How to Purchase an Hermès Special Order Bag

Hermès Horseshoe Stamp Special Order Bags

As much as you cherish your beloved Birkin or Kelly bag, wouldn't you just love to design your own? Imagine selecting your bag’s size, style, and luxurious Hermès leather and hardware! Better yet — what if you could choose the color (or two!) for the leather and the stitching? This extraordinary opportunity comes to only the favored (very) few through the Hermès special order process. If you already know how to buy an Hermès bag, you’re ready for the master class on how to purchase an Hermès special order bag.

What Is an Hermès Special Order Bag?

An Hermès special order bag is an extraordinarily exclusive opportunity afforded to the very best and most important Hermès clientele. It is the chance to order a bespoke Hermès bag within limits. The opportunity to design a custom-ordered bag is a gift the atelier bestows on its most elite customers, and it is a prized status symbol. So, how do you purchase an Hermès special order bag? Typically, the highly coveted invitation is only extended to those who have had a years-long association with an Hermès sales associate and purchased many thousands of dollars in merchandise. 

How Can You Tell if a Bag Is a Special Order?

The bag stamp on an Hermès special order bag includes a discreetly placed horseshoe mark just to the left of the name Hermès. This understated symbol speaks volumes to those in the know and increases the bag’s value tremendously. The horseshoe stamp is the key to authenticating an Hermès bag as a special order bag since 2006 (although it was optional in 2007). Hermès special order bags are often called horseshoe stamp bags or HSS bags.

Hermès special order bags often feature leather in two colors, but some limited edition bags have two-toned designs, and some HSS bags are all one color.

Hermès Horseshoe Stamp Detail

The Significance of the Hermès Horseshoe Stamp

To many collectors, an Hermès horseshoe stamp bag is the ultimate status symbol. No customer is invited to the Hermès special order process unless they have demonstrated a keen appreciation for the brand. The Hermès horseshoe stamp identifies both the bag and its wearer as one of the brand’s finest. 

How Can I Place an Order for an Hermès Horseshoe Stamp Bag?

The Hermès special order process is an intricate dance, and Hermès calls the steps and the tune. It has four movements:

  • Receive the invitation for a special order bag.

You might be fortunate enough to receive a coveted special order invitation if you’ve cultivated and maintained a significant relationship with Hermès over a substantial period of time. Many spend years and hundreds of thousands of dollars before being invited to receive an Hermès special order bag. Sometimes, however, Hermès will select a relatively new customer who shows a dedication to the brand to place a special order. 

  • Complete the paperwork.

Explore the available choices of bag, size, leather, color, stitching, and hardware, and then make your selections. Clearly map where your color choices should appear. 

  • Place the order.

Submitting the paperwork places your order. You won’t pay at this stage.

  • Wait … and finally, get the call!

Once you place your order, you’ll typically wait for six months or longer — sometimes up to three years. If you accept your special order bag, you’ll pay the current price without a markup. 

How Can I Purchase an Hermès Special Order Bag?

For some collectors, catching on to how to purchase an Hermès special order bag means understanding the Hermès special order process and taking the appropriate steps. They meticulously strategize their pre-spend, hoping to someday qualify for an elusive invitation to fill out the special order paperwork. 

Others who long for one of these pieces of functional art turn to reputable Hermès dealers like Madison Avenue Couture, where purchasing HSS bags can happen without delay or pre-spend. They explore Special Order Birkin bags and HSS Kelly bags in search of their dream bag. Absolute treasures can be found when browsing the secondary market. You could even be lucky enough to come across a bag in an exotic skin — an extraordinary rarity among the exclusive special order invitations.

Timeline and Waitlist: What to Expect

Like a fine wine, the Hermès special order process cannot be rushed. You must be patient as you wait to receive an invitation to order an HSS bag, understanding that it may never come. If and when it does, savor your opportunity and fill out the paperwork completely. Then, wait once more. Typically, you’ll wait six to 12 months to receive your special order bag, but be prepared to wait up to three years. Your patience will be rewarded when you eventually receive the call to meet your bespoke bag in person. It is important that you continue to make regular purchases during this time. If you stop buying at Hermès during this time, it is possible that your special order bag will be offered to a more dedicated client.

Cost Breakdown: Understanding the Investment

Despite the extensive work involved in the Hermès special order process, no premium is charged for HSS bags. On average, Hermès special order bags sell for 50% more than comparable Hermès bags on the secondary market, so the investment is a wise one.

Pro Tips for Navigating the Special Order Process

Now you know how to purchase an Hermès special order bag through the highly coveted invitation and on the secondary market. If you’re committed to obtaining an invitation or have already received one, consider these pro tips to make the most of your opportunity.

Be strategic in your special order. Of course, you are welcome to order exactly what your heart desires within the limits set by Hermès. If what you really, really want is a black Epsom leather Birkin 30 with black stitching, it’s your prerogative to use your opportunity to order one. However, you may be able to find a black Epsom Birkin 30 at a boutique or on the secondary market. This is your chance to design something new. So, make sure you think carefully about all your options.

Embrace the opportunity and skip the stress. There is no controlling the Hermès special order process. You can ask — politely — for an invitation, but there’s no guarantee you’ll get one. You also can’t control the options made available to you, the time it takes to complete your bag, or even whether your design will be modified. Hermès can make changes to your special order design, although it doesn’t happen often. You will always have the right to reject the final bag. 

Bypass the Hermès Special Order Process — Buy an HSS Bag

With more boutiques opening and the number of Hermès collectors increasing, being invited to place a special order is becoming harder each year. Like all Hermès fans, we adore the special order bags — particularly those with contrasting leather and stitching colors. We maintain a curated and changing extensive collection of Hermès special order bags. So, if you’re interested in buying an HSS bag of your own, check our website often!

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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