One of the most expensive handbags in the world is the Hermès Birkin. A good-quality bag will cost you about €5,000, while rarer styles will cost you over €100,000. If you’re wondering how to calculate the cost of a leather accessory, you’d be forgiven. The economics behind the Hermès Birkin range from impeccable craftsmanship to investment cachet.
Congratulations on your cultural achievements
A part of the handbag law is the Birkin ORIGIN STORY. Hermès chief executive Jean-Louis Dumas and actress and singer Jane Birkin met on a flight to London in 1984, sparking the idea for the bag. Her current bag, which she uses to carry all the necessities of life, is deemed insufficient by Jane, a young mother. They came up with a better idea: THE BIRKIN.
Since the Birkin was first released, many A-listers have been seen wearing it – and displaying it in their walk-in closets. Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, Kylie Jenner, and Drake are all collectors. Reporters reported that Drake was building a Birkin collection for his future (very lucky) partner. One entire plotline of Sex and the City revolves around the Birkin. Artists such as George Condo, Alec Monopoly and Terence Koh have used it as a canvas and rapped about it. In spite of its exponential price increase and popularity over the years, the Birkin continues to attract stars.
THIS WAS AN ITERATED, WEARABLE BIRKIN WITH A SEPARATE POCHETTE INSIDE, SEEN ON THE VOGUE RUNWAY FOR FALL 2021.
Hermès is both artisanal and luxurious
Birkin bags are more than just it-bags. This is an amazing piece of art. Craftsmanship is at the heart of Hermès’ philosophy. Each Birkin is handcrafted in one of Hermès’ dedicated workshops by a single artisan, according to the company’s belief ‘one craftsman, one bag’. Approximately 40 hours are required for this process. A technique called pearling is used to place the HARDWARE after cutting the leather pieces and stitching them together.
STITCHES ARE ALL APPLIED BY HAND. BIRKIN 25 SELLIER EPSOM ETOUPE HAS HERM’S WHITE SADDLE STITCH.
A GENUINE LEATHER IS USED, matched meticulously by the artisans for a harmonious look. You will be able to receive your Birkin back into the arms of its original creator if you send the bag to Hermès for repair.
It has even been reported that artisans recognize their work in store, which is unusual for a global luxury brand. The high cost of producing a Birkin is due to its active rejection of factory production lines and the economies of scale that come with them.
Investment piece of the highest quality
Despite its price, Hermès Birkin bags are the perfect investment because of their reverence for traditional craftsmanship. In other words, it is durable. Vintage Birkins are still available on the secondhand market because they aren’t just for a season. As a result of its timeless design, this bag has value across generations. If you consider a big purchase in decades rather than years, it becomes easier to justify its cost-per-wear.
Due to the Birkin’s longevity, it has become more attractive as an investment in recent years. Birkin handbags earned 13% in 2019 compared to 5% for fine art. Consequently, the secondary Birkin market has become a self-perpetuating cycle, with those hoping to profit from investment gains buying up bags and driving up prices further. It wasn’t long after Christie’s held its first handbag auction in 2017 that world records were broken once again (mostly by Birkins).
A very rare breed
Exclusiveness is Hermès’ forte. There’s little wonder the brand ramped up production with the world clamoring for Birkins. Birkin bags are produced roughly 12,000 times a year, a mere scrap of the surface. Aside from that, Hermès boutiques are notoriously picky about their customers. Customers who have built up a substantial relationship with their local sales representative can purchase Birkin bags privately rather than buying them off the shelves. Price increases are inevitable when demand exceeds supply.
Although frustrating at times, the limited-edition nature of Birkin bags is also one of their most appealing qualities. Besides focusing on commerciality, Hermès has an artistic sensibility that drives its business. A NEW PALETTE OF COLORS is released by Hermès for its accessories each season, many of which are exclusive to that season. There are many hues that are so rare that they have become collectors’ items, including Rose Bubblegum, Vert Cricket, and Mimosa. The designer Nigel Peake collaborated with Hermès on the ‘One Two Three and Away We Go’ Birkin. The chances of finding another Birkin like it are slimmer when you own one. Hermès Birkins are exquisitely crafted, exceptionally rare, and sound investments. Are these not reasons why they are so expensive?
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