network to source handbags and jewelry,” Taylor says. “Unlike much of the traditional resale market, our items are primarily new and never used and carry a premium over [the] retail price.”

Taylor, 59, speaks with Penta about her company and the luxury resale market overall.

Can you talk about how the luxury resale market for handbags and jewellery has evolved in recent years, especially since the pandemic?

About three weeks into the pandemic, we started getting orders. They were slow at first but then accelerated.

With retail stores closed and travel restricted, people turned online to shop. The only place to purchase new Hermès and Chanel handbags was online and from dealers on the secondary market. They became comfortable with buying these brands online. Sales increased by 60% in 2020 and doubled in 2021, compared to the prior years. Even after the brand boutiques opened and travel resumed, online sales continued their momentum. Our sales quadrupled from 2019 to 2023.23.

Who are your customers, and have they changed over the years?

Our clients are primarily those who have disposable income and love to spend it on beautiful things. Partners of hedge funds, investment bankers and law firms, self-made entrepreneurs, physicians and dentists, celebrities and socialites represent the bulk.  But we always have the aspiring—those for whom buying a Birkin or Kelly is a bit of a financial stretch.

What are the advantages of buying a resale bag or piece of jewellery?

Hermès and Chanel do not offer their handbags online. While Hermès.com may offer one or a few small bags on occasion, they are sold out in seconds. The same goes for branded jewellery, notably Van Cleef & Arpels. Try purchasing a popular VC&A Alhambra piece online or in one of their stores to take home immediately—it is almost impossible.

Hermès Sac Faubourg Birkin 20 White Matte Alligator Palladium Hardware, priced at $US225,000
Madison Avenue Couture

The second is ease of purchase. Hermès has made getting a holy grail bag almost a “blood sport.” The machinations that someone goes through to get a Birkin or Kelly are anxiety-producing for most. First, you need to find a friendly sales associate. Then, a profile must be built, which involves spending on Hermès goods that are not leather handbags. The more the spend, the greater the chance of getting a handbag. Expensive furniture, fine jewellery, and watches have the greatest sway. Scarves or a pair of shoes won’t bat an eyelash. The amount needed to be spent is unknown, but we’ve heard it could be significantly more than the price of the bag. Plus, there is no guarantee that it will result in getting the bag of your dreams.

In the secondary market, you can pick the bag of your dreams without the hassle and stress of building a profile.

How do you source your items, and how are you able to guarantee their authenticity?

We purchase from individuals and other handbag dealers primarily. We usually get the original store receipt or a copy of it for most bags we purchase, which establishes provenance. Regardless of having the receipt or not, every bag goes through in-house and third-party authentication. We chose who we believe to be the best independent authenticators of Hermès and Chanel, which is where we find the most counterfeits.

What are some of the most in-demand brands and items for buyers who can afford them?

Hermès and Chanel handbags are generally in demand by professional and affluent women and men who give them as gifts. Goyard is popular because it evokes quiet luxury. In jewellery, we see the greatest demand is for Van Cleef & Arpels pieces, particularly the Alhambra series.

What advice do you have for people who want to find a specific piece from a source outside of the brand itself?

We recommend that people purchase only from dealers who guarantee authenticity and have a history of selling only authentic bags.

Furthermore, rely on a reseller that has its inventory on hand like us.  We have already checked the condition, verified authenticity, and confirmed availability. Marketplaces, which aggregate different vendors, cannot know for certain if an item is available, in the stated condition or authentic. (Some authenticate after the item is sold, which delays getting the item.) Resellers that do not have an item in stock will source it, which can take weeks and may not be in the condition described.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. 



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The Top 10 highest paid CEOs of the ASX 200 revealed

Along with pay rates, the latest report from the ACSI shows bonuses are no longer based on exceptional results

By Bronwyn Allen
Tue, Jul 23, 2024 2 min

The CEOs of the ASX 200 were paid a little less in FY23 compared to the year before, but bonuses appear to have become the norm rather than a reward for outstanding results, according to the Australia Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI). ACSI has released its 23rd annual report documenting the CEOs’ realised pay, which combines base salaries, bonuses and other incentives.

The highest-paid CEO among Australian-domiciled ASX 200 companies in FY23 was Greg Goodman of Goodman Group, with realised pay of $27.34 million. Goodman Group is the ASX 200’s largest real estate investment trust (REIT) with a global portfolio of $80.5 billion in assets. The highest-paid CEO among foreign-domiciled ASX 200 companies was Mick Farrell of ResMed with realised pay of $47.58 million. ResMed manufactures CPAP machines to treat sleep apnoea.

The realised pay for the CEOs of the largest 100 companies by market capitalisation fell marginally from a median of $3.93 million in FY22 to $3.87 million in FY23. This is the lowest median in the 10 years since ACSI began basing its report on realised pay data. The median realised pay for the CEOs of the next largest 100 companies also fell from $2.1million to $1.95 million.

However, 192 of the ASX 200 CEOs took home a bonus, and Ed John, ACSI’s executive manager of stewardship, is concerned that bonuses are becoming “a given”.

“At a time when companies are focused on productivity and performance, it is critical that bonuses are only paid for exceptional outcomes,” Mr John said. He added that boards should set performance thresholds for CEO bonuses at appropriate levels.

ACSI said the slightly lower median realised pay of ASX 200 CEOs indicated greater scrutiny from shareholders was having an impact. There was a record 41 strike votes against executive pay at ASX 300 annual general meetings (AGMs) in 2023. This indicated an increasing number of shareholders were feeling unhappy with the executive pay levels at the companies in which they were invested.

A strike vote means 25 percent or more of shareholders voted against a company’s remuneration report. If a second strike vote is recorded at the next AGM, shareholders can vote to force the directors to stand for re-election.

10 highest-paid ASX 200 CEOs in FY23

1. Mick Farrell, ResMed, $47.58 million*
2. Robert Thomson, News Corporation, $41.53 million*
3. Greg Goodman, Goodman Group, $27.34 million
4. Shemara Wikramanayake, Macquarie Group, $25.32 million
5. Mike Henry, BHP Group, $19.68 million
6. Matt Comyn, Commonwealth Bank, $10.52 million
7. Jakob Stausholm, Rio Tinto, $10.47 million
8. Rob Scott, Wesfarmers, $9.57 million
9. Ron Delia, Amcor, $9.33 million*
10. Colin Goldschmidt, Sonic Healthcare, $8.35 million

Source: ACSI. Foreign-domiciled ASX 200 companies*

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