Your vision board has a Birkin on it. Your Pinterest has a dedicated folder of outfits featuring your dream bag. You’ve even got a savings account just for your Hermès bag. If this sounds like you, then you’ve got Hermès fever.
To quote that infamous scene in SATC, “It’s not a bag, it’s a Birkin.” An Hermès bag isn’t just an accessory – it’s a status symbol. You can’t just walk into an Hermès store and pick up a Kelly or a Birkin bag.
The brand is famous for its supposed waiting lists, with customers spending thousands of dollars on other Hermès items, hoping to one day be offered their ‘unicorn’ bag.
Considered a status symbol, it’s not that easy to get your hands on an Hermès Kelly or Birkin bag (Credit: Hermès)
Getting your hands on an Hermès bag might feel like winning the lottery. Landing your dream Hermès bag will be a journey, one you’ll probably document on Instagram.
Before you set off with your savings account, we share seven things to know before buying your first Hermès bag.
1. Opting for Pre-Owned: A Smarter Path to Hermès Ownership
The truth is that most people aren’t buying their Hermès bags from the store. If you want to get your hands on an Hermès bag without the smoke and mirrors or a waiting list, the pre-loved market is the best choice for you.
Hermès 1998 pre-owned Kelly 32 2way bag, $13,594
While you’ll pay a higher price tag on the bag itself, you’ll likely save money in the long run by not making purchases for the sake of buying a client history with an Hermès sales associate.
Hermès 2003 pre-owned Birkin 30 bag, $20,064
2. The Exclusivity of Hermès: Beyond Reach of the General Public
Except for exceptional circumstances, you won’t be able to buy a Kelly or Birkin without having a client history with the brand.
You’ll build a client history by purchasing multiple items on a consistent basis from Hermès – unusually sticking to one specific store and working closely with a sales associate.
Kendall Jenner, Kim Kardashian, Kylie Jenner, and Khloe Kardashian are fans of Hermès bags (Credit: Michael Wright / WENN)
If you have your heart set on buying a Kelly or Birkin direct from Hermès, you must be prepared to play the Hermès game.
3. Starting Your Hermès Collection: Expectations vs. Reality
While most of us dream of having a closet full of Birkin and Kelly bags like Kris Jenner’s, your first Hermès bag isn’t likely to be either of these styles.
If you’re buying a client history with the brand, you may end up having to buy another style first before being offered your dream bag.
Kris Jenner owns a huge collection of luxurious Hermès bags (Credit: revolutionpix / Will Alexander / WENN)
Hermès bags are always an investment – and some of the most expensive on the market. You should only invest in an Hermès bag if it’s one you’re happy to own and not just buy it as a ticket to getting another bag.
4. Personalizing Your Hermès Experience: The Importance of an SA Relationship
Building a relationship with an Hermès sales associate – known as an SA- can make your handbag shopping considerably easier. An SA can help you track down your dream bag and even go in search of your most coveted items.
If you’re looking for an easier-to-find Hermes bag, you may find that booking an appointment with an SA is your best option.
An Hermès sales associate can help you track down your dream Hermès bag (Credit: WENN)
If you don’t have an SA already at Hermès, you can usually call or email the boutique directly to make an appointment. You’ll want to flag any specific items that you’re interested in seeing.
Depending on stock availability, the SA may be able to set this item aside for you to see during your appointment.
5. In-Depth Hermès Knowledge: Essential for Making an Informed Purchase
The Hermès catalog is extensive. You can’t just go into the store and show your SA a photo of an influencer carrying your desired bag. It would help if you were specific about what you’re looking for.
Before you buy your first Hermès bag, take the time to educate yourself about the basics of their manufacturing and bag options.
Familiarize yourself with the different materials, sizes, and colors of Hermes bags before making your purchase
You’ll want to become familiar with the different types of leather, including which ones are within your budget. Color and hardware options are the other major factors that you’ll need to consider when writing your Hermès wish list.
Some options are easier to find than others, and you want to consider this when choosing which bags to hunt down during your Hermès journey.
6. Unlocking Savings: The Secret of Airport Hermès Shopping
If you’re a frequent flyer, you’ll quickly find that the duty-free Hermès stores are your best friend. If you’re flexible about your bag choices, you can save around 10% off the price of your Hermès bag if you buy it at the airport.
Save around 10% off your Hermès bag if you buy at duty-free Hermes stores (Credit: Hermes)
This option isn’t available to everyone as only major airports, such as Heathrow Terminal 5, will have an Hermès store.
If you’re not shopping for a bag, airport travel can also be a great opportunity to build up your client profile with SLG and smaller purchases.
7. The Hermès Journey: Patience and Strategy for the Ultimate Reward
If the pre-loved market isn’t for you and you have your heart set on a Birkin or a Kelly, you’ve got to be prepared to play the long game.
While this is true, you don’t want to be throwing thousands of dollars into unwanted purchases to land a chance at your dream bag. Be smart about dealing with your sales associates and ask for a specific bag for them to keep an eye out for.
Walking into an Hermès store like this historic boutique at 42 Avenue George V in Paris and purchasing a bag, particularly high-demand models like the Birkin or Kelly, is not typically straightforward (Credit: Andrei Antipov / Shutterstock)
You want to make purchases that show that you’re interested in Hermes for more than just a Birkin or a Kelly. Show your SA that you have a passion for Hermes and won’t disappear the second a Birkin arrives on your doorstep.
With these seven tips, you’ll know what to expect when you embark on your Hermès journey. There is a reason why those little orange boxes are cultivated by women all over the world.
Hermès stands for unparalleled luxury and represents the best in the fashion industry. If anything is worth waiting for, it’s an Hermès bag.