Marina Lukianov, graduated Brookdale Community College with her Associate of Science Degree in Business Administration Program in 2014, and played on the Women’s Basketball Team at Brookdale Community College (2012-2014) and Stockton University (2014-2016).

Want a luxury handbag for a steal? Jackson woman tracks down ‘pre-loved’ goods for sale

By Susan Bloom Special to the Asbury Park Press

Growing up in Howell, Marina Lukianov had an entrepreneurial flair. And in 2018, she successfully combined that skill with her love of fashion to launch The Luxury Outlet, a Jackson-based seller of “pre-loved” designer handbags and accessories that’s caught the eye of shopaholics and celebrities alike.

“As a kid, I was always into selling things and used to run a lot of lemonade stands and yard sales at home,” recalled Lukianov, 29, a Jackson resident. “Though my parents both had full-time jobs, they also ran a successful online business selling Russian books and antiques, so I grew up helping out by pulling orders and preparing them for shipping.”

After high school, Lukianov attended Brookdale Community College in the Lincroft section of Middletown and then secured her master’s degree in business administration in 2017 through an accelerated program at Stockton University in Galloway. But all along the way, she was sowing the seeds for her next venture.

“During my freshman year of college in 2013, I had a lot of clothes in my closet that I wasn’t wearing, so I decided to start selling them through an app to make some extra money,” she shared. “I then reached out to my sisters, cousins and mom and told them that I’d sell any clothes they wanted to get rid of and split the profit with them.”

A visit to a thrift store unexpectedly took her business to the next level.

“One day that year, I was looking around at a Goodwill store and found a pair of Fendi shoes for $12,” she said. “I’d never worn anything like that growing up and wasn’t that familiar with the brand, but the name seemed expensive and, after doing some research online, I found out that they had value.

“I ended up selling them to a company for $180, which started my mindset shift,” she said of the pivotal moment that represented a turning point in her business plan. “I realized that all the time I was spending taking pictures and writing descriptions to make a few bucks on jeans, I could be doing for products in the luxury market.”

Learning about luxury

Lukianov subsequently spent her free time during her college years researching products, learning about the luxury market and its players, and dabbling in luxury reselling — “an experience which helped me save money to start investing into an actual business,” she said.

“Once I figured out how to source my products and create relationships with vendors, I became a vendor myself and had a huge online consignment company from 2017 to 2020,” Lukianov said of officially launching her company, The Luxury Outlet, in 2018.

“Back then, the business was a little less organized, my pictures and descriptions were a bit more random because I was just getting started, and I didn’t have a way of authenticating items,” she said. “Today, however, I partner with Entrupy, one of the leading authenticators in the world. Once I completed their training and became an approved partner, they sent me a special machine that enables the careful inspection of a product’s thread, leather, stitching and more to ensure its authenticity.”

Something for everyone

“Today, our products are largely handbags and wallets, most of which are pre-loved,” she said of the final-sale items she offers from such top luxury brands as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Chanel and Fendi which date from the 1980s to the current day. “You can buy a wallet on our site for as little as $150 up to designer bags for several thousand dollars. I recently sold a 1990s-era Chanel bag with 24K-gold accents to a customer for about $4,000; Chanel has marked up their products so much recently and bags that once cost $3,000 to $4,000 are now as much as $9,000, so she scored a great deal.”

Buying in bulk from authentic luxury auction houses all over the world, “what differentiates our offering from others is that most luxury boutiques in New Jersey either sell only vintage items or else brand-new products,” Lukianov explained. “We have such a broad range of items at all price points, so there’s truly something for everyone and every budget.”

According to Lukianov, most of The Luxury Outlet’s customers are women in their late 20s through their 50s, many of whom are fairly retail-savvy. “I see a lot of repeat customers, and I get to know their style, so I message them if I get something I know they’ll like,” she said.

For even greater exposure in 2023, “I opened a pop-up shop at the Monmouth Mall in Eatontown last November and December and it was great, with tons of people coming in to buy holiday gifts for themselves and others,” Lukianov said. “As of last November, The Luxury Outlet had 7,000 followers on Instagram and now we have over 40,000.”

And since reaching out to several social media influencers and responding to others wanting to work with her, some of those customers include such reality show celebrities as Tracy DiMarco of “Jerseylicious,” Corinne Olympios of “The Bachelor” and Sydney Paight of “Love Island.”

Lukianov has also pumped up her following and the buzz surrounding her brand by hosting live online auctions, where auction prices start at just $1 and the atmosphere is spirited. “Over 3,000 people tuned into my last live auction on March 11th, and I shipped out over 70 items after it ended,” she said of her business, which sells and ships several hundred items each month to customers throughout the U.S. and Canada.

“We also just launched a new subscription service,” Lukianov noted. “By subscribing through my Instagram account or website for just 99 cents per month, you’ll get a link showing all of our auction days. You can only get access to our auctions as a subscriber and the subscription also gets you 50% off our entire online store, so it’s a fantastic deal.”

‘Find your dream bag’

Among trends, “bigger tote bags are less popular today and smaller bags and crossbody styles are in,” Lukianov said. “Little shoulder bags from the 1990s by Prada and other brands are really trendy now. People are just eating them up.”

The Luxury Outlet is a Jackson-based provider of rare and beloved authentic designer fashion and accessories. Owner Marina Lukianov uses a device to check for proof of authenticity. Jackson, NJ Photo by Doug Hood

In addition to working hard to meet the demands of her growing business, “this field is often full of people looking to discredit luxury products promoted on social media by suggesting that certain items are fake,” Lukianov said of another challenge she encounters. “Since we go to such lengths to authenticate everything, I always try to respond to these comments professionally and explain that everything we offer is 100% authentic. I find that they then typically ‘like’ my post and/or delete their comment.”

Looking ahead, Lukianov said, “I’d love to be the company that everybody is subscribed to because you never know when you’ll find your dream bag and then win it in an auction for $100; I want to be the go-to company that everyone knows in this market. You won’t find something like The Luxury Outlet anywhere else, because subscriber rates for many other luxury companies/sites range from $70 to $150 a month. A lot of these luxury products can cost thousands at a retail store, so paying less than $12 a year can enable everyone to get a bag or wallet they love for an awesome price.”

“During my last auction, for example, we had a Gucci bag currently selling in stores for $1,700 that someone won for $785,” said Lukianov, whose favorite part of her business is seeing the chat comments during her auctions. “I get so much joy from interacting with everyone on the live site, congratulating winners and seeing other followers congratulating them too, because it’s such a supportive community. It’s a fun time and I love creating such great relationships with customers.

“It’s exciting to help people get incredible deals on bags that are often so expensive,” said Lukianov, whose own favorite luxury bags include her Louis Vuitton Métis Pochette, a cross-body bag from the 2010s that she describes as “the perfect size.”

“At The Luxury Outlet,” she said, “we believe that everyone deserves to have an authentic luxury piece in their closet.”

The Luxury Outlet
Location: Jackson
Owner: Marina Lukianov
Launched: 2018