The Preeminence of Podium
What is Podium exactly?
About 1,000 of Hermès’s store representatives—from directors to managers—go to Paris twice a year (in February and July) to select and bid for goods to carry in their respective outlets. The events are usually held at a building, where a sea on of products are lined up and displayed in a tradeshow-style fashion. Here, new collections are debuted, and orders for the following season are placed.
In accordance with the Hermès family’s edict, in addition to handbags they must choose from a selection of home furnishings, perfume, jewelry, watches and other small accessories. They do this as a means to push products that go beyond bags, which so happens to be the brand’s cash cow, and what everyone needs to carry. From one-of-kind travel trunks and phone cases to colorful dishware and extravagant children’s toys, the complete Hermès lifestyle is divided; leaving clients scouring the globe to get that one item they deem a must-have. It creates a desire, a want from the attainable, thusly proliferating the company’s cachet.
That said, there are those who are a cut above the rest. These are the high-spenders; the true Hermès loyalists who get to dictate the buy, so to speak.
Why is Podium a big deal?
Not everyone can get an Hermès bag of their choosing—if one at all. Unless you’re a frequent, big spender at Hermès (and have a certain clout and pedigree about you), going into any store for the handbag of your dreams is frankly a fool’s errand. Podium is the event where these collectors get first dibs on the specialty items that are carefully guarded in Hermès’s vault— from a fire engine red crocodile Kelly to a midnight blue leather Birkin. They relay want they want to a sales manager or associate, and if they’re enough of a shopper, they are can get their hands on a rare bi-color bird or croc. They would need final approval from the store director, but that’s just for formalities sake, as direct Podium orders are guaranteed sales if the item on the client’s wish list is available. If not, they would need to wait for the next stage, or be lucky enough to custom make bag.
Indeed, it is at Podium where well-established Hermès clients have the opportunity to customize Kelly or Birkin bags through a “Special Order” (SO)…under certain guidelines, of course. They are marked with Horseshoe stamp (HSS) and are of highly coveted when they appear on the secondary market.