How To Buy An Hermès Bag: Everything You Need To Know

Still life image of an Hermès Gold Kelly 20cm and Nata Birkin 25cm on a table.

 

You want to learn how to buy a Birkin bag. Your straightforward quest to own an exquisite Hermès luxury bag is far more challenging than just the steep price tag. Not only does Hermès handcraft the most coveted luxury handbags on the planet, the company strictly limits the supply in multiple astonishing ways. This has effectively turned the question of how to buy an Hermès bag into an obsession for women worldwide. 

Royalty, heads of state, executives, and celebrities compete fiercely for the opportunity to buy a Birkin. There are two main pathways that lead to the ultimate prize — your very own Birkin. Choose your path based on which gives you greater joy — the thrill of the hunt or the thrill of the have.

What Makes Hermès Bags So Special?

Whether or not you choose the arduous, often years-long path to buying a Birkin, there is no denying that the Birkin and the Kelly bag are international sensations. But what is it that makes Hermès bags so special that thousands worldwide are searching for how to buy an Hermès bag

Hermès bags are made from premium quality leathers and crafted entirely by hand. Each bag is cut, sewn, and polished by a single artisan, who will have trained with the Hermès design house for a minimum of five years before being trusted with a Birkin or Kelly. The work is painstaking, and the final quality is simply exquisite. 

But the exceptional quality is just part of what makes Hermès bags so highly coveted. Hermès limits the supply of new Birkin and Kelly bags that are made. Further, information about the number of Hermès bags made, in which colors, leathers, and styles as well as when and where they may be shipped is kept secret. For security reasons, even the Sales Manager (SM) and Sales Associates (SA) at any Hermès boutique know nothing about the timing or contents of any shipments until the designer bags arrive at the boutique. 

Exquisite craftsmanship, plus extreme scarcity and a decidedly romantic backstory, has made the Hermès Birkin bag the most highly desired luxury bag.

 

Image of Hermès storefront.

Is There a Waiting List for the Birkin?

Once upon a time, there was an extensive (up to six years) waiting list to be allowed to purchase a Birkin bag or a Kelly. When you (finally) received a call inviting you to buy a luxury bag, it may have been in a very different color, leather, hardware, or size than you requested. Yet, woe betide the woman who held out for the bag she really wanted — she was unlikely to receive a second opportunity.

Eventually, the Hermès Birkin Bag waiting list was deemed "unfair" and dropped. While some SAs may still offer to place your name on a waiting list for the Birkin bag of your dreams, this is little more than a social nicety, without any genuine promise that is implied. Even celebrities and the fashion elite struggle to get a Birkin this way.

Where to Buy a Birkin Bag

Now comes the bigger question, where can you buy a Birkin bag

There are two very different paths toward your ultimate goal — at an Hermès boutique or from a vetted independent dealer. First, let's chart your course if you value the thrill of the hunt.

You cannot purchase a Birkin bag on the Hermès website. Instead, you must visit one of the many Hermès boutiques around the world. When you enter the shop, do not expect to see any Birkin bags for sale on display. If you luck into the rare circumstance of a Birkin on the premises and if the SA deems you worthy, you will be invited into a private room. A gloved SA will bring you a glass of champagne and a single bag out from the back. With extraordinary luck, there maybe two or three bags to choose from. 

If there is no Birkin bag in stock, can you order one from the store? No. There is no way to order a Birkin bag in the size, color, leather, and hardware you want unless you are an Hermès VIP who is personally invited to custom order a Horseshoe Stamp bag. While long-term customers make requests of their SAs for a specific Birkin, most requests are not fulfilled or take years to be fulfilled.

 

Various Hermès products displayed on a store window.

How To Buy an Hermès Bag at an Hermès Boutique

It all starts with developing a relationship with a specific Hermès Sales Associate. With an SA on your side, many things are eventually possible. You may be notified the next time a shipment comes in. With an exceptional relationship developed over time, your SA might even put a hold on a Birkin bag for you.

When you go into the store, your first must find a Sales Associate willing and available to assist you. Ideally, a friend or relative will introduce you to one with whom they have a relationship. Otherwise, it is somewhat random and could impact your ability to eventually buy a Birkin.

Make sure you:

  • Dress well when visiting the boutique — in Hermès if possible. 

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the entire Hermès line as well as the Birkin specifically.

  • Make purchases at the same Hermès boutique, ideally with the same SA.

  • Establish a purchasing history (aka a “profile”). While you do not have to buy something with each visit, establishing a purchasing history is a critical step on this path to one day being able to buy a Birkin bag. 

  • Purchase from a wide range of Hermès products so you don't appear to be interested in only getting a Birkin bag. Consider purchasing scarves, belts, jewelry, ready-to-wear, makeup, etc.

Once you have fully demonstrated your love for the entire Hermès brand through many, many purchases in several different departments, you are guaranteed a happy SA, but not necessarily a Birkin bag. However, it is reliably reported that spending a cool six figures plus at an Hermès boutique may make some bags reserved for VIPs available to you.

Even after you crack the Birkin-buying code, there is no guarantee the bag will be the one of your dreams. It may be a Birkin of a different size, color or leather than you hoped for.

If you want to build a Hermès handbag collection, you need to continue to strengthen your relationship with your SA through frequent visits and purchases. Building that collection will take time — Hermès has a strict “quota” restricting buyers to no more than two luxury bags per year.

If you love the thrill of the hunt, buying a Birkin or Kelly bag at an Hermès boutique is ideal for you.

 

Model on a rooftop in Brooklyn holding a Hermès Ostrich Birkin 25cm bag in Gris Perle.

 

The Best Way To Buying A Hermès Birkin (Or Kelly) Bag

If rather than chasing a Birkin or a Kelly bag, you crave actually owning the gorgeous luxury bag, you can do exactly what celebrities and fashionable women worldwide do — shop with a reputable, independent Hermès dealer.

Established independent Hermès dealers have extensive knowledge and expertise in Hermès handbags, although they are not affiliated with Hermès. They acquire authentic new and pre-owned Hermès Birkins, Kellys and other bags from people who bought the bags directly from Hermès boutiques, or from other dealers. They do not discriminate based on income, celebrity status, or purchasing history.  

Madison Avenue Couture is America’s largest and most trusted online dealer of store-fresh Hermès handbags. We have eliminated the rigmarole of getting a Hermès bag or building a collection. Visit the website, select one or more authentic Hermès bag(s) they have in stock, and receive the exact bag(s) you choose within 24 hours of completing your purchase. If you don't find your dream bag in our collection,  Madison Avenue Couture’s concierge service will be delighted to assist you.

Where should you buy a Hermès bag? At Madison Avenue Couture.

 

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