People from all around the world travel to Paris to try to get their hands on one of the most coveted bags of our time, the Hermes Birkin Bag. This uniquely handmade bag is extremely sought after by Hermes fanatics, celebrities, and bloggers. Purchasing a Birkin bag in Paris isn’t as simple as walking into a store, seeing a wide array of colors and then choosing your favorite color and leather. There is a lot more involved in the process. Today I’m going to share with you an insider’s guide to how to buy a Hermes Birkin bag in Paris.
Living in Paris for the past 4 years, I’ve met a variety of people in working in various positions. Some have worked at Hermes, and have provided me with tips and tricks on how to buy a Hermes Birkin bag in Paris. Below I’ve outlined steps to help you successfully purchase the Birkin bag of your dreams.
Book an Appointment on the Hermes Website
Before you can even see the Hermes Birkin, you must first get an appointment. Years ago, you had to wake up super early, stand in line outside the store and hope and pray that you would be chosen to talk with a sales associate. Now it’s a little more technological advanced. The day before you want to go to the Hermes store, you must go to their website on your smartphone and request an appointment. Be prepared to enter your name, phone number, and passport information. You can only book an appointment between 10:30am and 6:30PM on your smartphone. At exactly 7:30PM you will either receive a confirmation of your appointment at an allotted time or a rejection message.
It’s important to note, that the Hermes website does not accept appointments on Sunday. If you are looking to book an appointment for Hermes for Monday you must book it on Saturday.
It is possible, but not recommended, that if you don’t get an appointment the first time you request one, to go to the store, introduce yourself and try to see if an appointment as been cancelled.
Be Knowledgeable about the Hermes Brand and their Bags
Hermes loves people who are passionate about their brand. Before I purchased my Birkin bag, I did an endless amount of research on leather, color, hardware, stitching and how the bag is created. For most people, it’s a big investment to buy a Birkin bag, so you want to have ample amount of knowledge on the products.
When you are talking to your Sales Associate (SA) bring up the different colors that were released, talk about the different leathers, and then really emphasize which ones are your favorites. If you are open to multiple colors or leather types give the Sales Associate your options. I highly recommend you don’t say things like,” I’ll just take anything or any color.” For the Sales Associates this comes off like a red flag, suggesting that you might be a reseller. Even if isn’t true, give them 2 or 3 options of colors you would accept.
Have a Strong Hermes Buying History
Before I purchased my Hermes Birkin bag, I read over and over again that you must have a strong buying history to be offered a neutral color Hermes Birkin bag. However, given that I had no buying history when I purchased my Birkin bag, I don’t necessarily think that’s true. I do believe if your Sales Associate is on the fence about offering one and you have a strong buying history, it is more likely that they will offer you a Hermes Birkin bag. It’s also important to note, that your buying history doesn’t cross international waters. For example, if you have bought something in New York City, the Paris computers don’t have it registered.
Dress the Part
When I say dress the part, I’m not saying show up in a ball gown to Hermes, I’m saying look nice and if you have any designer pieces wear those. Hermes is notorious for providing Birkin bags to people who “fit the part” or look like they deserve a bag. When you walk into the Hermes store in Paris, be confident and dress in timeless pieces. Also, if you have any Hermes pieces already definitely wear those!
In photo I’m wearing a top from Bailey 44 Sloane Top (Size XS), leather pants, my black Birkin size 30, and Louboutin shoes.
Avoid going to Hermes in Paris during fashion week, weekends, and the month of August
One key piece of advice that is often not discussed is when do avoid going to Hermes in Paris to buy your Birkin bag. The most notable time to avoid a Hermes store is during fashion week. The reason is that many celebrities are going to Hermes purchasing the latest bags for fashion events. It is very unlikely that you’ll be able to purchase one during this time due to the stock being very low and being reserved for celebrities. Fashion week is two times a year in Paris, once typically at the end of September and the other being at the end of Feb / early March.
The other time to avoid is the weekend. It is often crowded and a Sales Associate won’t have as much time to spend with you. The final time to avoid shopping at a Hermes store in Paris is in August. This is when all the tourists go to Paris and try to get their hands on a famous Hermes bag. In addition to the tourist shopping, August is a month of holiday in France. Therefore, many of the workers who are normally creating the gorgeous Birkin bags are unavailable and most likely on holiday.
If you don’t get immediately get offered a Birkin Bag, don’t get discouraged
I’ve read many times that people have been rejected once while attempting to get a Birkin bag and have simply given up. This is a huge mistake. There is a lot of time and effort that goes into the detail of the Birkin Bag and quanities are limited.
Therefore if you show up it’s possible they don’t have any Birkin bags in stock or they are sold out the day you go. However, don’t get discouraged! The Hermes store in Paris is constantly getting in new inventory. I recommend if you live in a city with a Hermes store to build a relationship with your Sales Associate and have them inform you of when new shipments arrive.
Why is it so difficult to buy a Hermes Birkin Bag in Paris?
I get asked time and time again, why is it so difficult to get a Hermes Birkin bag in Paris. Many people become frustrated because they don’t understand why they can not purchase a bag if there is one at that retail location. There are a few reasons why it’s so difficult to be offered the opportunity to purchase a Hermes Birkin bag in Paris.
The first reason is quite simple, over the years the bags have become coveted by the elite and celebrities thus driving their resale value through the roof. For example, the cost of a Birkin bag in 2019 for a togo leather size 30 is 7,500 Euros in Paris. However, if you try to resell this same bag, you would be able to for at least 15,000 Euros if it is in pristine condition.
The second reason it’s so difficult to be offered the opportunity to buy a Hermes Birkin Bag is because there are only so many Birkin bags created and in circulation. There is roughly only 200,000 Birkin Bags in circulation, and for example, Victoria Beckham owns 100 Birkin bags.
Finally, Hermes does a really good job of creating a perfect supply and demand situation. The less supply they have the more demand there is.
Do you receive the tax refund on the Hermes Birkin Bag in Paris?
The great news for non-European Union citizens, is that if you spend over 175.01 Euros you’re entitled to the tax refund process in Paris. The tax refund includes the Hermes Birkin bag and other Hermes products! When you go to pay for your Hermes Birkin bag in Paris they will ask you for your passport and then ask if you want the paperwork for the tax refund process.
Recap on how to buy a Hermes Birkin bag in Paris?
In short the best way to be offered to buy a Hermes Birkin bag in Paris is to: 1. book an appointment online, 2. be knowledgeable about the Hermes brand, 3. be kind to your sales associate, 4. dress the part, 5. have a strong buying history, 6. don’t limit yourself to only one color and leather type (have a few options in mind) 7. and if at first you don’t succeed try, try, try again!
Sincerely Petite in Paris,