To understand the price of the Birkin, it’s essential to look at the design and making process of the handbag. From sourcing the materials (which we will also talk about later), to training craftsmen for years before they can take part in the making of a Birkin bag, Hermès ensures top quality during every step of the process. Instead of separating the procedure of creating the bag, one craftsman is responsible for creating the Birkin, which takes an average 48 hours to make. As Ashley Shirley, one of the artists that are collaborating with Hermès, told Elle, there is an “Hermès waiting time” for every collection: hers, inspired by nature and fantasy took almost two years to get in to stores.
On very special Hermès Birkins, we can find a small horseshoe stamp right next to the logo, which signifies that it was specifically made for a top collector’s request. This process is known as ‘Special Order’ and is limited to a certain number a year. The unique features can be anything from a special hardware finish, colourful stitching or contrasting interior and exterior leathers. This little detail, showing that the bag is extraordinary and personal, made especially for someone, can increase the auction price by 150-200%.
Another crucial part of the creation of the Hermès Birkin is sourcing the materials. As an artisan working for the luxury house told Vogue, they only use the top ten per cent of leather they receive, and with exotic leathers (such as crocodiles), it can take years of waiting until the leather is available for use. This attention to detail and slow manufacturing guarantees exclusivity in both availability and price: as the handbags are individually made from rare materials, stores can only get a low supply of them each season.
Sticking to the successful formula could be an obvious choice, but not at Hermès. The Birkin bag, alongside many other pieces such as the Constance bag has gone through amazing limited editions style changes throughout the years. The 2009 Birkin shadow, which played with different visual illusions was favoured by celebrities and designers such as Marc Jacobs, while the 2010 So-Black collection made the strap disappear with an all-black leather and hardware design.
It’s not a surprise that the Birkin comes in many different colour options: for those seeking monochrome shades, there is a selection of greys, natural browns and black. For the collectors who are looking for something more seasonal, Hermès offers a wide range of shades so you can find the perfect one for you. It was even reported by the BBC, since the Birkin’s debut, the luxury house released the Birkin in 25 different blue shades including Ciel, Blue Jean and Bleu Cobalt.
Himalaya Matte Niloticus Crocodile Leather Birkin 30 cm (unknown) – A stunning Birkin with rare, white and taupe crocodile leather exterior and palladium hardware. Click here to shop.
Gris Mouette & Blue Agate Togo Leather Verso Birkin 35 cm (2016) – This limited edition bag has a vibrant blue interior with grey exterior and palladium hardware. Click here to shop.
Orange H Togo Leather Birkin 35 cm (2007) – A classic orange Birkin with matching interior and the signature palladium hardware. Click here to shop.
To see our full collection of the exclusive, pre-loved Birkin handbags, please click here.