Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Bella Bag Belly Up at The Shops Buckhead Atlanta

Luxury handbag and accessory consignment retailer Bella Bag has closed its boutique along Peachtree Road at The Shops Buckhead Atlanta.  The store, referred to as the company's "flagship," opened in the troubled mixed-use development in late 2014, having previously been located on Miami Circle.  Bella Bag founder Cassandra Connors started the business in 2005 before opening the Miami Circle showroom in 2012.
Cassandra Connors with a Chanel Handbag - Photo courtesy of CatMax Photography 

According to public records, Connors filed for chapter 11bankruptcy this past May citing assets between $0 and $50,000 and liabilities between $1,000,001 and $10 million.

In an interview with Simply Buckhead shortly after opening in Buckhead Atlanta, Connors said of her business's beginning "I was basically a college student whose shopping habit incurred quite a bit of debt."
It seems now that perhaps her old way returned [or never left] and she owes a lot of people a lot of money.

Among Bella Bags largest creditors are Connors' estranged husband Jay Froehling who was owed $1,000,000 related to what the filing refers to as "Inventory."  Connors herself, is also listed personally as a creditor, owed $287,000 in what the filing refers to as "trade debt."

Capital One was owed $67,000 in "trade debt" while Morgan Stanley was owed $265,000 in "inventory."  Online retailer Rue La La was also listed as a creditor, owed  $23,000 in "trade debt."  

$66,000 was owed in "unpaid rent" to CPT/Forum AEW aka The Forum on Peachtree Parkway, where Bella Bag opened April of 2017, and according to local sources, was in business for less than a year.  

Surprisingly, a creditor owed one of the least amounts of money was OMB Buckhead Lender, LLC (then owner of The Shops Buckhead Atlanta), owed $2,500 in "rent."  

There is also that interesting distinction noted of "rent" owed at The Shops Buckhead Atlanta and "unpaid rent" owed at The Forum on Peachtree.  

One would think Peachtree Road facing storefronts in the project would have been expensive, but Bella Bag, like others in the complex, was likely on percentage rent (rent as a percent of sales) and it was therefore affordable.  The store was also robbed at least once, mid-day, and perhaps as a result, Connors was able to negotiate even better lease terms.  

Sac de Lux, a business similar to Bella Bag, now occupies Bella Bag's former space at The Shops Buckhead Atlanta.  Owners Nikki Hightower and Shanice Gaither have reportedly been in business since 2014, originally on Miami Circle, and assumed the former Bella Bag space last month. 

Sac de Lux, unlike Bella Bag, offers more than just bags and wallets, with shoes, too, for both men and women, as well as a sprinkling of jewelry and accessories.  

There is surely still room in the market for brick & mortar luxury consignment stores, but online re-sellers such as The RealReal and StockX, among others, have made buying gently used luxury goods easier than ever from the comfort of your own home.   

Did you ever shop Bella Bag?  Are you surprised that Bella Bag had liquidity issues?  If you buy used, where do you prefer to shop for luxury goods?

Please share your thoughts below.  


Amy said...

she did not close, she sold the business to Sac Deluxe who is the same concept for the most part.

Anonymous said...

that explains:

Surprisingly, a creditor owed one of the least amounts of money was OMB Buckhead Lender, LLC (then owner of The Shops Buckhead Atlanta), owed $2,500 in "rent."

Imandy said...

If she sold the assets of the business after claiming in bankruptcy there were no assets she will be going to prison soon

Anonymous said...

Actually, she is going around town bragging that she owns half of Sac Deluxe in her assistant's name that lives in Hawaii to hide from her husband. The article forgot to include the 13 people and counting that she hasn't paid for thier consigned bags.

Anonymous said...

I'm one of the consigners trying to get my bag back! Any one know how?

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