Birkin bags

This is how to get your hands on the highly exclusive Birkin | Source: Christie's

How to Get Your Hands On A Hermès Birkin

The Hermès Birkin is so much more than a bag. A symbol of wealth, affluence and exclusivity, the high-fashion handbag has remained an icon since its inception in 1984.

Amid ever-changing fashion trends, new brands releasing innovative products and a pandemic that halted the world, the demand for the ultra-luxurious and ultra-expensive Birkin never wavered. In fact, it remained strong and solidified itself as a symbol of wealth and affluence across the globe.

According to data from Business Insider, the value of the Birkin skyrocketed by 500 per cent in the last 14 years, with price tags now starting at around A$10,000. Hermès even pledged to open more factories to cope with demand.

For those looking to invest, because the Birkin is an investment, a 2016 study by Bag Hunter found that purchasing a Birkin bag is a safer investment than buying gold, with an impressive average annual return rate of 14.2 per cent.

Victoria Beckham with her Hermès Birkin bag
Victoria Beckham with her Hermès Birkin bag | Source: Purse Blog

The bag’s beginnings take us back to 1984 when British actress Jane Birkin sat next to Hermès Chairman Jean-Louis Dumas on a plane and complained she had no suitable bag that met the needs of young mothers. The instantly iconic Hermès Birkin was created on that very flight and Dumas was sure to include a pocket fitted for baby bottles.

From the beginning, the Birkin has continuously smashed auction records and stunned with its soaring prices, which show no sign of slowing down anytime soon. In 2020, a new record for the most expensive bag to be sold of any brand was set by the matte white Himalayan Crocodile Birkin 25, which was sold for US$388,738 or approximately A$570,770 at a Christie’s auction.

Rare, Matte White Himalaya Crocodile Birkin 25
Rare Matte White Himalaya Crocodile Birkin 25 which sold for US$388,738 | Source: Christie’s

In another limited edition auction at Christie’s, a crocodile skin bag from Hermès called “So Black” was sold for US$209,553 or roughly A$307,420.

A limited-edition "So Black" bag that smashed records at a Christie's auction
A limited-edition “So Black” bag that smashed records at a Christie’s auction | Source: Business Insider

With exorbitant price tags and a low supply, it begs the question: how is anyone ever able to find their own Hermès Birkin? Below, we’ve put together the best tips, tricks and places to know if you’re beginning the process of finding and buying your very own Birkin.

So, how do we get our hands on one?

The iconic bag is shrouded in exclusivity and for many of us, sighting a Birkin will often be when it appears on the arm of an A-list celebrity in paparazzi shots. While some were happy to settle for an NFT iteration dubbed a ‘MetaBirkin’, Hermès was quick to challenge the digitisation of its iconic accessory in court, with the trademark lawsuit still ongoing.

To be one of the select few that own a real Birkin, it’s not as simple as just handing over your cash. The bags are highly coveted and low in supply because of their complex production process. They are made from only the highest standard of materials including cow, lizard, crocodile and ostrich skin. The tedious production process includes intricate stitching, coating, hammering seams and pearling, all completed by highly trained artisans. This takes up to 48 hours for each bag, with Hermès unwilling to compromise on any part of production to speed up the process.

The final inspection of the bags takes place in the Hermès department headquarters in Bobigny, France, before the bag is then sent to its store or owner.

Jennifer Lopez with her Hermès Birkin bag | Source: Who What Wear

Buying in-store

To buy a Birkin bag straight from the source requires a lot of luck, time and money. In the past, there was a waiting list that reached up to six years for the bag, but this was dropped because of unrealistic waiting times and the end product often not being the specific bag ordered by the customer.

Waltzing into any Hermès store does not guarantee a purchase either. But we’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks on how to get luck on your side and find your Birkin.

Befriend a Hermès sales associate

An in-store sales associate, known as an SA, will be your best friend when purchasing a bag. Personal relationships help, so if you have a connection to a Hermès SA, be it a cousin’s friend’s neighbour who works in-store, use this to your advantage.

Know your Hermès history

Build a relationship with your sales associate by dropping your knowledge of the Hermès brand. It helps to have knowledge of the French fashion house, especially if it was gained through a long history of shopping at the high-end luxury brand. Most Birkin owners have an established reputation with Hermès and have bought a myriad of products over a long period of time.

Dress to impress

They say, ‘dress for the job you want, not the job you have’ but what about the bag you want? A carefully curated outfit featuring pieces from luxury fashion houses is the perfect way to show your in-store sales associate you’re serious about the purchase.

Resale sites

If you want to shortcut your journey to a Birkin bag, a resale site or established independent retailer might be your best bet. The luxury resale market is a thriving industry, valued by Statista at roughly USD$33 billion or approximately A$48.45 billion in 2021. Established resale sites vet the authenticity of their products before sale to ensure you’re buying high-quality second-hand goods.

Rebag

Founded in 2014, New York-based Rebag is an online platform solely dedicated to buying and selling luxury handbags. The store was founded by CEO Charles Albert Gorra and Erwan Delacroix. Their current range of products includes up to 50 luxury names including Louis Vuitton, Gucci and, of course, Hermès. Rebag currently owns and operates nine brick-and-mortar stores, all within the U.S.

The Shadow Birkin Bag Gold Swift 35
The Shadow Birkin Bag Gold Swift 35 as listed on Rebag for A$61,261 | Source: Rebag
The Hermes Birkin Handbag Orange H Togo with Palladium Hardware
The Hermes Birkin Handbag Orange H Togo with Palladium Hardware as listed on Rebag for A$21,969 | Source: Rebag

FarFetch

British and Portuguese online retail platform FarFetch is home to products from over 500 different fashion boutiques. Their recently launched Second Life platform allows for the buying and selling of designer handbags. To sell your own designer handbag, simply upload a clear photo, arrange for a collection and earn your own FarFetch credit for your account.

Hermes 1994 Pre-owned Birkin 40
The Hermes 1994 Pre-owned Birkin 40 bag as listed on FarFetch for A$20,776 | Source: Far Fetch
This Hermès Pre-Owned Birkin 35 bag
This Hermès Pre-Owned Birkin 35 bag is listed on FarFetch for A$37,884 | Source: FarFetch

Vestiare Collective

French-owned Vestiare Collective was established in 2009 and today is a reputable resale platform. In 2021, the company raised USD$216 million (A$290 million) in a funding round for the site. Vestiare amasses all the big names in the luxury fashion business, including Louis Vuitton, Michael Kors and Marc Jacobs.

Hermès Birkin 30 Leather Handbag
Hermès Birkin 30 Leather Handbag as listed on Vestiare for A$45,000 | Source: Vestiare Collective
Hermès Birkin 30 Leather Handbag
Hermès Birkin 30 Leather Handbag as listed on Vestiare for A$39,000 | Source: Vestiare Collective

The RealReal

Founded back in 2011 by e-commerce tycoon Julie Wainright, The RealReal is an established marketplace for authenticated luxury products to be resold. The online platform is made up of highly-trained experts that range from gemologists to art curators and finally, professional luxury fashion authenticators to ensure each product is verifiably a luxury fashion house item.

The Hermès Togo Birkin 30
The Hermès Togo Birkin 30, A$25,000 as listed on The RealReal | Source: The RealReal
The Hermès Togo Birkin 40
The Hermès Togo Birkin 40, A$15,000 as listed on The RealReal | Source: The RealReal

If you’re still searching for the perfect handbag at perhaps a more reasonable price point, check out our guide on the best designer handbags to invest in. Or, read up on the equally iconic Hermès Kelly Handbag.

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