Despite being labelled as one of this year’s ‘villains’ on Married At First Sight, Carolina Santos says that her luxury handbag rental business is booming after her appearance on the reality show.
The 33-year-old tells Yahoo Lifestyle that her company, Designer Bag Hire, has seen a surge in interest since she made her TV debut earlier this year and is currently valued at $1 million.
After studying business and accounting at university in São Paulo, Brazil, the mother-of-one spotted a gap in the market when she moved to Sydney and invested everything she had in stock, marketing and creating her own website.
“I started hiring dresses for events when I realised that I would buy an expensive dress for a specific event, wear it once and then put it away and never use it again,” she explains.
“Once I realised I could rent dresses at a small portion of the purchase price, that made a lot of sense to me. Having only two designer handbags at the time, I realised that often I didn't have a handbag that would perfectly go with the outfit or the event, and that was where the idea came from to start Designer Bag Hire.”
Since starting the company in 2017, Carolina has built an inventory of 50 handbags with RRP prices between $750-$13,000 that are available to rent for as little as $85.
“If you think that hiring handbags is only for people that can not afford to buy that particular handbag, then you are very wrong,” she says.
“Handbag hire is for women who appreciate that constantly the perfect handbag for your look becomes very expensive and you end up in the same situation as with expensive dresses: a handbag that you use a couple of times and then put away.”
She continues: “Being able to choose the perfect colour, tone and material is now letting people be more free with choosing the look they want to go with and not breaking the bank.
“I want Designer Bag Hire to continue growing, the goal is to triple in inventory and consequently in revenue in the next 36 months and I am driving investment in marketing as well as looking at expanding partnerships with designer dress hire companies and also growing our celebrity client base.”
Carolina has already worked with a number of former reality TV stars to rent out her bags, including The Bachelor’s Rachael Arahill and Monique Morley, and fellow MAFS stars Natasha Spencer and Lauren Huntriss.
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