Hermès Pre-Spend: Conquering the Luxury Connection Game

hermes store front

If you covet the experience of browsing in an Hermès boutique and leaving with a precious Birkin or Kelly bag on your arm, you must first understand the intricate dance of Hermès pre-spend. This refers to the many Hermès products you’ll buy to build a purchasing profile that justifies your right to buy the bag. You must also cultivate a relationship with your Sales Associate (SA) and develop a successful pre-spend strategy in order to achieve your designer aspirations. Join us as we unravel the intricacies of Hermès relationship building and guide you through the nuances of conquering the luxury connection game.

Understanding the Hermès Pre-Spend Phenomenon

The allure of Hermès bags is not just in their impeccable craftsmanship and timeless style but also in the extraordinary exclusiveness of the bags. The elite privilege of owning a Birkin or Kelly bag is underscored by the intricate dance of acquisition required when buying an Hermès bag. While no official Hermès document details the pre-spend Hermès policy, countless narratives shared by Hermès aficionados reveal the reality of this practice.

In its simplest terms, Hermès pre-spend refers to how much money you must spend with Hermès before being offered the opportunity to purchase a Birkin or Kelly bag. Every purchase you make is recorded and helps develop your purchasing profile with the company.

As recently as during the COVID lockdowns, a pre-spend Hermès ratio of one-to-one was common. That is, if you hope to be offered a $32,000 Birkin to buy, you must first spend the same amount in other departments. However, reports now suggest that depending on the boutique and the specific bag, this Hermès pre-spend ratio has evolved, with some buyers citing a 1.5-to-1 or even a staggering five-to-one pre-spend expectation.

hermes store

Before you buy a Picotin or Evelyne bag for everyone on your Christmas list, you need to know there’s more to the Hermès pre-spend. It’s not just how much you spend, but also what you buy. Most handbags and small leather goods are not considered to be part of the Hermès pre-spend. Purchases must be made in unrelated departments. Consider the following items from Hermès:

  • Furniture
  • Fine Jewelry
  • Watches
  • Scarves
  • Shoes
  • Fashion Jewelry 
  • Fine Jewelry
  • Housewares
  • Makeup
  • Cologne
  • Glassware
  • Fragrances
  • Skincare
  • Hats
  • Gloves
  • Tech accessories 

While you want to demonstrate a well-rounded loyalty to the entire brand, there are certain items that carry more weight in pre-spend than others. For example, a sofa, diamond bracelet or rare watch might compel the store to reward you with a crocodile Birkin, whereas shoes, decorative plate and scarf may earn a Picotin, if anything. In demand items, like the Chypre sandals, do not add much value to a profile.

Key Components of Successful Hermès Pre-Spend Strategy

scarf hermes

Scoring the coveted invitation to purchase a Birkin bag is about more than the amount of money you spend. 

Successfully navigating the Hermès pre-spend requires a nuanced strategy that includes the following:

  1. Broad Spectrum Purchases: Indulge in a wide range of Hermès items, from famed silks to exquisite homewares. This reflects a comprehensive brand appreciation, not a singular focus on their bags.
  2. Consistent Engagement: Regular interactions and purchases, even those of lower value, can foster deeper Hermès relationships and demonstrate genuine loyalty.
  3. Educating Yourself: Be aware of seasonal offerings, limited editions, and other exclusive items. You position yourself as a connoisseur by staying abreast of the latest Hermès releases.
  4. Nurturing the SA Relationship: Cultivating a relationship with your SA is essential to any successful strategy.

Let’s turn now to Hermès relationship building.

Building Strong Relationships: More than Just Spending

Once you have chosen the specific boutique where you will invest your Hermès pre-spend, begin building a relationship with a single SA. The Hermès Sales Associate plays a powerful role beyond noting your bag preferences. When a similar bag becomes available, the SA reviews their list of potential buyers, deciding who warrants an invitation to purchase. The boutique manager must approve the invitation, but it all begins with the SA.

The keys to building Hermès relationships include:

  1. Centralized Purchases: Frequenting the same boutique and consistently making purchases with the same SA will simplify recordkeeping and reinforce the relationship. Repetition is key, and every return visit fortifies your profile with the brand.
  2. Tokens of Appreciation: A gesture as simple as a shared snack or beverage for the boutique staff can resonate, marking you as a thoughtful and memorable client. Food or candy that can be shared with the entire team are the recommended gifts.
  3. Dressing the Part: Wearing your favorite Hermès products, whether footwear, jewelry, or casual wear, communicates your genuine passion for the brand.
  4. Patience and Repetition: Developing Hermès relationships is not a one-time transaction but an evolving bond. While many Hermès lovers stop into their boutique every month, some do so twice a month or even weekly. 

A purchase is not mandatory at each boutique visit, but you don’t want your SA to feel you are wasting their time.

Leveraging Hermès Pre-Spend for Luxury Bag Investment

Navigating the Hermès landscape requires passion, strategy, and foresight. Each purchase becomes a stepping stone toward the acquisition of a cherished bag, and every interaction is important. Experts agree that you must never reveal to your SA that any given purchase is intended to pad your Hermès pre-spend. Instead, demonstrate your love of the brand, and consider gifting your pre-spend buys that don’t meet your needs. 

As you cultivate your Hermès relationships, your pre-spend will evolve from mere purchases to strategic investments, each furthering your quest for that iconic bag.

Evolving with Hermès: Keeping up with Pre-Spend Trends

hermes pillows

As with the extraordinary luxury bags, the Hermès pre-spend is part science and part artistry. Once you have established a sound relationship with your SA and refined your pre-spend strategy, you must remain alert to changing trends. 

  1. Vigilant Observation: Closely watch industry forums, luxury fashion influencers, and insiders. The landscape is dynamic, and staying informed keeps you a step ahead.
  2. Adaptive Purchasing: Be ready to adjust your purchase strategies. Dinnerware was considered one of the best categories to purchase for profile building not long ago, but Hermès fine china has become so popular that it has less positive impact on a profile. 
  3. Community Engagement: Sharing and learning from the journeys of fellow Hermès aficionados can offer a wealth of Hermès relationship-building insights.

The intricate dance of the Hermès pre-spend and the art of cultivating relationships is a world unto its own. As you've embarked on this journey, remember that it’s as much about finesse as formula. Stay committed, learn from every experience, and continue to refine your approach as you aim for that iconic Hermès treasure.

We wish you every success in your endeavors.

If, however, you would prefer to skip the dance and purchase the specific bag in the size, leather, and color of your choice, shop Madison Avenue Couture, the most trusted Hermès reseller in the U.S.

Judy Taylor

CEO & Founder of Madison Avenue Couture
Judy Taylor, the CEO and founder of Madison Avenue Couture is one of the most respected authorities on luxury bags and accessories. Her entrepreneurial spirit and unwavering commitment to quality have cemented her as an expert in luxury retail, inspiring fashion enthusiasts worldwide
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