The move ushered in an era of getting by with less and being more thrifty – encapsulated in a promotional campaign called Make Do and Mend.
Fast-forward almost 80 years and, although items aren’t being rationed, the spirit of repairing, recycling and reusing remains a popular one in the UK.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, the retail industry has taken an almighty hit, but one of the few areas that has seen some growth is the resale industry.
Charity shops are one of the few good news stories on the high street, and while second-hand retailers had already been seeing promising signs growth in the last few years, the pandemic has increased their success, with cars, exercise equipment, furniture, watches and jewellery, sporting goods, electronics, books, musical instruments and tools among the most popular items.
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However, there has also been a shift in the calibre of items being sold, and charity shops, traditionally regarded as a source of cheap, low-value goods, have changed their focus.
They now regularly stock used high-end goods, which can be bought for a fraction of their original price. To show how the resale concept has gathered momentum during lockdown, this documentary taps into the industry which has grown around delivering the luxury, second-hand goods of our dreams – items that can cost anything from £2,000 to over £200,000.
Second Hand for 50 Grand follows the day-to-day running of Xupes, “the go-to place for second-hand chic”. Hidden in among the beautiful countryside of Hertfordshire, in a large 17th-Century converted barn, the family-run business is hoping to corner the market in pre-owned luxury handbags, priceless watches, jewellery, art and design. From the initial stages of authentication, right through to refurbishment and quality control, each item is rigorously tested and only the very best make it into Xupes’ collection.
In addition to their online shopping experience, they are now welcoming visitors back to their renowned show space — The Wonder Room – where shoppers can view a range of luxury pre-owned products, receive expert advice from the team, and indulge in a glass of Champagne or a cup of freshly brewed coffee.
This programme reveals the highly personal stories behind the company, which also has stores in London and Amsterdam, as well as the tales of the men and women who are addicted to buying and selling pre-owned luxury goods.
We meet window cleaner Grant, whose dad wants to buy him a Cartier watch to go with the timepiece that Grant got from his late mother.
Meanwhile, Rebecca asks Head of Handbags Reece to scour the globe for an exact match for a stolen Prada bag that also had a special, family connection for her. And there’s Kristen, who wants the thrill of buying herself a dream Chanel bag for her birthday, to add to her bulging collection.
But can the team find a second-hand piece that will meet her exacting standards?
Finally, firefighter Hywell has received a watch from his grandad.
And if Xupes can prove that it’s genuine, Hywell’s life could be about to change forever.