The beautiful leather, the shiny hardware, the prestige and of course the ’impossible to get’ factor makes Hermes Birkins and Kellys, the single, most coveted item in the fashion world. I guess every girl, whether an aspiring lawyer or a die-hard fashionista has dreamt of owning one at some point, after all it’s the ultimate sign that you really have made it. For me it started when I was watching Sex and the City (along with the Manolo Blahnik addiction, this was another one), where you might remember Samantha lying to the Hermes sales assistant that she was getting the bag for her celebrity client to avoid years worth of waiting lists…
That has been the (mis)conception until now: unless you are a VIP of some sort, you need to wait for a couple of years on the infamous Hermes waiting list. Well, the other side of the story is that you can walk in and out of an Hermes store with the bag of your dreams, as long as you keep in mind a few tips like befriending the sales assistants, remembering the power of persistance and bringing your dad along!
My friend Kimberly who I’ve introduced for her impeccable sense of style in a previous post was given the task to find a Birkin or Kelly for her boss, a task which she successful completed (see victory picture below!) and she is here to share her adventure for all the Birkin/ Kelly hunters out there in the interview below:
What’s the process involved in getting your hands on a Birkin or Kelly? Can we safely say the waiting list is a myth?
I think the best way is to frequent the stores and make friends with the sales assistants. They are usually nicer to you once they know you and you develop a relationship with them. Let them know what you are looking for. Sometimes they will ring you up if they see something suitable for you, but some stores have a stricter policy so you just have to visit the store as much as you can. Best time to go would be in the morning from 10am-12pm (in my opinion). The waiting list has been taken off as far as I know, so if they say there is one, THEY ARE LYING.
When do stores get their new stock every week?
Their stock is random and can be everyday and anyday, but I would say Saturday and Monday are the worst days to visit as there would usually be nothing. Also, during the summer, artisans take summer breaks so August is definitely a month with low stock.
Difference between the Paris store from other cities?
Paris stores are the most frequented by tourists who want to buy birkins/kellys so there isn’t that much a need to form relationships with Sales Assistans, as compared to other countries. They also have the most stock, but is coupled with high traffic of customers so it is a give and take.
It’s also said that sales assistants will only show these special items to clients who they think suit the brand and will be good represantives when they carry their Birkin/Kelly on the street. Any tips on how to get on the sales assistant’s good side, as you have been very successful with that?
It really depends on the sales assistants. I would say dress well, and look and act like you have the purchasing power. Always be nice and polite. You would be surprised at the number of rude customers these SAs have come across. It is always good to do your research in terms of size,material and colour so SAs know that you really like the brand, not just because it is the most coveted bag in the world. Lastly, chat with them even if they do not have any stock to offer to you. Always good to make friends!
How long did you have to try?
I would say about a month.
Can you give us details on your success visit to the Paris store, when you managed to get the bag?
I was offered a birkin 35 black togo, so kelly capucine togo, shoulder birkin capucine and the kelly 40 in London before, but they weren’t exactly what I wanted.
At the Paris Sevres store, I split up with my dad and told him what to say to the sales assistant. I had seen this sales assistant show another bag to another client so he was my target. Once he was free, my dad told him that he wanted to buy a 25 anniversary gift for his wife and wanted a 35 birkin or Kelly, preferably in bright colours. The SA said no Birkin but possibly Kelly. He then disappeared with my dad’s passport and came back with a 35 kelly capucine togo with gold hardware! We did not have to make other purchases prior to the bag. It was perfect!
To sum it up, it is always better for a guy to approach, as sales assistants are more receptive towards them. Always give a story behind the need for this purchase (birthday,anniversary etc), be specific in terms of size and colour (but give a few options) so you look like you know what you want, and be nice!
P.S. Be patient and don’t give up hope. The hunt makes it all worth while when you finally find your dream bag. Good luck!
Here it is, everything you need to know if you happen to be on the hunt for the ultimate arm candy, it’s no longer an insider’s secret. Let’s thank Kimberly for that!