Synonymous with luxury, Hermès Birkin bags cost up to $500,000 for a single bag.
Despite the exorbitant price tag, most Hermès bag owners don’t show any remorse for the extravagant purchase and seem rather understanding of the high price tag.
We will cover exactly why Hermès bags cost so much.
Thierry Hermès created Hermès Paris in 1837 as a high-end harness company for the carriages of noblemen, establishing itself as a luxury brand right from the company’s inception.
One would think he named the company after the Greek god of travel and commerce, Hermes, as that would be a perfect correlation, but the founder named his company after himself.
In 1900, Hermès created its first saddlebag.
The company continued to work for high-end clients, such as royals.
It also made the wise decision to make its mark in the American marketplace and other fashion-forward cities around the world, such as Tokyo.
It would then go on to create the ultra-high-end Kelly bag and Birkin bag.
History Of Kelly Bags
Alfred Hitchcock agreed to buy a Hermès bag as part of the wardrobe for his movie To Catch a Thief starring Grace Kelly.
Kelly insisted on acquiring the bag, and it became a phenomenon after she used it to shield her pregnant belly from the paparazzi.
After the iconic picture was published in Life magazine, people fell in love with the bag just as much as Kelly did.
Kelly bags have a slight trapezoid shape and only one strap.
History Of Birkin Bags
Sometimes million-dollar ideas happen when you least expect them.
English actress Jane Birkin was seated on a flight next to Jean-Louis Dumas, the CEO of Hermès from 1978 to 2006.
While a seemingly normal day at first, Birkin spilled her wicker basket while trying to put it into the overhead compartment.
As Birkin lamented over her need for a bag with Jean-Louis Dumas, she didn’t know she was striking up a conversation that would change her life.
Dumas explained to the unknowing Birkin who he was, and the two spent the rest of the flight sketching handbag designs.
The two exchanged information, and a year later, Dumas presented Birkin with a design with great pockets that would keep her items from falling out when she put them in the overhead compartment.
Unlike the Kelly, the Birkin has two straps.
Despite not being overly popular at first, the brand caught on in the ’90s.
2. Great Investment
Many people assume that a luxury purchase such as a Birkin Hermès bag must be a huge waste of money.
However, that doesn’t seem to be the case.
In fact, a 2017 study revealed that Birkin Hermès bags have increased 500% in value over the last 35 years with an average increase of 14% per year.
With the numbers on the rise, Hermès can take advantage of the people interested in an “investment”.
Cars don’t usually increase in value at all, let alone at such dramatic rates.
Of course, the actual resale value of a Hermès bag depends on several variables, including the color, material, size, hardware, and condition of the bag in question.
It also depends on how the brand name maintains over the years.
How To Care For A Hermès Bag
For a Birkin to retain its value, it must be in perfect condition.
Care is based on the material of the bag.
- Leather: You can clean your leather Birkin Hermès with a water-based cleanser, but you need to be sure to let the purse dry out properly. This is the easiest type of bag to clean.
- Suede: Clean suede with a special suede brush and keep it safe from external factors, such as weather, which can cause damage or fade the color of the material. You should avoid cleaners made from water, oil, and alcohol.
- Exotic skins: The most difficult to care for, you should keep exotic skins from cleaners made from water, oil, and alcohol. You also need to be careful about the skin drying out. These bags benefit the best from regular professional maintenance.
While using the bag, you should be especially careful of sharp items, such as nail files, which can damage the inside of the bag.
When not in use, you should store the bag properly, providing plenty of room for the handle to maintain its shape.
If you use your Birkin bag regularly, consider getting Hermès’s proprietary “spa treatment” for the bag every couple of years.
When you see a Birkin Hermès bag, you will immediately notice how unique the design is compared to other bags on the market.
Even seemingly simple designs demonstrate an artisanal level of detail in the stitching that demonstrates just how much effort goes into the creation of every bag.
Each bag is handmade by an artist (and only one artist).
Many of the artists train for more than 10 years before earning the right to make a single bag.
It generally takes 17 hours to make a Birkin bag.
Identifying A Hermès
Hermès does have a logo that features a carriage and horse, referencing the company’s equestrian beginnings.
However, you won’t see the logo on the outside of a bag.
Instead of slapping a logo on every bag, Hermès stands out by doing the opposite.
You will not see a logo on a Birkin.
The artistry speaks for itself, and anyone who knows anything about handbags will recognize it without a logo.
However, the dust bag inside the bag may have a logo.
Another way people can recognize a Hermès bag is the bright orange box.
The iconic orange box didn’t become a part of the brand until WWII when the original packaging materials became scarce.
Not one to do anything in a traditional manner, the packaging folded in such a unique way that the company received a packaging Oscar in 1994.
From the beginning, Birkin bags were designed to hold your items properly.
Part of the artistry of the design is incorporating functionality into the aesthetics.
Not only will the bag look great, but your items also won’t spill out of it.
To ensure a tight seal, each Birkin bag comes with a lock and key.
All Birkins also come with “clou”, or metal feet, that allow the bag to stand upright when you aren’t holding it.
4. High-End Materials
No one will spend five or six figures on a bag and tolerate low-end materials.
You will only find Hermès bags made from the most high-end materials in France that vary in terms of finish and smoothness, including:
- Clemence leather: matted, grainy leather made from baby bull.
- Epsom leather: light and easy-to-clean leather made from baby bull.
- Lizard: small scales create either a matte or lisse appearance; difficult to care for as it may dry out quickly.
- Fjord: heavy and water-resistant leather made from adult animals.
- Swift: soft leather with fine grains that compliments bold colors.
- Togo: scratch-resistant leather from a baby calf that feels smooth despite a slightly raised pebble finish.
- Ostrich: distinctive yet fragile and susceptible to sun damage.
- Crocodile: large, wide scales come from the crocodiles in Africa’s Nile River and provide a smooth finish. You can find a shiny finish that is buffed until it turns glossy.
- Berenia natural: durable and strong, this leather originally designed for saddlebags resists scratches, water, and oil.
- Buffalo Skipper: extra soft rare leather made from buffalo.
- Box Calf: an extremely smooth leather with a glossy finish that shows scratches easier than other materials.
- Chevre Mysore: lightweight and smooth leather made from goat.
- Chevre de Coromandel: goat leather with a bumpy finish.
Hermès Vegan Bag
Not everyone appreciates the appeal of real leather.
To accommodate its vegan consumers, Hermès recently released a vegan bag made from mushroom-based materials designed to look and feel like real leather.
Hermès teamed with California-based company MycoWorks for the collaboration.
Understanding that vegan options may be a part of the retail fashion industry moving forward, Pierre-Alexis Dumas, the company’s artistic director, proudly stated, “Hermès is at the heart of what it has always been: innovation in the making.”
Hardware And Jewels
Hermès only uses the best hardware and decorates bags with high-end precious stones and metals.
In fact, you won’t find anything less than gold or palladium coating on all hardware.
Many of the bags also have diamonds incorporated into the design.
The Sac Bijou Birkin contains 2,712 diamonds and costs $2 million.
To add to the bag’s appeal, there are only three of this model in the entire world.
5. Celebrity Appeal
Celebrities become celebrities by establishing trends.
Hermès may be one instance in which celebrities follow the trend.
Numerous A-list names are proud of their Hermès bag collections, including former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham.
Beckham has more than 100 Hermès bags worth over $2 million.
Now that’s a way to spice up your wardrobe!
Other celebrities with envious Hermès bag collections include:
- Kylie Kardashian
- Kate Moss
- Jennifer Lopez
- Cardi B
- Lady Gaga
- Katy Perry
- Gigi Hadid
Essentially, if you reach a certain level of stardom as a woman, a Birkin is a status symbol that you have made it.
However, one just isn’t enough.
As regular people see celebrities with these bags, we want them, which brings up the value even more, thanks to the increased exposure and subsequent demand.
Rich women buy a Hermès and feel as beautiful as any other celebrities out there.
Almost every woman on Bravo owns a Hermès (or borrowed one for the show).
However, what happens when someone doesn’t have enough money for a real Birkin bag?
Hermès doesn’t make special designs for just anybody.
However, Kanye West got a custom bag for Kim Kardashian modeled after a nude painting.
Cardi B also got a hot pink bag modeled after a bandana design.
Despite somewhat controversial concepts, both bags turned out gorgeous.
Some celebs don’t get a custom design from Hermès but create a unique design themselves.
Lady Gaga posted a Japanese message on her bag, and Kelly Osborne added patches to her bag.
Hermès clarified that they had nothing to do with the altered designs and didn’t support them.
Lastly, some celebs altered their bags with the help of a Hermès artist.
Rita Ora, for example, added colorful pain drippings for a cool graffiti effect.
6. Limited Fakes
You won’t find many fake Hermès bags on the market, because Hermès takes preliminary actions to reduce the likelihood of believable fakes on the market.
For starters, Hermès doesn’t sit back if it does notice companies selling fake bags.
In 2012, it won $100 million in damages against websites selling counterfeit bags and passing them off as authentic.
There are a couple of ways to spot a fake Birkin bag, including:
- Long handles
- Protruding hardware
- Screw-off feet
- Imperfect stitching
If you do question the authenticity of a Hermès, go to a certified store before you make your purchase.
An employee should be able to identify whether the bag is real or not.
Do not accept an authenticity card as Hermès has never provided those with its products.
The idea of exclusivity has been part of the Hermès business model since it opened, and it has ultimately perfected it.
Birkin Hermès does not tell the world exactly how many bags it makes each year.
The best estimate regarding the number of bags in circulation seems to be around 200,000 units.
The limited number of bags in circulation means that people can’t simply buy a Hermès like they would buy a Coach purse.
If you even get the opportunity to buy a Hermès bag, you probably won’t get the opportunity to pick the color and size since you will only have a limited number of options to choose from.
The two most sought-after types of Hermès bags are the Birkin and the Kelly lines.
For people who still want the luxury of a Hermès bag without the pain of finding one can still buy a bag from one of the handbag lines sold on its website:
- Hermès 2002
8. More than Bags
Hermès Paris offers a lot more than bags.
In fact, it offers a large range of luxury products that hold up in style just as well as the handbags.
The service has about just as many departments as a regular department store, showcasing just how much work Hermès puts into its products.
- Ready to Wear
- Scarves and Shawls
- Hats and Gloves
- Ready to Wear
- Ties and Scarves
Home, Outdoor, And Equestrian
- Blankets and Pillows
- Decorative Objects
- Furniture and Lighting
- Office and Writing
- Bath and Beach
- Games and Outdoor
Jewelry And Watches
- Apple Watches
Fragrances And Makeup
9. Luxurious Stores
At this time, there are 315 Hermès stores around the world with the main store located in Paris.
Shopping at a Hermès store is an experience a step above other shopping excursions, and it all starts with the magnificent window displays that put Macy’s to shame thanks to the designs of award-winning artists.
The windows don’t mimic each other, either.
Each window has a unique concept.
When you walk into the store, each item is on display in a way that showcases its beauty perfectly.
It’s a shame to keep the art pieces tucked away from public view, so owners are encouraged to create their own displays at home for the pieces of the collection that aren’t currently in use.
The store in Paris also has a cafe and bookstore if you want to relax at the store and show off your new purchase to the other shoppers.
10. Forward-Thinking Practices
Hermès puts a lot of effort into ensuring that it doesn’t become outdated like some luxury brands.
It aims to stay current and relevant using a variety of different programs and partnerships.
When the world started going digital, Hermès embraced the change and created one of the first eCommerce sites in 2001.
It continues to maintain a great website and eCommerce site so that people can buy the products and learn about new products from the comfort of their own homes.
In another successful attempt to embrace technology and change, Hermès partnered with Apple to make Apple Watches that contain all of the features of an Apple Watch but with the added style and luxury of the Hermès brand.
The Hermès Apple Watches have a black case and come with almost unlimited color options for the band.
Hermès also makes Apple AirTag keyrings that include a sensor that can be located using Apple’s “Find My” app.
These keyrings fit perfectly onto luggage or your current keyring.
The Hermès Foundation
As a leader in style, Hermès aims to find the newest names in fashion and art all around the world.
The Hermès Foundation showcases some of the outstanding talent it finds at its numerous galleries around the world to promote them and create buzz.
Many of these artists work on displays or products for the Hermès as a reward for their talent.
They also attempt to maintain tradition.
For example, the foundation pledged three years of support to a Paris museum dedicated to Aubusson tapestry.
Hermès Paris is a popular luxury brand known for its leather bags.
It created the most expensive bag in the world thanks to its ultra-exclusive Birkin line and Kelly line named after actresses who absolutely loved the designs.
The bags soon became the envy of women all over the world.
In fact, so many people want Hermès products that they tend to increase with value.
If you ever do consider treating yourself so lavishly, you can tell yourself that it will retain its value once you’re done using it.