The Hermès Birkin bag allure and why the price tag is so high

The Birkin's unattainability and handcrafted design are part of the reason for the high price of the tote bag

The Hermès Birkin bag tops the list in the world of luxury handbags.

As a status symbol among A-listers, this fashion piece is seen in the hands of elites and celebrities.

Acquiring a coveted Birkin bag may require a fisherman's patience and a private investigator's instinct, however. 

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The allure of the handbag partly lies in its exclusivity; it is not available for purchase online, and its availability is often held secret. 

With a price range spanning tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars, it remains exclusive to those who can and are willing to pay for it.

Birkin bag woman carrying

Birkin bags are handmade in France and each bag features the company's signature saddle stitching. (Jeremy Moeller/Getty Images / Getty Images)

What is so special about a Birkin bag?

The Hermès Birkin tote bag is a labor of love.

Artisans in France make each bag by hand using the signature Hermès saddle-stitching technique. The bag’s distinctive design features two rolled handles, top flaps with buckle loops and a lock and key.

The Birkin is available in various sizes – 25 cm, 30 cm, 35 cm and 40 cm – and is crafted from the customer’s selected material, including calf leather, lizard, crocodile and ostrich skins.

Over time, the handbag has cemented its status as a desirable collectible and a favorite accessory among celebrities.

High-profile figures such as Victoria Beckham, who was photographed with multiple versions of the bag in the 2000s, Jennifer Lopez, the Kardashians and Lori Loughlin have all been spotted over the years accessorizing with their Birkin bags.

Birkin bag black

Celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Victoria Beckham are some of the elites who carry Birkin bags. (Edward Berthelot/Getty Images / Getty Images)

Why are Birkin bags so expensive?

The exceptional level of craftsmanship in producing the handbag is the rationale for the company's pricing.

Each Birkin takes a minimum of 18 hours to make as a single artisan hand-sews, buffs, paints and polishes the bag, according to Sotheby's.

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The luxury accessory market experienced a surge during the COVID-19 pandemic, with Birkin bag sales increasing by 38%, based on a 2022 Credit Suisse and Deloitte report. With its escalating investment appeal, roughly 25% of Birkin bag owners keep their bags in storage for future resale.

However, Birkin bags exhibit higher market volatility when compared to other luxury collectibles, including jewelry and Chanel handbags, based on a study from Credit Suisse and Deloitte.

How to buy a Birkin bag

Previously, Hermès maintained a waiting list that could span months or even years; however, the company has since eliminated any formal waitlist process.

The high demand for these handbags makes obtaining a new Birkin challenging. 

Prospective customers must inquire about availability at each Hermès location or a boutique seller. Salespersons are often helpful in assisting in the search.

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Individuals looking to purchase a Birkin bag should be cautious when something seems too good to be true. Many "superfake" handbags are nearly indistinguishable from the authentic product. 

Auction houses are an excellent place for those looking to get their hands on a vintage style

Jane Birkin

Jane Birkin was a singer, actress and fashion icon. (David Wolff — Patrick/Redferns/Getty Images / Getty Images)

Why is it called a Birkin bag?

The Birkin bag derives its name from Jane Birkin, the English-French actress, singer and model who was the muse behind its creation.

She suggested the design concept to Jean-Louis Dumas, then Hermès chairman, during a chance encounter aboard a late-night Air France flight from Paris to London. As a mother of three, Birkin expressed her need for a spacious and stylish bag.

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A fashion icon from the '60s to the '80s, Birkin's playful yet functional design sketch caught Dumas' attention during that flight. Intrigued by her idea, Hermès, the French luxury goods company, launched the first Birkin bag in 1984, a 40 cm tote that harmonized utility with trendsetting elegance.

For more Lifestyle articles, visit www.foxbusiness.com/lifestyle.

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