How Luxury Brands are Designed to Keep You Poor

Nowadays, there is a collective desire to be more conscientious about our spending habits. This newfound mindfulness manifests in various motivations, including concerns for the environment, alignment with personal values, financial prudence, and even a deliberate resistance to the seductive allure of consumerism. Nonetheless, it’s crucial to recognize that not everyone consistently adheres to these aspirations.

Just take a look at the Singaporeans who are obsessed with luxury goods! In fact, their presence is projected to grow by 3.49% from 2023 to 2028. The demand for luxury goods often surges in tandem with income growth. In times of economic prosperity, people tend to loosen their purse strings, indulging in items they desire rather than truly need.

Luxury goods, by definition, are non-essential items, luxuries that transcend the realm of basic necessity. Let’s take a deep dive into why luxury brands are designed to keep you poor.


The allure of luxury items frequently commences with the experiences offered by luxury establishments. Companies adroitly harness emotions to elevate luxury goods beyond mere possessions, fostering an emotional connection between the product and its owner.

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In the age of online shopping, a S$500 scarf is just a click away, rendering luxury goods an enticing option for retail therapy. Furthermore, a sense of accomplishment propels many individuals to splurge on luxury goods, a form of self-reward for hard-earned success, affording something that would typically remain beyond their grasp. I felt the same self-rewarding emotions when I bought my first designer bag.


Distinguished luxury brands like Chanel and Hermes thrive on the concept of exclusivity. They deliberately curtail production or availability, rendering their products challenging to attain and thus highly coveted. This exclusivity taps into consumers’ innate desire to feel unique and possess something rare.

Consider the prestige associated with owning a Hermes Birkin bag, whose price starts from S$13,900; it compels some to lavish spending on items they may not genuinely require or desire. In some cases, brands like Burberry and Louis Vuitton have gone as far as destroying unsold inventory to preserve their aura of exclusivity.


Humans possess an inherent inclination to seek validation from their peers and correlate their self-worth with the capacity to acquire luxury items. Owning luxury goods becomes a tangible symbol of success and affluence, a means to showcase personal accomplishments.

Brands keenly grasp this dynamic, evident in their offering of mid-priced products adorned with their logos. The proliferation of “flex culture” or “logomania” on social media further fans the flames of this desire for external validation, transforming it into a competitive exhibition of wealth and success.


Consumer decisions do not always adhere to the tenets of rationality. A perfectly rational individual would consistently act in their best interest, including their financial well-being.

However, human behavior is innately influenced by emotions, leading individuals to make choices that may not strictly align with rationality and your financial circumstance.


Whether driven by a sense of accomplishment, a quest for external validation, or simply to invoke a particular sentiment, individuals may opt to invest in luxury items, irrespective of their financial circumstances.

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These choices underscore the intricate interplay of emotions and motivations that underpin our spending habits. It’s up to you to be mindful when it comes to your luxury purchases.

Sources: 1,2, & 3


Why Buying Second-Hand Luxury Items Benefits Your Wallet

Are you tired of feeling deceived by knock-off brands and paying exorbitant prices for fast fashion when shopping online? If that resonates with you, it’s time to delve into the world of luxury resale.

During my recent trip to Japan, I had the opportunity to explore second-hand outlet shops in Osaka and Tokyo. I was pleasantly surprised by the positive reception towards buying second-hand luxury items. The Japanese have an interesting belief that possessions acquire their own spirit over time, which can either bless or haunt their owners. To avoid any potential haunting, they choose to either discard or sell items they have owned for an extended period.

While the thrill of unboxing brand-new items is undeniable, many people overlook the fact that they can still enjoy a fantastic experience while simultaneously making an environmental impact by opting for second-hand goods. Join others in embracing the world of second-hand luxury and discover the incredible benefits it offers, including:


Is it possible to save the environment while you shop? Sustainability has become a key focus for everyone, and purchasing second-hand luxury items is a meaningful way to contribute. Excessive consumption has devastating effects on the environment, as buying new items leads to increased production and strains our resources. Opting for second-hand items indirectly reduces the demand for materials like leather, sending a message to the industry.

Choosing to buy second-hand products actively reduces waste and gives items a second life, lowering our carbon footprint. It’s remarkable how second-hand purchases rescue products that could have ended up in landfills. Contrary to common misconceptions, used items are often in excellent condition and fully functional. Many are sold simply because their owners no longer need or want them, making them valuable finds in the second-hand market.


The beauty of luxury products lies in their timeless appeal. A dear friend of mine owns a vintage Chanel handbag. Despite being decades old, the bag exudes an air of sophistication and elegance that never goes out of style. The bag’s enduring charm serves as a reminder that investing in second-hand luxury allows you to maintain a refined and fashionable look without the fear of appearing dated.

Whether it’s a beautiful bag, elegant jewelry, or high-end clothing, these items have the remarkable ability to transcend fleeting trends. By embracing second-hand luxury, you unlock a world of style possibilities that stand the test of time.


Unless you have a well-paying job or exceptional personal savings habits, purchasing luxury consumer goods can significantly strain your finances. Luxury items often come with hefty price tags, but the good news is that buying them second-hand can lead to substantial savings.

It’s important to note that used items can still be in excellent condition. In fact, you can discover luxury brands that look brand new but are available at just half the retail price.

During my trip to Japan, I stumbled upon a pre-loved Gucci Abbey D-Ring Shoulder Bag priced at a mere S$250. Considering that it could easily cost around S$950 in online second-hand stores, this was an incredible deal. It’s quite astounding to think about the steep difference between the discounted price and its full retail value.


In the past, one of the major hurdles faced by those interested in purchasing second-hand goods was the limited availability of certain items. This often resulted in compromises when trying to save money or contribute to the environment.

However, the game has changed, thanks to the Internet. Nowadays, you have access to expansive online markets that offer a diverse array of items, making it more convenient than ever to find exactly what you’re looking for.

While local thrift shops remain a viable option, searching through international online platforms presents you with the best saving opportunities and an abundance of options.


Do you play it safe in fashion? By consistently adhering to safe and conventional choices when purchasing new products, you may inadvertently overlook distinctive items that could perfectly suit your needs.

Whether you have an affinity for luxury clothing or bags, you will be astounded by the hidden gems awaiting your discovery in second-hand shops. The alluring aspect of used items lies in their affordable price, as it enables you to explore beyond your comfort zone without incurring substantial financial burdens.


Buying specific, limited-edition items becomes significantly easier in the second-hand market, especially when it pertains to past limited-edition bags or accessories from your favorite brands. These sought-after items are often unavailable in stores but can frequently be found within the realm of second-hand shopping. Moreover, elusive treasures such as the highly coveted Birkin bag, typically beyond the reach of the average shopper, become more attainable when seeking pre-owned alternatives.

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By wholeheartedly embracing the realm of second-hand luxury, you not only save money but also contribute to environmental preservation, all while unearthing unique treasures that bestow elegance and refinement upon your life.

So, what are you waiting for? Initiate your exploration into the boundless possibilities of second-hand shopping today!

Sources: 1 & 2


Meet The Most Expensive COVID-19 Mask In The World

As you rub on the magical lamp, a genie appears. If the genie were to grant you three wishes, what would they be? Will you ask for the most expensive COVID-19 mask in the world? That was the request that Jewelry Designer Isaac Levy fulfilled – with or without a magical lamp. He works in the Israeli jewelry house called Yvel.

He was commissioned to grant three requests: that the mask will comply with the FDA/European safety standards, will be ready by the end of 2020, and will be the most expensive COVID-19 mask in the world. The last requirement was the easiest to fulfill, according to Mr. Levy.

Mr. Levy said that the item was requested by a Chinese billionaire living in the United States of America. Thus, it comes with a price tag of US$1.5 million or S$2 million. Saving face plays an essential part in the Chinese Culture, and a bejeweled mask by Yvel takes this to another level!

This expensive mask may be glamorous, but some may question its practicality. You see, it is expected to weigh about 270 grams or over half a pound. The mask consists of 250 grams of 18-carat white gold, which is embellished with more than 3,600 natural black and white diamonds. This equates to a total weight of 210 carats.

Its physical appearance aside, the mask is set to meet the strict health standards with the current pandemic in mind. Mr. Levy made sure that the mask included an N99 filter. The mask features a hole in one of its gold plates for the filter to sit. In other words, the mask will filter out at least 99% of airborne particles.

The labor-intensive process for this luxurious piece as well as its other requirements entails that this project will not only benefit one man. The Jewelry House Yvel takes pride in hiring predominantly immigrant employees and projects such as this will help them thrive during these tough times.

Mr. Levy went on and said:

“It is the most expensive mask in the world. If there will be another company that will create such a mask and will challenge us, I am sure that we’re going to find another customer to buy a more expensive mask.”

This extravagant mask comes at a time when luxury brands and designers such as Off-White and Emilia Wickstead are offering fashionable face coverings. Moreover, luxury group LVMH (which oversees Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, and Christian Dior) assisted in the production of hand sanitizers amidst the global shortages. They converted three fragrance factories for this purpose.

Whatever happens in the years to come, this mask will serve as a hefty memento of the life-changing pandemic.

Source: 1


Which Makeup Products Should You Splurge On?

A study has shown that women spend approximately S$20,000 on beauty products in their entire lifetime. That is a lot of lipsticks! With a shocking number like that, you must weigh whether a beauty product is worth splurging for or not.


If there is one thing that you should splurge on when it comes to luxury cosmetics – it is lipstick! I am not saying this merely because I am obsessed with this product. A reliable lipstick is important because you can apply it as a vibrant eye-shadow or a pigmented blush too. For instance, I use my MAC Russian Red (about S$30) to give a flush of crimson on my cheeks and on my lips. You can use the same technique to Charlotte Tilbury lipsticks and others alike. Gone are the days when multitasking sticks do not exist!

Experts believe that anything put around or on the mouth can make or break your look. A subtle lips can give off a natural aura while a red lipstick can be a showstopper. Moreover, a good lipstick stays for a long period of time. Less purchasing equates to more savings.


Whether you like it or not, it all starts with a good base. Make sure you splurge on skincare and a really trusty primer. Think of your face as a room’s platform, you will not be able to build the room you desire without a sturdy surface. Having a good base will enable you to get away with a drugstore foundation. Do not get me started with how drugstore products are becoming more competitive now. That is a different conversation. Anyway, let us go back to skincare.

Many Singaporeans turn to Korean beauty for their skincare regimen. You can follow this too! Or, simply cleanse and exfoliate regularly. Personally, I prefer the sensitive formula of Cetaphil as a cleanser. Afterwards, I would put the NUXE body oil. I may also partake in an all-in-one lactic acid treatment by Sunday Riley (retails for S$223 at Sephora Singapore). It is a product that many skincare obsessed people shell out for. It brightens, soothes, and reduces your blemishes and fine lines. It leaves you with an even-toned radiant complexion!


Many makeup artists believe that eyebrows are the most important facial feature next to the teeth. They go the extra mile to shape one’s brows for a variety of reasons. Firstly, a nicely shaped brow can make someone look more youthful and fresh. The volume in your brows can make you look rested!

Secondly, it gives a subtle change without having to splurge on other cosmetics. You can either look edgy or feminine by shaping your brows. Lastly, even the Royal Duchess of Cambridge believes in a set of perfectly shaped brows. She uses the Bobbi Brown Brow Kit that retails for S$85 at Sephora. A cheaper alternative would be the cult classic – Anastasia Brow Wiz for S$40 at Sephora. Brow Wiz is a holy grail to many beauty fanatics due to its user-friendly wand and its natural finish.

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Let me ask you one thing. Which luxury beauty products do you splurge on? Leave your comments below.

Sources: 1 & 2


Why Is Bird’s Nest So Expensive?

There are interesting reasons why the Bird’s Nest delicacy is known as the “Caviar of the East”. For starters, it costs about S$40 to S$135 to get a single bowl of Bird’s Nest Soup. While, edible Bird’s Nest costs about S$5,600 per pound. You can finish polytechnic studies with that amount of money!

Do not get me started with the price of the highest grade of Bird’s Nest. The highest grade are the most expensive because it is the purest. It is 90% edible upon harvesting and requires little amount of processing.

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How do you store an expensive delicacy as such? Do not worry about consuming everything in one sitting as you can refrigerate it for about two weeks.

The high cost of the Bird’s Nest comes from its dangerous retrieval process, its painstaking cleaning process, and its expansive health benefits (according to Traditional Chinese Medicine).

The Bird’s Nest comes from the saliva of the Swiflets. Swiftlets live in limestone caves around South East Asia, Indian Ocean, North Australia, and Pacific Islands. These birds build their nests three times a year – in spring, summer, and autumn. Each nest takes about 30 to 35 days to build. Interestingly, males primarily build the nests by attaching them to the vertical walls of the limestone caves. Removing these nests can be dangerous! Retrievers will start by climbing the outside of the cave to attach the ropes. Then, they will drop down the ropes to the cave floor. These ropes will be tied to handmade ladders and poles to ease the collection process.

Image Credits: Francesco Veronesi via

The tedious retrieval of the Bird’s Nest does not stop there! In fact, researchers observed that it can take a person approximately eight hours to clean 10 nests. Commercial cleaners often use bleaching agents to speed up the cleaning process. All these hours seem to pay off as consumers are hooked by it! Many of the demand comes from the traditional belief of its health benefits.

Bird’s Nest can be consumed alone or as an additive in dishes, beverages, and cosmetics. It is rich in protein, which contains essential amino acids. Moreover, it contains six hormones including testosterone and estradiol.

Previous research has indicated that the nests contain substances that can stimulate cell division and growth and enhance tissue growth. This is why many use it for their skincare or beauty regimen.

Now, you know why the soft and jellylike delicacy comes with a hefty price-tag!

Sources: 1 & 2