Luxury brands are all over the place, although some people believe not many can afford their products.
However, if you stop for a minute and think about all the wealthy people in the world, you can understand how these brands remain open and, to be honest, a product (despite its price) ends up being worth the effort you put into purchasing it.
But after knowing this, how can you know which brand is good, considering there are dozens out there? Yes, dozens.
Well, every brand has its signature, and you will love it for the products it is able to offer. A great example is Hermes, which started as a harness and saddlery business and, to this date, has become one of the most luxurious brands worldwide.
In the case of this brand, what has taken it to the position that it is now? And should you consider choosing your preferences? Don’t rush with your decision, and instead, let’s go over the details of Hermes and the secret behind the success.
How A Big-Name Brand Gets Started
Whenever you decide to learn about a brand, make sure you focus on its history before anything else, even when it seems a bit irrelevant.
After all, people tend to focus on prices, products, items, and anything but how it started. It makes sense if you ask us, but remember that background is crucial to understand someone’s success.
This isn’t any different when it comes to luxury brands and businesses overall.
Therefore, where should we start?
The founder of the brand was Thierry Hermès, who was born in 1801 in Krefeld, Germany. His father was French, while his mother was German.
Both parents were innkeepers, and he was the sixth child of the couple.
Since he was young, he showed a talent for leatherworking, which took him far when he started working at several shops as an assistant, and, later on, he was able to open his own saddle and harness shop in 1837.
This store was located in the Paris neighborhood known as Grands Boulevard.
His original intention was to provide saddles, bridles, and other leather riding gear for European noblemen.
Charles-Emile Hermès, Thierry’s younger brother, moved the shop to Paris’ 24 Rue Du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, which is still the company headquarters.
Gradually, the company’s product range grew over time. It began selling saddlery in 1880 and then introduced its product to retail shops.
The company began selling the “Haut a Courroies,” a bag designed for riders to transport their saddles. Hermes created the first zippered leather golf jacket in 1918 for Prince Charles.
Accessories and clothing were added to the portfolio in the 1920s. Then, the first leather handbags were introduced to the product line in 1922, and the brand’s 1925 introduction of travel bags was a huge success.
Hermès introduced products in the 1930s that are now considered icons in fashion: the leather Sac a Depeches (renamed the Kelly bag after Grace Kelly) and the Hermes Carres (scarves).
The first Hermes silk tie was introduced in 1949, and the first Eau d’Hermès perfume was launched in 1937.
The company first entered the United States in the 1930s with a tie-up with Neiman Marcus, a New York department store.
The company’s iconic Duc-carriage-with-horse logo and signature orange boxes were introduced in the 1950s. The company also established La Montre Hermes, a watch subsidiary, in Bienne (Switzerland) in the 1970s.
In the 1980s, the company bought tableware companies like Saint Louis, Puiforcat, and Perigord and strengthened its position in these luxury markets.
After a chance encounter between Jean-Louis Dumas, then CEO, and Jane Birkin, a singer, and actress, on a flight from Paris to London, Birkin explained to Dumas that she needed an average-sized bag. The Birkin bag is priced between $12.000 and $300k.
A single craftsman makes each Birkin. It takes 18 to 25 hours to complete each job manually, especially if it is a soft crocodile hide.
A rare Himalayan Nilo Crocodile Birkin bag was sold for $185k in 2014. It became the second most expensive bag ever sold at auction. Hermes is known for burning imperfect Birkins to show its commitment to quality.
The company went public in 1993 on the Paris Bourse. This was, for various reasons, considered a strategic move that had its weaknesses.
Hermes used a strategy to reduce franchise stores in the late 1990s. They bought them up, closed a lot of them, and opened more company-operated shops.
The brand currently operates 311 stores worldwide, of which 223 are owned and operated directly by the company.
Hermes signed a deal with John Lobb, a British luxury shoemaker, in 1976.
This allowed Hermes to use John Lobb’s name in exchange for expanding the brand’s distribution reach. Hermes purchased a 35% stake in Jean-Paul Gaultier’s fashion house in 1999 in one of its first nonbrand moves.
Since 2000 to this date, the brand has continuously offered high-quality products that are unique in style, materials, and we have to say that also prices.
But going back to its founder, the truth is that there isn’t much information about him and his family in terms of his early years, childhood, and how he showed his talent for leatherworking in specific.
But what we can tell you is: this brand’s name represents what he was capable of, and it couldn’t be more perfect.
What Can You Buy at Hermès?
As previously mentioned, the brand started selling saddles and leather goods to cover the noblemen’s needs in Europe.
However, throughout history, many inclusions have made Hermès expand its options and aim at different markets and targets.
This is why you will be able to find many options in-store.
From men, the collections that include clothes, accessories, shoes, belts, and more, to women collection’s with the same items if not more.
You can also find items or products that involve fragrances, jewelry, make-up, home decor, and special editions, as well as services.
But with this in mind, how much does it cost to buy any of these items?
Like any other brand and shop, you have to consider ranges. What does this mean? That there aren’t fixed prices but rather products that range from a price to another.
In the case of Hermès, we have a wide variety in this case:
- A jacket for men can cost between $1.500 and $3.200.
- Shirts for men can cost $690 or more.
- Women’s clothes like a dress cost around $2.300 while sandals can reach the $680+ mark.
But what about other types of items? Fragrances, for example, can easily cost over $200, and some of them go over $400.
Others like watches, either for men or women, can cost between $7.000 and $20.000.
The most affordable or “cheap” items of the brand are probably the make-up ones you can find.
Lipsticks, for example, cost about $60, while accessories go up to $300 and $600.
As you can see, the brand isn’t exactly cheap or even considered affordable among wealthy people.
Let us correct ourselves, it is affordable for wealthy people, but even though it does represent a significant investment considering how much you can end up paying for a piece of clothes.
When it comes to décor, tableware, and home items, we kind of understand some of the prices that depending on the product, go from $80 to over $2.000.
But before you think we forgot it, there’s one item that is quite popular: bags.
A Hermès Birkin handbag can cost between $8.500 to $2 million! And believe us, people pay for it.
With These Prices, Is the Brand Successful?
Well, this question is answered by itself and even before you decide to read this article.
But to leave an answer here, well, yes, it is successful, and you can bet that with these prices it also makes a lot of money.
In fact, Hermés or Hermés International SCA, as it is known commercially, has over 14,300 employees, over $7.2 billion in sales, and $128.6 billion as net worth, according to Forbes.
This textile and apparel brand is one of the most successful worldwide, and although Louis Vuitton surpasses it in terms of net worth and sales, we don’t believe that the last numbers should be taken lightly.
Although many people can buy its items, you would consider that a luxury brand would be more modest in these terms.
But it is because of the prices and how much a single item involves when it comes to money that those like Hermés are able to each such net worth and success.
The truth is that we have tested several of its products and even own some of the most affordable ones.
Lipsticks, some tableware, and even some pieces of clothes are in our possession. Based on this, we can tell you that the quality is outstanding and although it is costly, we believe it’s worth the money.
Luxury brands aren’t about how the products or items look but also how durable they are, and we believe Hermés isn’t an exception in offering outstanding merchandise that can make anyone fall in love.
The brand is particularly unique and famous because of this: the quality never disappoints, making sure to prove how good they’re at their job.
A crazy fact about this is that every item that is not perfect or doesn’t meet the brand’s standards will be burnt to maintain the reputation and avoid any issues.
Celebrities Involved with the Brand
As a fashion brand that started with saddles and riding gear for Europeans, you can expect it to stay loyal to this.
As a result, most of the celebrities it sponsors or has partnerships with are professionals riders.
Rodrigo Pessoa, a multiple medal-winner at the Olympics, World Cup finalist, and extraordinary equestrian, is one of the few we can mention.
Simon Delestre, Astier Nicolas, Alexandra Paillot, and Jessica von Bredow-Werndl, are also part of the family in Hermés.
But what about the celebrities we see every day? Is there anyone that endorses Hermés?
Anne Curtis, Isabeli Fontana, Jessie J, and Chiara Ferragni are some you might have heard about.
Others like Victoria Beckham, Miranda Kerr, Cardi B, Rita Ora, Kylie Jenner, Lindsay Lohan, and Marjorie Harvey express their obsession with the fashion brand many times and even review some of the merchandise without being paid for it.
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