If you're a fashionista, you're no stranger to Hermès Birkin bags. These expensive bags are known for their excellent handmade craftsmanship and exclusivity. In fact, the Hermès Birkin is the most Instagrammed bag of all time, with over 5.9 million posts! So, what makes these the most desired designer purses, and in terms of your wallet, why are Birkin bags so expensive?
Well, when you combine the luxury brand of Hermés with the internationally known British actress and singer Jane Birkin, it results in what are now the most expensive Hermés bags in the world.
History of Hermes and the Birkin bag
The Hermés Brand is a family-owned French business that was first established in 1837. It may surprise you that Thierry Hermès started this company making bridles, harnesses, and other accessories for horses! However, it wasn't until 1922 that the first leather handbags made their debut for people.
Fast forward to 1983 on a flight from Paris to London. This was when Hermès chief executive Jean-Louis Dumas sat next to Jane Birkin, the English actress, and the idea for the most expensive Birkin bags in the world would transpire.
The actress was well-known for carrying a wicker basket when she traveled, which she filled with everything from diapers to groceries. But when she placed her bag in the aircraft's overhead compartment, the lid fell off and all her things spilled onto the floor.
This was when she complained to Jean-Louis Dumas about not being able to find a leather bag that was both stylish and useful. Thus, the idea for Hermes Birkin bags was born.
How much for a Birkin bag why so expensive?
Talk about being in the right place at the right time! The pair spent the flight sketching handbag designs on the back of a sick bag, and a year later, Dumas presented Birkin with the final bag design. The Hermés Brand has been in business for six generations and is now run by CEO Axel Dumas.
So, how much for a Birkin bag? As with most items, it depends on many factors: style, type of leather, the Birkin bag size, and of course, demand. The traditional leathers cost around $10,000 to $15,000 in-store. For instance, the Hermés Birkin size 25 starts at about $12,000.
However, the most expensive Hermés bags are made with exotic leather and can run $25,000 and up. The most expensive Birkin bag is over six figures with the top price being half a million dollars for a single bag.
Birkin bag why so expensive?
So, why are Birkin bags so expensive? The story behind the bag answers part of this question, but there are yet more factors that explain why these are the most expensive Hermès bags in the world.
One of the main reasons why Birkin bags are so expensive is due to the exclusivity of these purses. You cannot just walk into a store and buy one; you need to build a spending history and relationship with a sales associate.
Even then, more than likely, you still may not be able to score one. In fact, in the past, there's been a Hermès Birkin bag waiting list of six years! Part of the reason for this is they're shipped sporadically in limited quantities.
Another reason why these are the most expensive Birkin bags is that they are known as the "Celebrity It bag." Kim Kardashian, Kate Moss, Jennifer Lopez, Mariah Carey, and many more celebrities sport these designer purses.
It's no secret that this bag is a wealth status symbol. And as these bags aren't mass-produced instead they are handmade. And each bag is made by a single craftsperson with years of training. This means there are only a limited total number of Birkin bags being produced at a given time.
When it comes to the Hermès Birkin bags, it's quality over quantity. Again these are not mass-produced like many purses; these are handmade in France by trained artisans.
They use the company's saddle stitching which was developed back in the 1800s. Each bag can take days to make, and there are no other makers in the world.
The most expensive Hermès bags are made with exotic leathers such as crocodile, ostrich, lizard, and goatskin. The hardware, such as the buckles, keys, and locks, use gold or palladium plating, which are precious metals.
You can even have a custom-made bag that's accented with diamonds. This is why the value of these bags is so high and really helps answer "why are Birkin bags so expensive?"
Resellers drive up costs in the preowned market
Since it's so hard to attain a Birkin bag at a Hermes boutique, it has driven up the price in the preowned market. Due to demand and exclusivity, resellers can command an average of two to four times the cost of the bag from the store!
In fact, resellers "flourished" during the COVID-19 lockdown. Luxury fashion shoppers' inability to shop in person turned them to the preowned market to find their dream bags. However, these bags continue to command a high price tag due to limited availability.
The Himalaya Birkin bag
If you've been wondering why are Birkins so expensive, know that they do range in price considerably. At the higher end of the scale is the Himalayan Birkin bag which was priced at $500,000 when sold to David Oencea.
Another example of one of the most expensive Hermes bags in the world is the Himalaya Kelly. This Hermes crocodile bag was sold at auction for $437,330 in 2020.
The bag is an exclusive accessory being the rarest in the world. It's made with Nile crocodile skin dyed with coloration meant to induce images of the Himalayan mountains. This is a difficult process that takes hours to complete.
The diamond Himalaya Birkin bag is dripping in absolute luxury. It features 18-karat white gold hardware and white diamonds as accents.
The Cadena lock is 18-karat white gold, weighs over 68 grams, and has 1.64 carats worth of glittering diamonds. The bag features studs of over 200 diamonds that total 8.2 carats.
The original retail price of this bag was in the multi-six figures, but when you combine precious metals, diamonds, and a rarity, it skyrockets the value.
Sites to learn all about Birkin bags
Before we get into where to buy a Birkin, check out sites so you can learn more about them. These sites are like a designer purse 101 for fashion lovers!
They have information and discussions on luxury handbags by brands like Hermés, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and more.
Our favorites are Pursebop, Purse Blog, Christie's, and Sotheby's to learn everything about Hermés Birkin bags and more!
Where to buy a Birkin
Now that you know why Birkin bags are so expensive, you may decide it's worth the investment. Although perhaps instead of buying the Himalayan Birkin bag, you have your sights set on another more attainable option.
But before we cover where to buy a Birkin, we want to stress the importance of purchasing designer handbags from reputable sellers.
There are so many luxury product scams, and you don't want to waste your money on a knock-off Hermès Birkin bag! So, do as much research as possible and only purchase from sellers that guarantee authenticity. Otherwise, you may wind up with a costly fake purse.
Buy a Birkin directly from a store
You can buy directly from a Hermès boutique, but it's perhaps not the easiest or fastest way to get your dream bag. The key is to stick to one store, build a relationship with a sales associate you connect with and express your dream of owning a Hermès bag without being pushy.
Buy a Hermés bag from reputable resellers
The easier way to buy a Birkin bag is from reputable resellers and tapping into the preowned market. Sites such as Fashionphile.com, therealreal.com, annsfabulousfinds.com, and vestiairecollective.com are the best places to buy authentic designer purses.
These sites guarantee the authenticity of their products, which prevents you from purchasing counterfeit items. Keep in mind though, that you will be paying a premium for this convenience.
Authenticate your reseller purchase
You can take things a step further by having your bag authenticated. Having your bag certified proves that it's authentic which will help if you ever decide to resell it.
The most popular authenticator is Bababebi Authentication Services. Another inexpensive way to authenticate your purse is via the Purse Forum "Hermés authentication threads."
It's good to ensure you purchased a genuine Birkin bag! So, now you know where to buy a Birkin so let's get into how you can save for one!
How to save for a Birkin if it's on your ultimate dream list
Yes, the most expensive Hermés bags can indeed reach into the six-figures, such as the Himalayan Birkin bag, but there are many other styles of Birkin bags that may be on your dream shopping list. Alternatively, you might rent a designer handbag instead.
The most important thing to remember is to save for your dream bag and NOT charge it and rack up credit card debt. High interest will make that purse cost so much more than it should.
So, to save for your desired Birkin bag, you need to understand what the bag's high price could mean for your finances.
For instance, let's say the bag you want costs around $15,000, and you want to buy one in two years. So, you would take $15,000 and divide it into 24 months. So, $15,000 divided by 24 equals $625 a month.
To purchase your dream bag, you need to save roughly $157 a week. When you break it down into smaller goals it makes it easier to achieve!
Now you know the exact amount of money you need to save each month to buy a Birkin bag. There are a few different ways you can accomplish this.
1. Start a side-hustle
One of the easiest ways to save more money is to earn more money! Starting a side hustle is the perfect way to help you save up to buy a Birkin!
You can actually make a lucrative income depending on which side hustle you choose. Virtual assistants, Freelance Writers, and coaches easily make over $20 an hour! You could work about 8 hours a week and make your savings goal.
2. Start a money-savings challenge
It's much easier to stick to something like saving money when you make it fun. Money-savings challenges and money-savings charts are great ways to motivate you to save money!
For instance, the save $10,000 in a year challenge can make you reach your goal even faster. Having a visual tracker helps you stay focused on your goal much easier too.
3. Cut expenses
Another simple way to save more money for your Birkin bag is to cut your budget. This is when you cut expenses such as cable or other unnecessary things from your budget.
In fact, the average cable bill costs $85 a month. So check out cable alternatives to save that money for what you truly want. You can also find other crazy ways to save money to bulk up your account faster!
4. Automate your savings
One of the easiest ways to save to buy a Birkin is to automate your savings. This is when you set up automatic transfers into your savings account.
So, you would set up to transfer $157 a week from your checking to your savings. This keeps you from spending the money you are trying so hard to save for your new bag.
5. Open a dedicated account for your expensive Birkin bag
The best way to save for something specific such as a Birkin bag is to open a dedicated account for it! My favorite way to do this is to open a Christmas Club Account.
You can't withdraw from a Christmas Club Account without a penalty, so it helps prevent tapping into that money. A regular savings account is too accessible. so a Christmas Club Account makes you think twice before dipping into it!
So, why are Birkins so expensive? It comes down to demand and exclusivity!
If you've been wondering, "why are Birkin bags so expensive?", it's basically due to demand and exclusivity driving up the cost. But, of course, the excellent craftsmanship, along with being adorned with precious metals, plays a big part too!
So, although they are costly, saving for one is possible if you truly desire to own one. However, before you start saving for a Birkin (especially a Himalayan Birkin bag) be sure you have a decent emergency fund built up and are debt-free. Prioritizing your finances should always come before luxury purchases.
Also, don't fall into thinking that designer bags are a better investment than financial assets. Most bags lose value unless they are in pristine condition and even then can not bring in as much money as you hope.
Instead, learn how to invest your money wisely with our completely FREE investment courses!