Why Are Birkin Bags So Expensive?

The iconic Hermès Birkin bag has dominated fashion magazine covers, swayed from the arm of countless celebrities, and sold for record sums of money at auctions. The instantly recognizable design, vivid colors, exotic materials, and meticulous attention to detail make the Birkin the most desired handbag in the world. A Birkin bag can sell for significant profit on the secondary market, combining its iconic status with the reputation as a genuine investment opportunity. However, why is a Hermès bag so expensive? What makes the Birkin stand out from its competitors? There are several factors at play, all of which combine and contribute to the high value of Birkin handbags.

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The process of creating a Birkin bag has six main phases, each of which is designed to ensure an excellent result. These phases are:

1.Preparation and cutting of the material. This step involves the precise inspection of the hide or skin for any defects. Once a high-grade leather is selected, the artisan tediously removes all minor defects, and the material is cut into size depending on the requirements for the bag.
2.Taking shape. The section of material is then placed in a wooden clamp and stitched together to form the shape of a Birkin bag. Each stitch is carefully threaded to ensure both aesthetic beauty and a firm hold.
3.Smoothing the rough edges. Once the craftsman completes the stitching, he gently uses a hammer to conceal the seam. Shaving, sanding, and waxing is also part of this process which is the most time consuming of all of the phases.
4.Shaping and adding the handle. Using the same material as the main body of the bag, the artisan layers up to five sections to create the handle. The shape of the handle forms as the layers When finished, the artisan carefully stitches the handle onto the main body of the bag.
5.Finishing touches. The last elements added to the bag is the hardware. Attached using a process called “Pearling,” the lock, studs, clasp and other components are attached without any screws whatsoever.
6.Final inspection. Before the bag begins its journey to its new owner, a second craftsman or workshop inspector thoroughly examines the bag to ensure it meets the perfectionist standards of Hermès. Once the bag passes the inspection, it is stamped and sent to the Hermès Logistics Center where a final review takes place, before shipping to a Hermès boutique.

WHICH IS THE BEST HERMÈS BIRKIN SIZE?

The increase in popularity of the Baby Birkin initially reflected growing demand for Hermès bags in Asian markets, where women tend to be relatively smaller in stature. For many, the other Birkin bag sizes were too large for their frame, and too heavy to carry. Subsequently, handbag designers began to produce “mini” bags, which spurred demand for the 25cm Birkins and Kellys worldwide.

As result, Hermès has increased production of the 25cm. That said, the supply is still not equal to the demand, which is why Baby Birkins sell for a substantial premium over retail in the secondary market. Furthermore, Hermès does not produce the same colors and or leathers in all sizes. There are more Baby Birkins found in swift leather—a smooth skin that shows colors vibrantly, but tends to not maintain its shape well in larger bags. Also, not all colors are produced in all sizes. Rose Sakura and Rose Azalea are two popular hues that cannot be found in the 35cm and are rare finds in the 30cm. Birkins in Togo, Clemence and Epsom leathers are more prevalent in the 30cm and 35cm sizes than the 25cm.

Baby Birkins are not for every woman. They look disproportionate on those who are tall and stately. The elegance is lost, and is replaced by a sense of “bad taste.”

Many women still prefer the 30cm and 35cm Hermès Birkin sizes, especially for everyday wear. These sizes are perfect for work, a luncheon, or out to dinner. They are similar in popularity to tote bags in that they have the room to carry all the essentials needed for business and travel. Additionally, they can be carried in hand or on the forearm. The Baby Birkin can only be held in hand.

While the 30cm is a good size for most women, there remains a large base of Hermès lovers who prefer the size of the 35cm Birkin. For them, it is the original, the classic. Other sizes may fall in and out of popularity, but the 35cm Birkin is timeless.

Each Birkin bag size has its advantages and the choice depends on stature and lifestyle. Many Hermès collectors include all sizes in their collections. For us, an ideal collection might include a dark colored 25cm Birkin in crocodile or alligator for formal use, one or more bright color Birkins in 30cm and some classic neutral colors in 35cm.

How to Buy a Hermes Birkin or Kelly

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First things first, how do you actually buy a Birkin or Kelly bag? Unfortunately, for 99% of the women who lust after a Hermes bag the process of realizing that dream isn’t straightforward. Purchasing a Birkin or Kelly directly from a Hermes boutique isn’t as simple as wandering in, picking a bag off the shelf and paying for it at the cashier. Hermes implement strict rules as to who is able to acquire one of their iconic bags. There are long waiting lists that can stretch up to six years. Even getting on the waiting list is a struggle, with customers ranked on previous purchases and reputation with the company. Therefore, there is no guarantee that you will actually be able to get on the waiting list in the first place.

Instead, the path that the majority of first time buyers choose is that of an auction house or trusted consignment company. Auction houses are the riskier option of the two, with many buyers paying a premium on their purchase. The option of purchasing from a trusted consignment company is the most commonly used by first time buyers, who can find both new and pre-loved Hermes bags for a set price. Utilizing the secondary market when making your first Hermes purchase is highly recommended and the safest way to go.

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