Just how much would you be willing to pay for “the perfect” handbag? Perhaps the cost of a large mortgage payment? Or even the price of a luxury car? For some women who covet the luxurious Hermès Birkin bag, they are willing to pay all that and even more. Further, some of these women are willing to go on multi-year waiting lists, just for the privilege of knowing that when the wait ends, they will be carrying their wallets, cell phones and even baby supplies, tucked inside the elegant and finely contoured leather shape of fashion’s biggest status symbol positioned prettily over one arm.
The Best Of The Best
If you are familiar with the Hermès name, you know that their handbags, as well as their other accessories, are truly the best of the best. Hermès is a ready-to-wear couture brand that operates its high-end boutiques in the United States and abroad. Women flock to their landmark stores in the hopes of scoring their own perfect bag, which are traditionally in low supply and high demand. Many stores have waiting lists for a Birkin, which can be anywhere from eight months for a basic style, on up to six years for a bag made of the most exotic leather. Celebrities and the very wealthy are often (but not always) able to surpass the waiting process to get instant gratification.
Fine Craftsmanship And Detailing
Each Hermès purse is hand-made by a highly-trained craftsman and can take as long as 48 hours to create from start to finish, according to an estimate by one fashion insider. Only the finest materials are used in the production of the bag, including alligator, crocodile, lizard, goat, calf and even ostrich skins, all of which are selected and tanned to achieve the softest, most buttery feel Birkin owners have come to expect and appreciate.
Other standard features that set an Hermès bag apart from the competition include tiny hand-stitching, dual top handles and gold or other high-quality metals used for details such as the lock, keys, buckle and protective feet. Each bag has an “H” stamped on all of its hardware and comes with a dust cover for the bag, as well as dust covers for the locks and keys that are a standard distinguishing Hermès feature. In addition, extravagant extras like pave diamonds set on the clasp are included in some exclusive (and highly sought-after) editions.
Further, all of the handbags come packaged in special tissue paper, which is carefully shaped (apparently by special Hermès craftsmen who are masters at this craft) into pillows to help hold the Birkin’s shape.
With so much work involved in the production of a bag, the finished products are distributed to Hermès boutiques on an unpredictable schedule, making it even more challenging to secure one and accounting for some of the long waits. Generally, the rarer the skin that is used for the bag, the longer the wait will be. Instead of deterring perspective customers, though, this wait may actually make the bags even more desirable to the woman who wants to be at the top of the trend setter’s list.