A Guide to Purchasing Your First Hermès Bag

If ever there were a fashion investment that one needed to make in their lifetime, it would be to own a coveted Hermès bag. With an utmost focus on quality, craftsmanship, and design, Hermès leather goods are the epitome of style and are a long-lasting, worthwhile product overall. It is reported that on average a Hermès Birkin appreciates in its value with an annual return of 14.2% according to resale site Baghunter. Notorious for being one of the most expensive bags on the market, even with their eye-watering prices, the bags are still very challenging to get due to their limited production and overwhelming demand. 

So, what can one do to get their hands on these bags? The art of purchasing Hermès in-store can be lengthy, and does require patience, so we’ve put together a list to help you secure your first Hermès bag in-store – and if all else fails, we have a simpler option too.

Photo Credit – Joseph Bishop for Aquarius Luxury Concierge (@aquariusluxuryconcierge)

Purchasing In-Store

“Please create your wish list and we will let you know within 6 months if we get anything in that matches or is close to your preference” is the line most are used to hearing when trying to purchase a Hermès bag in store for the first time; but let’s note that this isn’t the case across the board, as not all Hermès bags are treated equal and some don’t require a wait time at all. To secure yourself a Birkin, Kelly, or a Constance (read HERE or HERE for an in-depth look at some the most popular styles), then you’ll need to do some or all of the below:

Book an Appointment in Store & Create Your Wishlist – as simple as this may seem, the best way to get time with a sales associate (SA) is to book with them directly (or via email if you have a card), this gives you the opportunity to not only ask questions but allows you to build that oh-so-important rapport needed, and thus gives you a better chance of being shown, or even offered something. Not all stores require appointments, but with the influx of clients to be attended to, you want to ensure that there’s some dedicated time for you to discover what you’re really looking for. With this, sincerity also gets you a long way – yes, the associates do know when you’re creating a “Hermès story” to land yourself a bag, so be genuine and honest. 

Do Your Research Beforehand – if you can’t tell a Birkin from a Bolide, or a Kelly from an Evelyn, and you go in only armed with a photo from Kylie Jenner’s Instagram, then you really need to do some due diligence before you even step into a store. Most SA’s know that a dedicated Hermès shopper at the very least knows the name of the style, colour, or sizes they’d prefer, so make sure you’re prepared with that information – or better yet some options to discuss. 

A Bag Shouldn’t Seem Like Your Main Motivation – but even if it really is your goal, and outside of the allure of owning one the rest of the brand isn’t your style, you shouldn’t portray this to the associate. “But you just mentioned sincerity…”, sincerity means don’t lie about your reasoning, just ensure that it doesn’t appear that that is all you care about. SA’s will always ask you if there’s anything else you’d like to see, you should say yes (providing you have the time) – for the fact that this is a) an opportunity to spend some more valuable time with them, and b) opens you up to learning about the brand as a whole. Take a look at a matching twilly scarf that you could accessorize your (hopefully) new bag with, or even a charm or fragrance. This will show your overall interest and goes a long way.

History & Brand Loyalty – This one is a little more straightforward as essentially, you’re spending to become a Hermès VIP, and what do luxury VIPs get? Everything. If you’re spending £100,000 on homeware or fashion, there’s simply no way you’d be denied the ability to purchase a bag. Customer loyalty is important and Hermès, like many, value a high spend record in their store as it shows your appreciation of the brand. If you’re a frequent purchaser of their clothing, homeware, jewellery et cetera, you’re more than likely to get a bag just by expressing interest. 

Try Other Cities & Locations – There are 311 Hermès retail locations globally (including airport stores), so if a store hasn’t contacted you yet then definitely try elsewhere. It’s worth checking other locations in your city as each store’s buy and stock levels will be different. For the avid traveller, definitely explore other cities as you may strike lucky there. However, you should note that at airport stores you are unable to only purchase a bag by themselves (must be bought with another item); and Birkin’s, Kelly’s, and Constance’s are a lot rarer.

Luxury Resellers

If all else fails, then it’s possible that you’ll explore the world of resellers and personal shoppers. Though far less time consuming, this option comes with a higher price tag as you’re now entering an open market where it’s not only availability that’s dictated by demand, but price too. The luxury resale market is thriving at the moment and is projected to be worth an incredible $68.5 B by 2026, and some of this can be attributed to sellers who focus exclusively on goods such as Hermès. Luxury retail and personal shopping services have slowly become a staple in e-commerce purchasing taking over social media realms and online spaces. Top online luxury retailers such as Farfetch have become a go-to for pre-loved bags, but incredibly private resellers, shopping and concierge services, such as Aquarius Luxury Concierge based in London, are becoming a staple on chat-based social media for their unrivalled access to exclusive sold out pieces, competitively priced Hermès, and first-rate customer service.

In using a luxury reseller or personal shopper service you’re increasing your guarantee to secure the perfect bag in your ideal style, colour, size, and with your preferred hardware in a matter of days or weeks. Purchasing outside of the retail environment can see you pay anywhere about 50% above retail for a brand-new bag, which is a sizable increase, but does expedite the process considerably. Alternatively, it is possible to purchase pre-loved (do not mistake this for vintage as these are discontinued pieces and are in the higher price category), these bags are not brand new and can often have some signs of use and wear but will cost you less and are a great piece if you’re purchasing because you simply love the bag. 

What to look like out for when buying from a reseller:

PROOF OF AUTHENTICITY: Ask for a receipt and photo of the internal stamp.

THE HARDWARE: If you’re buying brand new ask the seller for photos and videos of this to ensure the clear stickers are still intact – if they aren’t this should be stated beforehand.

HIDDEN DAMAGE: To ensure there’s no damage or unstated signs of wear on exotic bags always check for watermarks (damage to the skin). If possible, try and see the bag in person (post-COVID) before committing.

AUTHENTICATE: If you have any suspicions or concerns about the validity of your 3rd party purchase get it authenticated immediately from independent services such as The Handbag Clinic. Direct communication with the seller is imperative to ensure that any issues can be rectified.