Samantha Jones of Sex and the City, who acquired the coveted bag five years earlier by mentioning her most recent client Lucy Liu, was informed by a somewhat irate salesman that it was actually a Birkin. When gifting a Birkin bag to the reserved and ambiguously unappreciative Rory Gilmore , Logan remarked, “Not just a bag, it’s a Birkin bag”. The most recognizable and storied bags of the Hermès maison are surrounded by a magical aura that is intensified by the convoluted, expensive, and difficult journey that must be taken in order to acquire them—a moment that is equally emblematic and is now more widely known than ever.
Just the inability to just walk into a store and purchase a Birkin or Kelly reveals a lot about the business approach employed by the French maison founded in 1837. Since only a few of these two bags are produced each year, some colorways are only offered for one or two seasons, and each store has a different inventory, Hermès’ policy is one of scarcity and exclusivity. This is in addition to Hermès’ very strict control over prices, which it can raise or lower at will. The retail value that the stock market preserves in the Kelly offered, which is the correct expression to sum up a transaction worth tens of thousands of euros, helps to partially offset the objective difficulty of getting one.
Many strategies to improve your chances of receiving a Kelly offer were detailed in a Vox article from a few years back. An innovative method entails taking a flight to Las Vegas. “Since you can’t tell who has money and who doesn’t in LV’s Hermès boutiques, employees treat every customer with respect. Numerous customers have never visited a business of this kind before.” In other situations, it suffices to have the nerve to inquire directly about Kelly’s whereabouts to find it . You never know when the shopkeepers might not be inclined to be understanding.
It’s intriguing—almost paradoxical—that TikTok has contributed significantly to the newfound interest in and fascination with Hermès handbags. Numerous films not only describe It Bags but also the drawn-out procedure of purchasing one. It is paradoxical, because only a select group of clients had hitherto been aware of the French maison’s “hidden” procedures. Hermès’ enormous popularity on ByteDance’s social media is not something the fashion brand is especially happy about it. They do not desire brand recognition. They identified a very narrow target audience and positioned themselves as a discreet premium brand. […] Hermès doesn’t care because those aren’t his bags, thus they don’t want films of basic amateurs explaining how to buy old bags or identify authentic ones.
Even though the TikTok bag has gone viral, its not like its renown is brand-new. Both the Birkin and the Kelly are among the most identifiable and iconic fashion objects, even in the eyes of non-fashion specialists. They are not simply a part of pop culture and the popular imagination. Respectfully, Hermès will have to put up with films in their shops while still selling their bags to the 1% of people who can afford them despite not having seen them on TikTok.