Going trendy on a reduced budget

Good buy: Muhamad Lukman (in maroon) looking for a pair of pre-loved shoes at a bundle shop selling branded shoes along Armenian Street in George Town. – CHAN BOON KAI/The Star

GEORGE TOWN: Even used clothes and shoes get “a new lease of life”.

“There is an entire market for pre-loved shoes and the pricing is reasonable, making them affordable for all,” said technician Muhamad Lukman Hakim Khasim, who was out shopping for a “new” pair of branded footwear.

He is familiar with buying used shoes and will browse at shophouses that have been converted into thrift stores or bundle shops.

“I’m not here for the first time as I am used to buying them second-hand and even reselling my shoes when I do not need them anymore,” he said.

“The main thing to know is how to check the quality and if they are original.”

He said there were many ways to do so and that online videos were available to guide buyers.

“There is even an app we can download to check the tags and ensure we are buying the real deal,” said Muhamad Lukman, 22.

A husband and wife team – Mohd Shahir Talib and Natasha Yusoff – run a bundle shop along Armenian Street here, selling pre-loved shoes.

Natasha, 28, said most people assumed that the term “bundle” implied that the items were dirty.

“But people are always surprised when they walk in and find that the shoes look clean and new.

“We have customers from all over the world, especially those who come to Penang on cruise ships,” she said.

She said her shoes were sourced from China, the United States, South Korea, Japan and Thailand.

“The supplier does the cleaning and we usually check the items before they are displayed in the store,” said Natasha, adding that the shoes were usually priced between RM70 and RM130.

She said locals here would come looking for boots and children’s shoes.

“We offer many different brands and even collectors’ items,” she added.

She recalled how their bundle shop came about, saying: “The pandemic had just begun when we started our business. We would sell our items online and by the roadside. Then as business picked up, we rented a shophouse.”

For now, she said they could sell about 150 to 200 pairs a day via their online site and physical store.

Mohd Shahir, 34, said the public were now open to buying second-hand branded goods as they were much cheaper.

“They want to wear nice shoes without having to break the bank,” he said.

A representative of another bundle shop, which sells high-end clothes and accessories, said the interest in pre-loved items here was less compared to places like Kuala Lumpur.

“Here, it is still not common to buy second-hand items,” he said, though he acknowledged that customers would come to buy branded handbags and clothes.

“Our items are more on the higher end, but we do have items like shirts that are priced as low as RM50. Our most expensive item is a RM9,000 bag.”

He said the shop would see to it that items such as garments and shoes were clean and in good condition before they were put up on display.

The representative said that customers, who comprised locals and foreigners, would visit the shop looking for collectors’ items.

“We carry vintage pieces that are curated to cater to those looking for an old-school feel,” he said, adding that old cameras and other items were available as well.

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