Why Is Hermès So Expensive? Here Are The 4 Key Reasons

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Hermès is one of the top luxury fashion houses in the world with high price tags, but why is Hermès so expensive? We’re here to give you all the answers to that question.

If you know anything about luxury fashion and designer handbag, you will know that the Hermès Birkin bag is one of the most sought-after handbags in the world and often feature on lists of the most expensive handbags. It is not just Birkin bags that have a high price, but all Hermès items – including clothing, shoes, and jewelry – are pretty expensive, but why is this?

Bright blue Hermes Kelly bag
©Igor Zakirov | Depositphotos.com

This article is here to answer the question, of why is Hermès so expensive, delving into the craftsmanship, materials, and rich history of this luxury brand to show you why you have to pay so much for that Hermès handbag.

We will also take a look at some of the best-selling Hermès luxury goods that are great investment pieces you should splurge on!

Why is Hermès so expensive?

There are many different aspects that all have an impact on the price of an Hermès product, so we are going to break it down so you know exactly what you are paying that high price for.

1. Craftsmanship

The French fashion house is world-renowned for its high-quality craftsmanship, with artisans spending hours on one product to ensure a top-standard finish. There are 17 Hermès leather workshops across France, each with numerous highly-trained craftsmen that work tirelessly to create all of the Hermès leather goods.

All Hermès craftsmen have to be trained at the brand’s workshop for one year to guarantee they have mastered all of the techniques used in crafting Hermès leather goods and they have the precision and concentration needed to create Hermès bags.

Hermès is unique in that a single artisan crafts a piece from start to finish, rather than one item moving between multiple different craftsmen, making each item like a work of art. This means that one craftsman can spend between 15 and 24 hours to complete a handbag – these hours and hours of craftsmanship factor into the final price of an Hermès piece, causing a high price.

The Kelly bag, for example, is one of the most difficult bags to create for an artisan, requiring 36 pieces of leather and 15 to 20 hours to time to create the bag. This same high standard and attention to detail is carried through the 51 workshops in France that create the full range of Hermès products from clothing to perfume to silk.

2. Materials

Just like the craftsmanship, the materials used by this luxury are very high quality too, which causes all Hermès items to have a high price, but it also means they really stand the test of time and are a great investment to add to your wardrobe. There is a wide range of leathers and skins used by Hermès, and each has been expertly sourced and processed to ensure a luxurious finish.

Calf leather is one of the most popular materials used by Hermès, with a whole range of types available, each with a different texture and finish. Box calf leather, Togo leather, Epsom leather, and swift leather are some of the most common types of leather you will see throughout Hermès bags.

There are also some more unusual options that are even more pricey, such as Chèvre de Coromandel leather from male mountain goats, Buffalo Skipper leather, and Buffalo Sindhu leather.

Hermès is a leather goods brand that makes use of exotic skins, which are rare and therefore expensive to source and create a handbag from, meaning an exotic leather bag will have a higher price than a calf leather bag. Alligator leather, lizard skin, ostrich leather, and crocodile leather are all used in Hermès bags; the most expensive being the Crocodile Porosus leather from saltwater crocodiles across Australia and Southeast Asia

3. Exclusivity and Availablity

Another reason why Hermès bags are so expensive is because of their exclusivity and availability – this aspect affects both Hermes leather goods when they are new and the resale price, meaning Hermès products have a high price tag, no matter where you buy them from.

Since Hermès pieces, particularly the leather items, take so long to make, there are only a limited number created each year but the waiting list and demand remain very high. This means that Hermès can charge a high price for their bags, knowing there are lots of customers willing to pay this price to get their hands on a Hermès luxury bag.

There are certain bags, like the Birkin bag and Kelly bag that have a particularly high demand and therefore an expensive price tag. This limited availability then affects the second-hand market of Birkin handbags and small leather goods.

Since new items are so difficult to get hold of and the fact there is a long waiting list, many turn to the resale market to purchase a Hermès bag, where they are sold for a high price, sometimes even higher than the original price of the bag. The limited supply of certain bags, like the Birkin and Kelly, means that an Hermès boutique will not just sell one of these bags to anyone.

If you have purchased lots of pieces from Hermès and know the sales associate well, there is a higher chance you will be notified when a Hermès Birkin bag arrives in store for you to purchase – this is another reason why Birkin bags are so expensive on the second-hand market.

4. Hermès History and status

The rich history of Hermès and the high status of the brand only create more demand for Hermès pieces and create higher prices. Hermès was founded in 1837 and has been creating exquisite leather goods ever since, perfecting the art of sourcing materials and honing techniques to ensure a high-quality finished product.

Hermès started with equestrian gear that was sound to the wealthy members of European society before they moved into handbags and later ready-to-wear clothing and jewelry.

Two of the most expensive Hermès bags, the Birkin and the Kelly are so in demand and beloved because of their history and how they gained their name. The Birkin bag is named after the English actress Jane Birkin and was created after Birkin noted to Hermès chief executive Jean-Louis Dumas on a flight how she couldn’t find a suitable handbag to carry airport essentials that would then fit in the overhead compartment.

This prompted Dumas to rework the existing Haut à Courroies bag into the Hermès Birkin bag in 1984.

Similarly, the Kelly bag was originally called the Sac-à-Dépêches but was renamed the Kelly bag in 1977 after Grace Kelly was photographed with this bag hiding her baby bump in 1956.

Hermès Birkin and Kelly bags are now some of the most popular handbags in the world, with countless celebrities, including Victoria Beckham, Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, and Gwyneth Paltrow, often spotted carrying these stunning handbags.

Best-selling Hermès luxury goods

Here are some of the top Hermès pieces that we think deserve a place in your wardrobe, despite the high price tag!

1. Birkin bags
Tan Hermès Togo Birkin 30 Bag
Browse Hermès Birkin Bags on Fashionphile
Red Hermès Ostrich Birkin 30 Bag
Browse Hermès Birkin Bags on Fashionphile

As already established, the Hermès Birkin bag is an iconic piece that is a fantastic investment and the perfect heirloom piece to pass down the generations. There are so many different variations of the Birkin bag available now, with different sizes, colors, and types of leather on offer, so you can really choose the best option to suit you.

If you are looking for something neutral that will suit any outfit, this Hermès Togo Birkin 30 is a great bag to go for; crafted from grained togo leather in the tan gold shade and finished with gleaming gold-plated hardware.

If you want a bag that is a little more a statement, then you need this red Hermès Ostrich Birkin 30 in your life! The red ostrich leather is attention-grabbing and perfectly paired with gold hardware to create a gorgeous bag that is the ultimate status symbol.

2. Kelly Bags
Black Hermès Epsom Kelly II Sellier Bag
Browse Hermès Kelly Bags on The Real Real
Pink Hermès 2021 Epsom Mini Kelly II Sellier Bag
Browse Hermès Kelly Bags on The Real Real

The Kelly has a similar look to the Birkin, just with a slightly more structured silhouette and one top handle instead of two. This Hermès Epsom Kelly II Sellier is just beautiful and totally irresistible. The black Epsom leather is versatile enough to suit work and weekend looks, while the goatskin-lined interior features three pockets so it’s easy to remain organized.

The Mini Kelly, just like this pink Hermès Epsom Mini Kelly II Sellier, has become particularly popular recently. The dainty size is compact but is just ideal for evening wear, while the top handle and shoulder strap means you can style this bag in many different ways. The palladium-plated hardware really sparkles against the pale pink Epsom leather.

3. Hermès Jewelry
Black and gold Hermès Shiny Alligator Lizard Kelly Double Tour Bracelet
Browse Hermès Bracelets on Fashionphile
Pink and rose gold Hermès Rose Gold Lacquered Mini Pop H Earrings
Browse Hermès Earrings on Fashionphile

We love the range of jewelry available from Hermès, often featuring motifs that reference iconic Hermès designs.

The Hermès Kelly Double Tour Bracelet is a great example of this, with the famous Kelly turn lock that you will see on Kelly bags securing this bracelet around your wrist. This example of the Hermès Kelly Double Tour Bracelet is crafted from black alligator and lizard leather, for a stunning textural look, and then finished with gold-plated hardware.

If you are looking for something a little more subtle but just as glamorous, these Hermès Rose Gold Lacquered Mini Pop H Earrings are a great option. These delicate earrings are ideal for everyday wear, with a pale pink H design framed by glittering rose gold. There are lots of different colors available to suit any personal style.

We hope you found this article answering the question, of why is Hermès so expensive, helpful! For more luxury fashion content, check out the links below.

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