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GUIDE: ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW TO BUY A HERMÈS BAG

Updated: Jun 19, 2022

Many of you ask me how to end up on the waiting list at Hermès and what it takes to buy one of their iconic bags. In this post, I will therefore answer some of the most common questions about Hermès, tell you a little about the brand's history and share my best tips for ending up on their waiting list (and no, you do NOT need to have a long buying history).



Why is Hermès så sought after?

The first question you may ask yourself is why Hermès as a brand is so sought after and the reason is its long history, quality and exclusivity. Hermès was founded by Thierry Hermès in 1837 in Paris, France and initially manufactured accessories for horses and riders, ie mainly saddles and later also bags suitable for equestrian sports. The company has since continued to be run within the family, which contributes to the genuine and ancient image of Hermès as a brand and fashion house. Below you will find Hermès's family trees, note that it only includes those family members who have held positions within the brand.


HERMÈS FAMILY TREE


Where can I buy a Hermès Bag?

Today, the fashion house has 306 own stores around the world. Only in these stores can you buy a new and authentic Hermès bag. Do not trust companies that claim to be resellers of new Hermés bags as the fashion house does not work with resellers. To buy one of the most coveted bags - Birkin, Kelly or Constance, you must first be offered to write a wishlist where you describe which model, material, color and size you would like. You do this together with your SA in the store and if you are lucky you will be contacted when the bag is in the store.


Is it an investment to buy a bag from Hermès?

Both yes and no I would say. The second-hand market for the Birkin, Kelly and Constance models is large and the price test for a used bag in one of these models is usually higher than the new price because the sellers in the second-hand market know that the process of buying a new one is long and cumbersome. However, this depends on the condition of the bag. A bag in good condition that has been used a few times or that has been well taken care of can therefore be considered an investment.



Do I need a purchase history at Hermès to be offered a bag?

There are also divided opinions here and I suspect that it depends a bit on which store you visit and in which country you are. For example, I've heard that it's easier to be offered a bag in Las Vegas than in London. Personally, I did not need a long buying history but came a long way in being polite, showing genuine interest in the brand and finally being humble before the long buying process. I was inside the store several times and thus built a relationship with my SA. After a while I was offered to write a wish list.


What are the three most popular Hermès bag models?

THE KELLY BAG

The first version of Kelly was designed as early as 1892 and was then intended to carry riding saddles. However, this version was much larger than it is today and was not designed to be a fashionable handbag. In 1932, the first handbag in this category was introduced and was initially called the Sac à Dépêches. When actress Grace Kelly fell in love with the bag during the filming of the movie "To Catch a Theif" in 1956, she asked to keep it after the filming was over. She carried it everywhere and in 1976 Hermès therefore chose to rename the bag after her.


THE BIRKIN BAG

Birkin is younger than Kelly but the story behind the bag's design is at least as iconic. the year was 1984 and then chief designer Jean-Louis Dumas boarded a flight in Paris with destination London. He was placed next to actress and model Jane Birkin. According to rumors, she dropped her bag and everything went out on the floor, when Dumas introduced himself to Birkin and talked about what he was working on, he suggested that they design a bag together suitable for travel. Together, they began sketching the bag that would later be called The Birkin Bag. The first sketch was made on a vomit bag from the glove compartment.


THE CONSTANCE BAG

The story behind Constance is my personal favorite as it symbolizes the love between mother and daughter. In 1967, Jean-Louis Dumas asked a female designer named Catherine Chaillet to draw a bag for the brand. The result was a modern bag suitable for the urban woman. Chaillet was currently pregnant and chose to name the bag after her daughter Constance. The name is French and means that something is consistent and eternal, like the love a mother has for her daughter. The bag, like Birkin and Kelly, is also meant to live on for generations and Constance in particular must always be inherited from mother to daughter. Beautiful <3


What to include in your Hermès wish list?

Your wish list may be specific as the bags are made by hand on request, but it can include more than one bag at a time. Here is a list of things you should have thought of before you sit down with your SA to formulate your wish list. Remember that it is only a wish and not a guarantee that you are offered a bag.

  1. Model: First decide which model you want- Birkin, Kelly or Constance. (The other models are easier to get hold of).

  2. Execution: Then you decide whether you want the bag Sellier or Retourne, ie should the bag's seams be visible or should it be folded in-and-out. The most common is to choose Kelly Sellier or Birkin Retourne as Sellier gives a more structured impression while Retourne gives a more relaxed and softer impression.

  3. Color: Then specify which color / colors you want your bag to have. I of course recommend a neutral and timeless color that can be worn with a lot, preferably black, brown or beige. HERE you will find a list of almost all the colors that the Hermès bags come in.

  4. Size: The most common sizes for Kelly are 25, 28, 32 and 35. The most common sizes for Birkin are 25, 30, 35 and 40. Constance comes in 14, 18, 24 and Elan (a slightly longer but lower model).

  5. Metal: Choose between red gold or palladium (silver color).

  6. Material: These bags are not for vegans as they are mostly made of leather. However, there is a big difference between different types of leather. Here are some of the most common materials and their properties. Note that not all materials are made in all colors.

Barenia

Originally used to make saddles. Today it is popular when it comes to Birkin. The material is water resistant and does not scratch as easily as other calfskins.

Box Calf

A smooth and glossy calfskin that has been scratched. Common on vintage bags but still produced in neutral colors. Does not tolerate water.

Clemence

One of the most popular material choices as the heavy and soft structure gives strict bags a more relaxed impression. The material is grainy but smooth and does not scratch very easily.

Togo

The most popular choice for Birkin bags. It is grainy and soft but retains its structure better than Clemence.

Epsom

A harder and more durable choice that has been treated to withstand rain and scratches. Common on Kelly and Constance. Has a vague diamond pattern.

Ostrich

The dots are characteristic of this skin that comes from ostriches.

Exotic

This includes many different types of skins that I will not go into now, including matte alligator, glossy alligator, and different varieties of crocodile.

My last advice:

Finally, I would like to share my absolute best tip and that is to educate you about the brand's history - learn about the origin of the bags, the different head designs, materials and their properties. Show that you know what you are talking about and express your interest in the brand without appearing as if you are trying to spy on a bag. Most important of all, though, is to be genuinely nice to everyone you meet in the store, I promise you will go a long way in being polite and humble. Do not expect a bag but enjoy the process, the conversations with the store staff and everything new you get to learn.


Kisses and good luck! <3

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