Jane Birkin was flying from London to Paris in 1981 when she reached into her bag for her datebook and everything fell out. “I’d love a bag with pockets,” the English singer/actress told her seatmate.
Her seatmate just happened to the chairman of Hermès. He was a good listener. He had his designers make a bag with pockets, and he sent one to Birkin. Then he named it after her.
And then the fun began.
Everything at Hermès is expensive. Like: a scarf at $725. Or a leather shoulder bag at $6,500. The datebook Jane Birkin used? It now costs $1,025.
The Birkin bag, however, was in another league. Not only was it expensive, you couldn’t get one. Why? Oh, because each bag required 48 hours of craftsmanship. You know: “This isn’t a bag, it’s a work of art.”
Demand soon outstripped supply.
Well, not really. But that was the marketing line. And a genius one at that. Create a luxury item so special it doesn’t need a logo. Then make it scarce. Very scarce — at one point, Hermès announced there was a two-year waiting list. Which only made the Birkin more desirable.
It’s a venerable truth: Deny the rich what they want, and they’ll pay anything to get it.
— Huffington Post 2011
The design is extremely iconic. Any purseholic can spot a Herbag, or any other Hermès bag for that matter, from a mile away. The squarish shape, single handle and complicated closures are what makes Herbag a Herbag. But let’s just be honest, the functionality of this bag is not great. If the bag is closed properly, it would take a few complicated movements and that’s not a pretty sight when you need to pick up your ringing handphone. When not closed, the bag’s flap is jutting out and doesn’t look pretty at all. The back side has a single pocket fitted for an iPhone and a credit card or two so that you don’t have to open the bag every single time you need to texts or shops. The inside has a small pouch pocket, but the pocket is so slim it won’t fit more than a lipgloss and an iPod.