I recently came across a thread on my favourite ‘secret’ Facebook page (High End – Discussion) where ladies were exchanging stories about how to get your hands on one of the most coveted handbags of all time—the Hermès Birkin bag. Named after Jane Birkn, the iconic tote first launched just over 30 years ago. It started the way all good things do—it solved a problem. Actress and singer Jane Birkin was seated on a flight alongside Jean-Louis Dumas of Hermès, and complained that her handbag didn’t have enough pockets or sturdiness to hold all it needed to. By the end of the flight, Dumas had the initial sketch of the handbag, and from there, as they say, the rest is history (read more here).
Each handbag takes approximately 48 hours to handcraft, using the finest materials and finishes. The price can soar up to $200,000, and if you prefer to purchase brand-new over second hand, you can be placed on a waiting list for years. Some may argue that it’s crazy to sit on a waiting list for just a handbag, but the Birkin is so much more. It’s a sign of status, wealth, and exclusivity—and in my opinion, proves that you’re an A-grade hustler.
Women in the Facebook group shared tales of befriending sales associates and shopping regularly in store to prove that they were serious about getting on the list. But I was intrigued, is this really the only way to get your hands on a Birkin? I thought it all seemed a bit too hard (TBH, I haven’t attempted to purchase one myself), but I did some online digging and turns out, it’s actually true. In 2015, Racked reported from anonymous shoppers that it’s important to build a reputation in store and to look ‘deserving’ of the bag. That being said, Baghunter reported that some women have been known to walk into a store, and walk out with the bag of their dreams. It’s all in the timing, and if a delivery was just received direct from Paris, it could be your lucky day.
So you might have to jump through a few hoops to land the most iconic handbag of our time, but if it didn’t come with such a great story, would you even want it so bad?
If playing the waiting game and schmoozing sales assistants isn’t for you, shop a second-hand Birkin from Farfetch.