Hermès is known for their quality materials, and their leather is no exception. A few of the most popular materials include box calf, alligator, Clemence, Epsom, Togo, and Ostrich leather. After Jane Birkin made headlines for protesting the treatment of animals in 2015, the company’s ethical standards for the sourcing of materials became even more strict. While Birkin bags can be found in a variety of colors, they are largely made from the leathers listed below.
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There are a few key components that make the Birkin bag easily identifiable, which are highlighted below. Note the simplicity of the shape, style, and additions. Each of these elements can be customized allowing for a wide variety in textures, prices, and glamour.
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.
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.
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.