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.

It’s time. You’re finally ready to be the proud owner of an exclusive Hermès bag. You’ve studied the similarities and differences between Birkin and Kelly bags and even learned how Hermès bags are made. And you’ve spent hours, days, even months dreaming about the perfect Hermès bag color. So now there’s just one more thing to figure out: how to buy an Hermès bag. Surely, it can't be that hard, right? You’ll be surprised! 

Your straightforward quest to own an exquisite Hermès Birkin or Kelly bag is far more challenging than just the steep price tag. Hermès handcrafts the most coveted luxury handbags on the planet, and 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 or a Kelly bag. There are two primary approaches to how to buy an Hermès bag. One is a sprint, and the other is a years-long odyssey. Each leads to the ultimate prize — your very own Hermès luxury handbag. Choose your approach based on which gives you greater joy — the thrill of the hunt or the delight of the have.

Image of Hermès storefront.

What Makes Hermès Bags So Special?

Whether you choose the arduous, often years-long path to buying an Hermès bag or the sprint, there is no denying that the Birkin and the Kelly bags 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 unique to the atelier 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 and artisanship are just part of what makes Hermès bags so highly coveted. Hermès strictly limits the production of new Birkin and Kelly bags. 

Furthermore, 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 anything about the timing or contents of any shipments until the designer bags arrive at the boutique. 

Exquisite craftsmanship, extreme scarcity, and decidedly romantic backstories have made the Hermès Birkin and Kelly bags the most highly desired luxury bags in history.


From Birkin to Kelly to Constance: Understanding Hermès Bag Styles

Did you know that there are over 80 Hermès bag styles in production? These include LindyPicotinEvelyneBolide, and many others. Figuring out how to buy an Hermès bag in most styles is pretty easy. They can be purchased from Hermès online or from a brand boutique.  

However, Hermès aficionados love the Birkin, Kelly, and Constance bags above all others. These are considered the “Holy Trinity” of Hermès. While collectors were the first to designate these styles as stars, the design house has followed suit. The sale of these bags is highly restricted. 

The Birkin and Kelly bags are subject to a stringent quota system worldwide. Hermès allows no one to purchase more than two “quota bags” in a calendar year. If you were to buy a Birkin and a Kelly bag in March, you just have to wait until the following year before buying another. While Constance is not considered a quota bag in most of Europe or the United States, it is in France, Canada, Australia, China, Japan, and Singapore. This quota system is one (of many) reasons that figuring out how to purchase an Hermès bag can be so challenging.

Various Hermès products displayed on a store window.

The Best Way To Buy an Hermès Bag?

Let’s see how to buy an Hermès bag.

As you will recall, there are two very different answers to where to buy an Hermès bag: at an Hermès boutique or from a vetted independent dealer. It’s sort of like a “choose your own adventure.” If you want to own an Hermès bag, skip ahead. But if you value the thrill of the hunt, you’ll love trying to get a Birkin or Kelly at a brand boutique. Let’s see why.

First, you cannot purchase a Birkin or Kelly 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 Birkins or Kellys for sale on display. If you luck into the rare circumstance of a quota bag on the premises and 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 from the back. With extraordinary luck, there may be two or three bags to choose from. (Wondering what it takes to be considered worthy of purchasing an Hermès bag? We’re getting there.)

But what if one of those bags wasn’t what you were looking for? Can you order an Hermès bag from the boutique? No. There is no way to order a bag in the style, 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 will take years to be fulfilled.

How To Buy an Hermès Bag at an Hermès Boutique

As for how to buy an Hermès bag at a brand boutique, it all starts with developing a relationship with a specific Hermès Sales Associate (SA). 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 for a couple of days.

When you go into the store, you 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. 

To cultivate a relationship with your SA, make sure you:

  • Dress well when visiting the boutique — preferably in Hermès clothing and shoes. 

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

  • Make multiple purchases at the same Hermès boutique, ideally with the same SA, to establish a purchasing history (aka your “profile”). While making a purchase during each visit isn’t mandatory, establishing a purchasing history is a critical step on this path to one day buying a Birkin or Kelly bag at a boutique. Purchase from a wide range of Hermès products so you don't appear interested only in getting a Birkin bag. Consider purchasing scarves, belts, jewelry, 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 or Kelly 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 and master how to get an Hermès bag, there is no guarantee the bag you are eventually offered will be the one of your dreams. It may be a Birkin of a different size, color, or leather than what you had hoped for. So, can you refuse the bag you are offered? Legally, of course! Practically, it will hamper your relationship with your SA.

If you want to build an Hermès handbag collection, you must continue to strengthen your relationship with your SA through ongoing and frequent visits and purchases. Building that collection will take time due to the strict Hermès quota system. 

If you love the thrill of the hunt and have patience and money to burn, 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 Buy an Hermès Bag

As we have seen, the best answer for how to buy an Hermès bag depends on your goal. If you cherish the lifestyle of an Hermès hunter and are loaded with patience, time, and money, an Hermès boutique is your answer. If, however, you crave actually owning the gorgeous luxury bag, you can do precisely what celebrities and fashionable women worldwide do: shop with a reputable, independent Hermès dealer.

The benefits of shopping with a specialized Hermès reseller like Madison Avenue Couture are legion. Best of all, you can select the Hermès bag style, size, color, leather, and hardware of your choice. We offer a vast selection of store fresh bags. You can purchase an exotic skin bag crafted of crocodile, ostrich, or alligator skin. We even have an exceptional Hermès Special Order (HSS) bag collection available to you. Every single one of our Hermès bags is guaranteed authentic and is in stock, ready to be shipped within 48 hours. Shopping with a dealer is also your best chance to score one of the coveted retired colors like Graphite, Glycine, and Gris Tourterelle. 

Finally, we know you are “worthy” to own an Hermès bag, and we have no quotas on your purchases.

Established independent Hermès dealers like Madison Avenue Couture have extensive knowledge and expertise in Hermès handbags. We acquire authentic new and pre-owned Hermès Birkins, Kellys, Constance, and other bags from people who bought the bags directly from Hermès boutiques as well as from other dealers. And we 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 hurdles, years-long wait, and extensive purchasing history to prove your worthiness from shopping for an Hermès bag. Visit our website, select one or more of the authentic Hermès bags we have in stock, and receive the exact bag(s) you choose within 48 hours of completing your purchase. If you don't find your dream bag in our collection, our concierge service will be delighted to assist you.

Want to know where to buy an Hermès bag? At Madison Avenue Couture.

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