Most people have heard of Dooney and Bourke bags in some way or another. Whether it’s through a song, on The RealReal, or on the shoulder of your favorite celebs, Dooney and Bourke is here to stay. However, it’s worth wondering, is Dooney and Bourke a luxury brand? And is Dooney and Bourke a fashion brand in which to invest?
Let’s get the inside scoop and discover why Dooney and Bourke might be just what you bargained for. . . and more.
The Last Word In Luxury
Ah, luxury. That word evokes connotations of a peaceful spa day, sumptuous meals, and shopping in the ultra-premium districts of a city.
But does Dooney and Bourke belong in that image? Is Dooney and Bourke a luxury brand, really? Or is it just a high-end designer?
Well, before we can answer that question, we’ll have to define what makes a brand a luxury one. Luxury brands all have a few things in common.
Generally, their prices are very steep, but that price is reasonable considering the brand’s prestige, exceptional customer service, and high-quality handmade goods.
Luxury brands, moreover, tell a story. Whether it is the story of early feminism, in the case of Chanel, or the story of a “New Look,” in the case of Dior, every prestigious brand stands for something timeless.
So, does Dooney and Bourke fit within that definition? And what does this brand stand for? Let us find out.
The Fascinating History of Dooney and Bourke
Dooney and Bourke is named for Peter Dooney and Frederic Bourke. Together, in 1975, these men founded Dooney and Bourke as a purveyor of men’s belts, suspenders, and ties in Connecticut.
Dooney made all of the leather goods in their shop, and by 1981, he began to create their signature Dooney and Bourke handbags.
What made Dooney and Bourke’s leather goods so outstanding was their All-Weather Leather. This leather was treated to be waterproof and withstand a lot more wear than other leather.
However, Dooney and Bourke’s first handbags also had a pebbled texture and tongue-and-loop closure. These two hallmarks became symbols for Dooney and Bourke, giving them more brand recognition.
For that reason, Dooney and Bourke became very popular following the All-Weather Leather pebble grain collection launch in the 1980s.
Nowadays, Dooney and Bourke is still owned by Peter Dooney and Frederic Bourke. These two, throughout the years, have fought to keep Dooney and Bourke’s reputation and products pristine and of high quality.
Finders Keepers! Exclusivity of Dooney and Bourke Products
Dooney and Bourke is not known as an exclusive brand, which makes it more of a premium brand than a luxury one.
Unlike Chanel, a fashion house well-known for exclusivity, Dooney and Bourke offers online shopping. Additionally, Dooney and Bourke often carries the same bags year in and year out, which means that you can get your hands on one any season.
Or any year! But it was not always this way. Back in the 1990s and early 2000s, Dooney and Bourke were all the rage, especially when it came to teen girls and young women.
During these years, Dooney handbags went way up in price to compete with the ever-increasing demand. Eventually, the craze died out, leaving Dooney and Bourke with the option to rebrand or die.
Luckily, they chose to rebrand. So does that have any bearing on the question: is Dooney and Bourke a Luxury Brand?
Perhaps. While Dooney and Bourke’s lack of exclusivity may make it more “premium” than luxury, there are plenty of other factors to consider.
A Dooney and Bourke purse may not have the same prestige as a Louis Vuitton tote bag or the glam of quilted jackets from Chanel.
But the Dooney and Bourke brand has created its own niche of high-quality, accessible luxury
Awesome Ambassadors: Who’s Wearing Dooney?
Lately, Dooney and Bourke has given up its celebrity endorsements for average-looking fashion models and naturalistic scenery.
However, in Dooney and Bourke’s heyday in the 1990s, celebrities couldn’t get enough of Dooney and Bourke – and neither could we!
The Dooney craze started in the early 2000s with the release of Mean Girls, starring Lindsay Lohan. At the time, Lindsay Lohan was also the celebrity spokesperson for Dooney and Bourke, and in the film, all the popular girls are wearing Dooney and Bourke “IT” bags.
These bags went absolutely viral, and every teenage girl in America (and beyond) had to have one. I still remember dreaming of my very own “IT ” bag as a teenager, too. I never got one, as they were far too expensive at the time.
Following the movie’s release, Dooney and Bourke even came out with Lindsay Lohan’s signature Rainbow bag, which still holds its value today.
Some other lesser-known celebrities who endorsed Dooney and Bourke in the 2000s include Hayden Panettiere and Emma Roberts.
But today, you won’t find many stars sporting the likes of a Dooney bag.
Is Dooney and Bourke a Luxury Brand Worth the Investment for Big Spenders?
So, is Dooney and Bourke a luxury brand when it comes to prices? Well, not really. Dooney and Bourke are best known for their bags, which generally range from $89 to $950 per bag. These prices are nothing to scoff at, but compared to luxury brands like Prada, Cartier, and Louis Vuitton, that’s a bargain!
In the $50 range, we have Pebble Grain Double Zip Tassel crossbody bags, small pebbled leather bags made of water-repellent leather.
Unlike the more premium bags, Dooney and Bourke makes no comment as to where these are made. The most expensive Dooney and Bourke bag is the Volta Terina Tote, a large bucket-style zippered bag with a crossbody strap and shorter handle.
This bag, made from premium Italian leather, gets is hefty price tag for its large size and its origin in Italy.
Their wallets, which are just as popular as their bags, range from around $50 to $375 depending on the size and leather used in the design.
Their least expensive options are their card cases and coin purses, which weigh out to about the same price.
These products are both made of premium Florentine leather. Their most expensive option, the Alto Double Zip Organizer, which is more of a clutch than a wallet, is handmade in Tuscany with Italian leather.
These prices all put Dooney and Bourke on the same premium brand tier as Kate Spade, Coach, and Michael Kors.
Putting Stock In Dooney and Bourke: Resale Values
Now we know that Dooney and Bourke products are relatively affordable, let’s determine: is Dooney and Bourke a good brand for retaining resale values?
While some Dooney and Bourke bags retain their value over time, most of them do not. For example, if you check out the Real Real looking for Dooney and Bourke bags, you’re not likely to find anything.
In fact, at the time this article was published, there were absolutely no Dooney and Bourke bags on the Real Real at all!
It’s much easier to find Dooney bags going at their retail prices or a bit less on reselling sites like eBay and Poshmark.
However, it’s not worth buying a Dooney and Bourke bag as an investment. Even the once-iconic “IT bag” and the popular rainbow line of Dooneys only go for around $60 to $200 on average.
Meanwhile, the classic and contemporary styles that are currently available on Dooney and Bourke’s website go for retail price when resold online.
So, overall, Dooney and Bourke just make good leather goods. These items are not good for investing or retaining their value.
What Dooney and Bourke’s Made Of
When discussing is Dooney and Bourke a luxury brand, we can’t leave out D & B’s careful eye for superior leather craftsmanship.
After all, Dooney and Bourke gained their popularity for their unique dedication to quality. While almost all of their priciest picks are listed as “Made In Italy,” lower-priced Dooney and Bourke leather goods are made elsewhere.
The majority of vintage Dooney and Bourke bags were made in the USA, but most modern Dooney and Bourke items are made in China, Italy, Costa Rica, or Mexico.
Despite the many countries that D & B bags can come from, the brand assures all of its customers that the country of origin doesn’t interfere with their quality standards.
But are they lying? Many long-term customers of Dooney and Bourke have noticed a difference in the bags’ quality within the past two years.
Additionally, Dooney and Bourke bags made in the USA and Italy generally have a much higher resale value than those that were made in China, Mexico, or Puerto Rico.
All that to say, sometimes, it’s worth it to buy a Dooney and Bourke that’s certainly made in the US or Italy.
But Is It Iconic?
Dooney and Bourke is more of a “play it safe” type of brand. They reimagine classic handbags but don’t go outside of their comfort zone too often.
Still, as is the case in most departments, Dooney and Bourke was much cooler and more creative in the 2000s.
During this time, Dooney and Bourke bags featured bright colors, rainbow patterns, and unique hardware that couldn’t be found anywhere else.
These bags generally have the highest resale value, as they showcase the “Golden Era” of D & B. But these days, Dooney and Bourke focuses on simple, streamlined designs that don’t stand out too much.
Among their best sellers are their Zip Zip Satchel and their Pebble Grain Domed Satchel, both of which only come in muted colors such as salmon, mustard, tan, brown, burgundy, gray, and plum, to name a few.
Simply put, Dooney and Bourke is not a trailblazing, bold brand anymore. Instead, it provides everyday women with everyday handbags that come at a reasonable price.
Even with that said, Dooney and Bourke has partnered with Disney to create elevated bags with Disney-related prints.
This collection of bags, only available through Disney, may be a sign that Dooney and Bourke is ready to take the fashion world by storm in the future. Only time can tell.
Working In the Environment: Dooney and Bourke’s Ethics
Is Dooney and Bourke a luxury brand when it comes to ethics, then? Well, unfortunately, it seems unlikely. Dooney and Bourke just haven’t released any information on their stance on ethical hiring practices, fair wages, or even environmental responsibility.
Thus, they’ve left us in the dark to wonder what kind of things are going on behind the scenes there. While we can’t make any big guesses about what’s happening at Dooney and Bourke in terms of ethical practices, we can assume that they have something to hide.
Otherwise, they’d advertise their stances, wouldn’t they?
Dooney & Bourke’s Ambiance
Then, is Dooney and Bourke a luxury brand regarding their in-store ambiance? And how does Dooney and Bourke make their customers feel special?
Well, hate to break it to you, but D & B doesn’t have much going for it in the ambiance department. While Dooney and Bourke have independent stores, most of their goods are sold through department stores such as Macy’s and Dillard’s.
So, when it comes to atmosphere, there isn’t much for Dooney and Bourke. Still, Dooney and Bourke products are protected under warranty.
All Dooney and Bourke products come with the Dooney Guarantee, a warranty that covers manufacturing defects in Dooney products for the first year after purchase.
We’d like to see a longer warranty on their bags, but we’ve seen how long they can last, and it’s usually a long time!
Dooney and Bourke is a fashion brand that, despite its high-quality leather goods, doesn’t quite qualify as a luxury brand.
Instead, Dooney and Bourke is a premium brand.
Is Dooney and Bourke a Luxury Brand FAQs
Does Dooney and Bourke use real leather?
Dooney and Bourke uses real, premium leather for an overwhelming majority of their products. Their higher-end products are generally made from Italian leather, while their low-end products are made of leather from an unspecified origin.
What age group is Dooney and Bourke for?
Dooney and Bourke is for young women and older women alike. Their women’s handbags are timeless classics made to last every woman a lifetime.
Is Dooney and Bourke more expensive than Kate Spade?
Dooney and Bourke is about as expensive as Kate Spade. Dooney and Bourke’s items sell for a similar price range as other brands, such as Michael Kors, Coach, and Kate Spade.
Is Dooney and Bourke a Luxury Brand
Dooney & Bourke can be best classified as a mid-tier luxury brand, sitting comfortably alongside respected brands like Tory Burch and Coach.