Why Are Birkin Bags So Expensive? The 6 Key Reasons Why

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The Hermès Birkin bag is one of the most famous luxury handbags in the world, but why are Birkin bags so expensive? We’re here to answer that question so you know exactly what you are paying for.

The Birkin bag was first added to the Hermès collection in 1984 and it has grown to sit at the top of the list of the most iconic bags in the world, now embedded into the folklore of this French fashion house and of fashion history.

Black Hermes Birkin 35 bag
© Andrea Astesiano | Depositphotos.com

However, this luxury handbag comes with a high price tag, so we are here to answer the question, why are Birkin bags so expensive? We will delve into the multiple different aspects of this bag, how it is made, and the mythology around it to discover exactly what you are paying for when you buy a Hermès Birkin bag.

The Birkin bag is seen as one of the best luxury investments since this bag is always in demand and the resale price of the handbag is often more than the price you will have originally paid for it – just another great reason to add a Birkin to your own handbag collection!

Why Are Birkin Bags so expensive?

There are many different aspects that have an effect on the price of a Birkin bag, so we are going to break it down into the 6 most important areas to help you understand what you are paying for. We have also listed some of the top Birkin bags that are worth the splurge!

1. Limited availability and exclusivity

One of the biggest parts that affects the price of a new Birkin bag as well as Birkin on the secondary market is the limited availability and exclusivity of this designer handbag. The Birkin bag is in high demand, which means there is always a waiting list of customers wanting to buy one of these designer bags.

This means Hermès can charge a high price for the Birkin bag since they know there are a lot of people who are willing to pay this much money to add one to their collection. The high demand and the fact that this Hermès bag is so difficult to get hold of only adds to the allure and demand for this handbag, meaning more people are added to the waiting list!

Due to the incredible craftsmanship and high-quality materials, which we will explore a little later, there are only a limited number of these bags made each year, making them a relatively rare bag in the fashion world. This rarity gives Hermès another reason to charge a high price since the rarity of the Birkin bag means people are willing to pay a lot to own this extra special and exceptional luxury bag.

The fact that these Hermès bags are hard to come by, with long waiting times and a limited supply, makes the resale price high, often more than the bag was originally, as this proves to be the quickest and easiest way to buy a Birkin bag.

2. Craftsmanship

The craftsmanship of these famous handbags will have an impact on the final retail price. All Hermès products are crafted in one of 17 workshops across France, filled with highly trained craftsmen who each are tasked with creating one bag or leather accessory from start to finish, like a work of art.

A single artisan undergoes years of training before they are permitted to create a Birkin bag, and each artisan will work for over 18 hours on one bag, beginning with choosing and cutting the leather, all the way through to placing the hardware and inspecting the bag to make sure there are no imperfections, marks or irregular stitching.

This incredibly high level of craftsmanship costs a lot of money, with so much time, attention, and training going into creating just one Birkin bag, which has an important effect on the price tag.

3. Materials

Just like many other luxury bags, the Birkin bag is most commonly made from leather, but there is a range of different leathers to choose from. Since Hermès is known for their incredibly high quality, the leather used is top quality and has been inspected for marks before it is made into a Birkin bag.

There are many types of high-grade leather available, each with its own grain and finish, including box leather, Togo leather, Epsom leather, Clemence leather, and Barenia leather. There is also a range of exotic leathers available, including crocodile, alligator, and ostrich skin – since these skins are much rarer and harder to source these exotic skin bags are much more expensive.

A Birkin bag crafted from Himalaya Matte Niloticus Crocodile is one of the most expensive bags available on the luxury fashion market.

Even the lining, a part of the bag that most will not see, is luxurious. Many Hermès Birkin bags are lined with goatskin leather, which is known for its durability, making it the perfect leather for the interior of a handbag.

The twist lock on the front of the Birkin bag is also made from high-quality metals – most commonly you will see gold plated or platinum plated, although there have been white gold and rose gold hardware available over the years. There have even been some special edition Birkin bags made in the past, featuring precious metals or diamond-encrusted hardware, for an even higher price tag.

The high-quality leather, the leather lining, and the gleaming hardware are all very expensive and incredibly luxurious, which obviously has a major impact on the high price of a Birkin bag.

4. The History of this Bag

The incredible origins and history of the Hermès Birkin bag also play a part in creating an allure around the bag and increasing the price tag. The Birkin bag began life as the Haut à Courroies, a bag designed for travel that was added to the Hermès collection in 1900.

In 1983, Jean-Louis Dumas, who was the chief executive of Hermès, just so happened to be sitting next to the English actress Jane Birkin on a flight. At one point, the contents of Birkin’s straw bag fell onto the floor and the actress commented on how difficult it was to find a good leather weekend bag. Dumas decided to take it upon himself to design a leather weekend bag and he based his design on the Haut à Courroies.

The bag was originally made and gifted to Jane Birkin, but soon the handbag became available to the public and it proved incredibly popular. In the 1990s, the Birkin bag really shot to fame and became the it bag it is seen as today. This rich history and amazing story have an effect on the price tag of a Birkin and how in-demand this luxury handbag is.

5. Status Symbol

The Birkin bag has been a famous handbag for decades now, and it is known as a very expensive and exclusive luxury bag. This reputation has made the Birkin bag into the ultimate status symbol, representing wealth and a highly fashionable style.

The status of a Birkin bag and what a Birkin represents has an effect on the final price tag of one of these bags, as Hermès knows a Birkin is a rare status symbol and they want to keep it this way with an expensive retail price. People are willing to pay a lot of money to own a Birkin bag and with that comes the wealthy and fashionable status.

The fact that this bag is now a status symbol makes the handbag even more in demand, again affecting the price since so many people will pay a lot to get their hands on this in-demand handbag.

6. Celebrities

The number of celebrities who have been spotted with a Birkin bag has had an effect on the price – not only do celebrity wearers increase the status and allure of a Birkin bag, but fans of the celebrity are then inspired to buy a Birkin bag, or at least add one to their wish list.

There are countless celebrities who have been spotted with a Hermès  Birkin bag, including Kim Kardashian, Kate Moss, Jennifer Lopez, Lady Gaga, Victoria Beckham, Kendall Jenner, Law Roach, and Winnie Harlow. These celebrities carrying a Birkin have played a part in the high price of one of these luxury handbags.

Birkin Bags That are worth the price tag!

There are so many incredible Birkin bags out there, so we have brought together some of the best Birkin’s that we think you need in your bag collection and are really worth the high price tag!

1. Hermès Birkin 30
Black Hermès 2022 Epsom Birkin 30
Browse Birkin 30 Bags on The RealReal
Orange Hermès 2023 Clemence Birkin 30
Browse Birkin 30 Bags on The RealReal

This beautiful Hermès Epsom Birkin 30 is a classic and timeless bag that will suit a wide range of outfits and would make an excellent heirloom piece.

This sleek black Birkin is made from textured Epsom leather and finished with palladium-plated hardware – including the turn lock and padlock engraved with the H logo. The interior features two pockets and is lined with Chevre Mysore goatskin leather for an ultra-luxurious look and feel.

For something a little brighter, opt for this vibrant orange Hermès Clemence Birkin 30! This striking Birkin is finished with gold-plated hardware, a belted front flap, rolled leather top handles, and two interior pockets.

We love the 30 size since it has plenty of room for your personal and work essential items, making it a fantastic work bag with an elegant and sophisticated look.  

2. Hermès Birkin 25
Taupe Hermès 2023 Togo Birkin 25
Browse Birkin 25 Bags on The RealReal
Blue Hermès Swift Birkin 25
Browse Birkin 25 Bags on The RealReal

This taupe color is a super versatile option that will suit a range of casual and smart outfits, making it a great addition to any handbag collection.

This Hermès Birkin 25 is made from Togo leather, which has a larger, grained finish and a softer feel, and then is embellished with palladium-plated hardware. The leather is finished with white topstitching, which really pops against the taupe shade.

A bold blue Hermès Swift Birkin 25 will add a wonderful pop of color to any outfit, while the 25 size is the ideal everyday handbag with enough room for your phone, keys, wallet, and more.

The swift leather has a smoother feel, which looks luxurious but is a little more delicate and may scratch. This Birkin is finished with all the important features, including palladium hardware, protective feet, and interior pockets.

3. Exotic Hermès Birkin Bags
White and grey Hermès Matte Niloticus Crocodile Himalaya Birkin 30
Browse Crocodile Birkin Bags on Fashionphile
Grey Hermès Ostrich Birkin 30
Browse Ostrich Birkin Bags on Fashionphile

If you are looking for a statement Birkin bag, then the Hermès Matte Niloticus Crocodile Himalaya Birkin 30 is perfect for you! This is one of the most expensive Birkin bags out there, crafted from the unusual Niloticus Crocodile.

The leather is finished with an ombre pattern that fades from grey to white and back to grey again for an eye-catching finish. The bag has palladium hardware and a grey goatskin interior.

For something a little more subtle but just as luxe, the Hermès Ostrich Birkin 30 is a great option. This Birkin bag is made from ostrich leather, which has the distinctive spotted finish that makes this bag so irresistible.

The dark grey tone of the leather is so versatile and the palladium hardware really sparkles against the dark shade. Inside you will find a goatskin lining and a zipper and pouch pocket.

We hope you found this article answering the question, of why are Birkin bags so expensive, helpful!

Up next: Hermès Birkin Prices In 2023: Here’s What All The Models Cost

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