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What Differentiates a Hermes Birkin Bag from Other Bags?

Hermes Birkin

Imagine being obsessed with Hermes bags so much that you want to own the largest collection in the world. Considering that the bags go for at least $7,000 and the most expensive currently has a hefty price tag of $2.7 million, owing even a few would have some of us filing for bankruptcy. Still, there has to be a reason for Rosmah Mansor, Jamie Chua, and Victoria Beckham having more than 100 Hermes bags in their collection. The Hermes Birkin bags are unlike other handbags, and here is why.

Make up the Holy Grail of Handbags

A Holy Grail bag, as described by Purse Bop, is hard to attain. Still, you so intensely desire it that you feel if you had owned it, then there would be no need for having another handbag. The Hermes Birkin and Hermes Himalaya have both been dubbed the Holy Grail bags, and with good reason. Although all Hermes handbags undergo strict processes in their production, these two go a notch higher. It is no wonder that the two have continued to break their own records of being the most expensive bags ever sold for the past few years. The Birkin even makes up the Holy Trinity of Hermes bags, with the Kelly and the Constance. Evidence of the Birkin being a Holy Grail is further stamped by the fact that David Oancea felt owning one would enable him to break the record of having the most expensive bag. He explained that since even celebrities like Kim Kardashian did not own one, knowing that it belonged to him gave him a satisfactory feeling. His intention with the bag was to take pictures and videos with it and have people talking about him.

Made from Exotic Skin

If you have heard of Niloticus or Porosus Crocodile Hermes Birkin bags, then you must wonder why the bags are named after crocodiles. Well, the names come from the source of the materials. According to Rebag, Hermes farms Crocodylus Porosus crocodiles in Australia and use the underbelly skin to make the Porosus crocodile bags. The Niloticus crocodile bags are made from skin harvested from the Crocodylus Niloticus crocodiles, which Hermes sources from the Nile River in Zimbabwe. Although crocodiles live in water, the bags ironically should be kept away from water. They are, however, resistant to almost everything else. The company is careful about being authentic in the skins used. Thus when the Caiman skins they found were not of high quality, they preferred to stop the production of Caiman bags. However, they have other options apart from crocodile skin; they use alligator, lizard, and ostrich skins. Since lizards are tiny, Hermes reserves their skins for making accessories and smaller handbags. Hermes has also come up with various ways to help their customers differentiate the skins used on the bags. For instance, “□” indicates the bag is made from alligator skin; “˄” means your bag is made from the Crocodylus Porosus crocodile skin, while “○” shows you have bought a Caiman.

Can Only Be Bought Directly from Hermes

Owning a Hermes Birkin bag is not as easy as buying groceries in the nearest store because Hermes bags are the most exclusive worldwide. Even if you have the money to afford it, it is still quite a rigorous process to own one. The trick, as explained in the article, is to find someone who has already bought one. The person will then introduce you to the store owner, who assesses how serious you are about purchasing the bag. Even after proving that you are a credible buyer, the process is far from over; the store will order from Hermes. Usually, there is a waiting list; you will be added to it, and then Hermes can begin working on your order. However, being added to the waiting list should also not get you excited because you can wait for as long as six years before getting your bag. Hermes prioritizes those who have a purchase history making it difficult for a first-time buyer to get the bag. Also, remember that since you are interested in buying a bag that makes up the Holy Trinity, you can only buy it directly from Hermes because they are not available online.

Special Orders are for VIP Customers Only

By now, you must even wonder why you should bother trying to get on the waiting list but wait till you hear about the process of buying a customized bag. Hermes has Special Order (SO) bags which are referred to as Horseshoe Stamps (HSS). According to Purse Blog, SO is an order where the customer gets the privilege of choosing individual specifications such as color, hardware, model, and stitching.

Usually, the SO models are Birkin, Kelly, and Constance, and even being picked to make such an order is reserved for the most loyal customers. Of course, since as a Hermes customer, you have been buying from Hermes stores, your loyalty should also be determined by the number of times you have purchased from a specific store and sale associate. That sales associate will need to be your closest friend if you think of owning an SO. Hermes SO process happens twice a year, and each store is granted very few SO bags. Therefore, the process is strict because the store director must approve the order before it is taken to Paris for evaluation. If you are in luck and yours is approved, you will have to wait for 6-18 months or three years for a bag made from exotic skins. All SO bags have the Horseshoe Stamp as a mark of exclusivity. Although in the past VIP customers could choose as many colors for their SO bags, currently, they are limited to only two. Customers can have both colors on the outside or one inside, the other outside.

Garrett Parker

Written by Garrett Parker

Garrett by trade is a personal finance freelance writer and journalist. With over 10 years experience he's covered businesses, CEOs, and investments. However he does like to take on other topics involving some of his personal interests like automobiles, future technologies, and anything else that could change the world.

Read more posts by Garrett Parker

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