A family owned label for five generations
Thierry Hermès, established a harness workshop in Paris that served the wealthy noblemen of Europe in 1837 ; Hermès made high quality, wrought iron harness and bridles for the carriage business, his success was awarded with the first prize at the Expositions Universelles in Paris in 1855 and 1867.
Later, his son Charles-Emile Hermès established the brand’s flagship store in Paris in 1880 at 24 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, where it still remains today. With the help of his 2 sons, Adolphe and Emile-Maurice, Charles began selling saddlery. Then on, they developped the business to serve the elite clients from all over Europe, Russia, Asia and Americas.
In the 20’s, they created the first leather hadbags for women and opened their first shop in New York. Then in the 1950’s, the company began to use the famous logo featuring a Duc carriage with a horse) and their iconic orange boxes. The dictinctive orange packaging which is still used nowadays.
- In 1937, the first Hermès silk scarf is born. Hermès took control of every aspect of the production of the scarf.
- In 1956, the house created the Kelly after Grace Kenny carries a cocodile handbag to hide her pregnancy.
- In 1984, Jane Birkin, the actress inspired for a new handbag model.
- In 2008 Hermès covered a wide range of products : menswear, perfume, women’s fashion, footwear and jewelry.
- Recently this year 2020, it launched its first make up line.
Quality first & craftmanship
What makes the Hermès handbags so special ? Definitively, they embodies a symbol of elite status ; it’s all in the level of quality and craftsmanship. All Hermes handbags are handmade by a single artisan from start to finish, with some bags taking up to 2 days to complete- only about 5 units are manufactured each week. It takes 2 years of training for a newly hired artisan to learn how to work leather the Hermès way.
The brand believes this strategy helps in preserving the bag’s value and inimitableness. This is undoubtedly a time consuming process, which explains why some customers are willing to wait six moths to a year to buy one of these signature bags.
Besides to the professional handmade work, Hermès handbags are designed using top-of-the-line leathers like ostrich, alligator, etc. Each is equipped with hardware fixed to the bag, keeping it firmly in place forever. Once a bag is completed, each detail is thoroughly inspected to ensure it meets Hermès standards. Hermès is not into large scale manufacturing, creating nearly all of their products in small French workshops spread in small French villages.
Hermes has always sustained a very high market positioning pursuing a “product-centric” strategy, and uncompromised quality of its products. It has no formal marketing department, its marketing spending is lower than the industry ‘s standards.
How to get a Hermes bag ?
One should expect to wait for years to get a Hermes bag. However, there are some tricks to consider. Does the waiting list really exist ? There are some myth around it . Because this is the polite anwer to tell you « Hey, we don’t have a Birkin/Kelly » for you. However, there are some stores that make your shopping experience easier depending on certain conditions.
There is actually a system based on your shopping history which qualifies you to own a Kelly/Birkin bag. Apparently there is a threshold on how much you need to spend before they consider you qualified. Some stores are even sticter as they prefer to see a build up of spending rather than everything on the spot.
However, if you have enough budget for an exotic leather bag, your sales agent will definitively be able to help you get one. Be aware also, that popular bags like the Herbag are often not on display due to high demand ; but you would need to ask.
You may get better chance to buy your dream handbag at the historic Parisian flagship, Dallas and stores with less demand or more supply.
Finally, if you tried every possible ways to get a Hermes bag, maybe consider your choices, ask a good friend of yours who are already a loyal customer to get one for you or buy on the resell market.