When Sophie was short of cash to buy her dream studio apartment in London, she decided to pawn her £8,000 ($10,000) Hermes Birkin handbag that her fiancé got her for their two-year anniversary.
"It was the most practical thing to do. I would have unnecessarily paid more interest if I had gone for a higher mortgage, so I decided to increase my equity stake by getting a loan against my Hermes handbag," 25-year old Sophie Richards told CNBC on the phone.
The world of luxury handbags is a glamorous one and using these expensive handbags as collateral to secure a loan is a growing industry in itself. While globally, the premium handbag and accessories market was valued at $48 billion in 2016, North America was worth $11.6 billion and Europe came in at $6.4 billion, according to industry research firm Koncept Analytics.