Why Birkin Bags Are So Expensive | So Expensive

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Narrator: Hermès
Birkin bags are some of the most expensive
bags in the world, ranging anywhere
from $9,000 to half a million dollars. The bags embody
absolute luxury. – A Birkin bag? – You’ve heard of it? – Of course. That’s a very nice purse. Narrator: The exclusive
accessory’s even considered by some to
be a better investment than gold or
the stock market. And the world’s
most expensive bag is an Hermès
Himalaya Birkin bag that sold for $500,000. So what is it that makes
Birkin bags so expensive? The story of the bag begins
with its namesake: Jane Birkin. On a flight from Paris to
London, the English actress happened to be seated next
to the chief executive of Hermès,
Jean-Louis Dumas. Pilot: Flight attendants,
please prepare for takeoff. Narrator: Jane was
known for carrying a wicker basket
wherever she went and used it for everything
from groceries to diapers. When she tried to fit
her famous basket in the overhead
compartment, the lid came off, spilling the
contents everywhere. Jane complained
to her seatmate that it was impossible to
find a weekend bag she liked. Dumas introduced himself
as the head of Hermès, and the pair spent the flight
sketching possible handbag designs on the back of
an airplane sick bag. A year later,
Dumas presented Jane with the Birkin bag, a spacious yet
sophisticated leather design perfect for everyday use. The Birkin’s pockets made
it highly functional, and the bag seals to prevent
anything from spilling. Hermès makes
the bags in France using premium materials like calf skin, alligator skin, and even ostrich skin. Each bag is made
entirely by hand. Although Birkins are one
of the most exclusive and sought-after bags
today, they actually weren’t all that popular
when they first launched. It wasn’t until the
’90s that the Birkin became one of the
it-bags of the era. Now they’re the
ultimate status symbol. Victoria Beckham
reportedly has a collection of over 100 Birkins,
estimated to be worth over $2 million,
and Singaporean socialite and entrepreneur
Jamie Chua is considered to have the world’s
largest Birkin collection with over 200 bags. But you can’t just walk
into Hermès and get one. While there used to
be a wait list, nowadays all you can do is hope to be
important enough or spend enough to be
offered a Birkin bag. And if you’re
offered one, don’t expect to be able to
choose the color or size. Hermès also places limits
on how many Birkin bags a client can
purchase per year. This dedication to preserving the exclusivity of the bag has certainly paid off,
and the disparity in demand and access has created a
thriving resale market. A 2017 study
revealed that the value of Hermès Birkin bags has increased 500%
in the last 35 years, an increase of 14% per year. One of the most
coveted models comes from Hermès’
Himalaya collection, which comes in three sizes. Often referred to as the
holy grail of handbags, the white Himalaya Birkin
bag features 18-karat white gold hardware and
more than 200 diamonds. The 35-centimeter model
in particular is very rare and has sold at record
prices year after year. Most recently in 2019, it sold for over
half a million dollars. Professional sports betting
consultant David Oancea, also known as Vegas Dave, made the record-breaking
purchase. David Oancea: The reason
I bought the Birkin bag is I love breaking records. I broke all the sports
betting records, I wanted to break the
most-expensive-bag record. I’m all about raising the bar. Also, it’s about
supply and demand. The only other
one in the world is by Steve Harvey’s wife, so there’s only
two in the world. Not even Kim Kardashian
has this, so I actually bought it for content,
believe it or not, so I could take
videos with it, pictures of it, getting
people to talk about me. Narrator: The
record-breaking sale actually took place over social media. Oancea: Sale was
pretty easy. I posted on social
media, I have about a million followers, that
I’m looking for a bag. This lady hit me
up, Privé Porter. She messaged me, said
she’d get me the bag. I realized it was
the most expensive bag. She said it would
break the record. And this is for
sure the record, $500,000? – Absolutely, most
expensive bag ever sold. Oancea: We closed this deal
in about three to four days, really, really fast. I actually do use the bag. Most people think I’m crazy. They put it away
like in a safe, and they never
touch it again. I’ve taken it out twice,
once to a night club in Vegas as a great piece of content. It’s definitely worth
the cost ’cause you could offer me a million dollars
cash, and I wouldn’t sell it. My asking price is $2 million. If not, I’ll just keep
the d— thing. Narrator: It’s also
made with white or albino crocodile skin,
which is extremely rare. The costly skin is
painstakingly dyed to emulate
the snowy appearance of the Himalayan
mountains. Mason Howell: The high
retail value and resale value is because these
are pieces of artwork. These artisans
train years and years to make one
of these bags, and they may even
train 10 years before even they’re
allowed to make a Birkin. Narrator: Another reason
for the bag’s high price of course is the
limited availability. The total number of Birkin
bags Hermès produces each year is a
well-guarded secret, but it’s estimated
that there may be around
200,000 in circulation. And for the
luxury resale market, Birkin bags are
a hot commodity. Online retailer Privé Porter uses Instagram
and WhatsApp to sell the bags online, and luxury
reseller The Real Real has hundreds of Birkins
available at any given time, many of which
are priced well above the
original retail cost. Howell: The Birkin
bag does retain and sometimes
exceeds its value. It really does depend on
the leather, the color, the size of the bag,
you know, the hardware. There are so many factors
that go into pricing a Birkin that it could really vary. However, if you do buy a
Birkin, let’s say in 2004, and maybe the retail at
that time was $5,000, you most likely will
be able to sell it, even if you have worn
it so many times, for $5,000, $6,000. Narrator: Even as resellers
like The Real Real and Privé Porter
have made more Birkins available than ever, the prices
haven’t gone down. Howell: If you go to
Hermès, you may not always get the exact color,
size, that you want. Here, we have almost
every single option, and if that means you have
to pay a small premium, people and our clients
are willing to do so. Even though that there
has been such a saturation of these bags, not one
bag is the same. So let’s say an Etain Birkin
35 with gold hardware, we only have one right
now, and if it’s sold, we may not get
another for a while, so someone’s looking for
that, and they’d be willing to pay an extra maybe
$10,000 to get that bag as soon as possible, and all
these bags are handmade, artisan craftsmanship.
It’s a piece of artwork. Not one is the same,
not even one stitch. Narrator: So if you have an
extra $10,000 lying around, it could be worthwhile
to invest it in a Birkin. Just make sure that you’re
not falling for a fake. From Canal Street
in New York City to websites like eBay,
the counterfeit market is full of luxury knockoffs, and Birkins are no exception. Back in 2012, Hermès
sued several websites for selling fake products and won $100
million in damages. That same year, French
police cracked down on an international crime
ring that was manufacturing counterfeit Birkin bags. The crime ring reportedly
included actual Hermès employees. Only two employees
were arrested, but Hermès believed that
several other employees could have been involved. And despite all their
efforts, fake products continue to
flood the market. The quality of
counterfeit bags has also vastly
improved over the years, making it difficult to tell whether a bag
is real or fake. However, there
are a few tricks to spotting a fake Birkin. Howell: The handle
should never be too long. If they look too long,
longer than the bag, then it is
most likely inauthentic. The hardware shouldn’t be
too shiny or protrude out, and the feet, another big
thing, it’s one of the best things I always
check, is that the feet should never screw off.
They are hammered in. The leather itself should feel
very supple, very luxurious. Narrator: And if the price
seems too good to be true, it probably is. While many other handbag
styles have come and gone, it looks like the Birkin
is here to stay. And the bag has become
synonymous with status in a way that many other
luxury goods have yet to. Despite its popularity, the bag features
no prominent logos and is only recognizable
to people who already know what it is. In Birkin, Hermès has
created something that feels inaccessible
and thus highly exclusive. As for whether the Birkin
will always be so expensive, only time will tell.

100 COMMENTS

  1. Stupid people buying ridiculously expensive bags.. No logical reason why it's expensive but the seller just want to be that way.. There are lots of people dying of hunger why not use it of helping people.. Oh yeah come on bash me! Stupidity at its worst!

  2. jeeez, so much trouble and money to get a bag. it's nothing special, IT'S JUST A BAG. and if it's made for working women, then why can't a middle class woman afford it?

  3. Jane Birkin herself said that the bag is overpriced now and has become a ridiculous status symbol. She was on a Japanese TV show a couple of years and they presented her with a Birkin bag. She said something like "This bag is meant to be used, and worn out and live. You stuff all your things in there. This bag is too new , too stiff ! Let me show you!" She then stuffed some magazines and things in it, put it on the floor and started stomping it and jumping on it. The TV hosts were screaming ! She then handed them the bag back "There ! you see! It's solid! It won't break! It's supposed to be used and live and be mistreated! It's not just a pretty thing!" All this from the woman who inspired the bag.

  4. That eBay ad said “Birkin style handbag”, just means it’s a bag that has a similar look to it.
    Now if it says genuine or authentic Hermes brand Birkin then its a problem.
    Also years ago cruelty free make up companies would just go to other companies to get the testing & information from the labs and then technically it wasn’t their company doing the testing.

  5. Imagine the workers that created the bag using no fancy gloves just their bare hands and probably throwing everything around and yet the buyers out here wearing special gloves and handling it like a hair strand.

  6. I rather buy a birkin, chanel or ysl its amazing to have it as an investment not like Gucci or louis v its ugly when they want to put the logo all over the bag.

  7. This is why humanity totally and utterly suxs.
    Please wake up!
    This brand exploits calves, alligators and ostriches.
    The brutality wildlife suffers for a bag!
    I'm embarrassed for Hermes.

  8. I love the look of the bag. I love real leather bags, usually I will send about $100 bucks tops. You can find nice quality bags at a discount. You dont have to pay the equivalent of a house for one…SMDH🤦🏼‍♀️

  9. omg the guy that paid half a million dollars for a bag…his reasons for buying it is just pathetic and don't make any sense whatsoever 😒

  10. this bag hysteria reminds me of the tulip craze back in Holand in the 1600s. The whole economy was based on tulips. then the bottom just fell out. Someone finally woke up and realized that the item was not worth the value that people put on it. The purses look ok. but I prefer coach. NO ONE is going to tell me what color or size I can buy…If I spend the money, I CHOOSE. kind of rubs me wrong.

  11. Oh good for you you're such a high status person who has the morals of a troll to think you have the right to kill an animal to make you look good to other people…how sick

  12. I hate the fact tha NO ONE talks about how is made of animal skin, is gorgeous I know but is also very very very cruel, we need to start talking about how this luxury branda use animal skin for their own benefit

  13. It's better to Donate that kind of Super Expensive price to the poor people!, you'll go to heaven after you death..hopefully

  14. So these people will pay $500K for a bag made by a skilled artisan by hand. But when the sous-chef at the San Francisco or New York or Tokyo restaurant uses his culinary education to prepare a delicious meal for them and then says he wants to be paid a living wage these rich people scream SOCIALISM. SMH

  15. So absurd….what is the big deal of this bag? Anyone paying this much for a bag needs their head examined. You are better off buying a Chanel bag.

  16. Birkin bags are so expensive because the wise will always devise ways to live off of the foolish. People always fall for the hype because so many others are doing the same.

  17. Girls mistaken buying pleasure not happiness. Girls think buying a stupidly expensive bag will make them happy. It won't. It will buy them pleasure for until the novelty wears off. Of course guys suffer buying them this bag because after the novelty wears off….she will want another one….thus women should never be in charge.

  18. I love that bag and the Kelly but honestly… I don't know if I'd ever buy one, even if it was fake or I became rich AF…I just have a love-hat relationship with the way Hermés works. and while I'm nowhere near joining PETA, I can't justify killing a rare species to make bags

  19. Birkin bag is for gold diggers. Jamie chua is a singaporean gold digger who married chinese indonesia rich tycon. All for money. Now she divorce him. In my mind, birkin bag is for GOLD DIGGERS STATUES

  20. The bags are kinda ugly tho??? Like I’m sorry but albino alligators?? That’s horrible. They honestly look like something you would find at a thrift store.

  21. Does anyone else think that this is absolutely ridiculous? When you die, you don't take anything with. Plus its not a very good looking bag lol.

  22. These bags are the same as diamonds ….. they are only worth as much as we as consumers make them worth. Keep on producing the crap out of them and they will not be a investment any more !

  23. I think these are the ugliest bags ever. And I don't understand the locking thing. Who wants to go thru all the crap involved in unlocking and then unfolding and disconnecting all the flaps on the top just to get in it for your wallet or lipstick?!!

  24. Yeah but this bag will never match up to the elite craftsmanship that is a large mc Café paper to-go bag with handles.

  25. My bag cost 23 dollar it looks beautiful its pink and its stylish and I used it very rough and I am using that for five years but still it looks brand new not a one scratch

  26. They dont even look that good !
    Louis Vuitton is SO MUCH BETTER.
    Birkins have no good design for the money you pay. This is so unnecessary and stupid 😆
    The process of getting one, you basically have to be royalty or a billionaire. They wont even look or talk to you if you look poor.
    These look like bags you can get at walmart or a marshalls.
    I have a leather black bag that was 70 bucks and still looks like new. Had it for over 4 years. Birkins probably break down after a year. The behavior is absolutely disgusting just to buy a LUXURY HANDBAG. Its literally a bag. Not a precious diamond 😂😂😂😂
    They way they treat you is ridiculous. You have to be important enough and look good enough to even get them to acknowledge you.
    Louis Vuitton will sell anyone a bag. So will gucci or chanel! Anyone can buy those luxury purses. But a birkin you have to be a billionaire with status.

  27. This Is just totally non Sense bullshitt!! Why people have become so narrow minded as to buy these kind of bullshitt? They are so fcking lost…so miserable.

  28. I find it truly sad how so many people completely miss the whole point that video was trying to make, just because they are too frustrated about themselves not being rich to even consider that something expensive might actually have an equivalent worth.
    For everyone who didnt get it: The Birkin isnt intended as a Status Symbol, and most people dont buy it for that reason. Hermes put no Logo on it, and made it incredibly hard to attain even if you have the money for a reason. They keep it exclusive for a reason. You cant boast with something, that only those who know it well can identify as expensive.

    There isnt "The Bir´kin Bag" out there. it doesnt exist. Because every single Birkin is totally unique. Of some Variants there even is only one sold ever. They cost so much, becuase they are unique pieces and are made with incredibly craftsmanship and extremly rare/hard to obtain Materials. They are a piece of Art. Its comparable to Paintings by Famous Painters.

    And people are willing to pay so much for these Bags, because they appreciate the artistry that goes into making them.

    And tho those saying that it totally misses its original purpose: the Bag was designed for Jane Birkin. Shes a famous celeb. She didnt want a purely functional bag. She wanted a Bag, that fits her persona and style, but still functions well as an everyday Bag. The intention was never to make a bag for "the working woman" that everyone could afford.

    Lastly, imo the resale market kinda destroys the legacy of the birkin, because it ruins its original exclusivity

  29. Just pure bullshit!! People all over the world just trying to make it and live! Some nuts come out and make these ugly bags for all of this money! Just a shame and disgrace for all of these people that spend that kind of money on this mess!! Don't care if it is their money!! Just crazy.

  30. I just amazed what kind of heart you all have to buy these bags made from rare animals and on the other side looking for cruelty-free cosmetics!!! don't call yourself human, please!

  31. All of this just seems kind of outrageously stupid, from start to finish. It was invented because sis hated handbags so much that she brought a straw damn basket onto an airplane? It's the 70s, not the 15th century. And now it's so coveted that literally can't even pick which design you want if you want to buy one for 100s of thousands? Are we this collectively stupid?

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