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How to get a Birkin bag, according to an Hermès insider

How to get a Birkin bag, according to an Hermès insider

$12,000 will get you just about any handbag you want—except for a Birkin. Though that’s the average sticker price of the iconic handbag, cash is just one piece of the puzzle. Today, getting a Birkin straight from the Hermès store is harder than ever.

Only customers with an extensive purchase history at the French brand are offered the opportunity to buy “quota bags” such as the Birkin or the Kelly. This practice, dubbed the “Hermès Game,” has kept the bags exclusive—but it’s also ruffled many feathers. Two Californians recently sued the brand in a class-action lawsuit, alleging it employed antitrust tactics.

It was the Birkin’s artisan production and celebrity fanbase that first made it an “it bag” among luxury enthusiasts. But the rise of the resale market, where a Birkin can fetch double its sticker price, has since transformed it from fashion statement to hyped-up commodity. 

“You would need to be a loyal customer and maybe wait one to two years to get one,” said Joanna Uzunova, founder of vintage luxury resale platform Luxe Buyers’ Club. “In the grand scheme of things, if you’re really into the brand, it’s not a very long time. It’s the reward for patience.”

Uzunova worked in sales and visual merchandising at Hermès early in her career. Since leaving the brand, Uzunova has continued to shop there as a fan, and now owns more than 10 quota bags. Uzunova shares insights from both sides of the Hermès game on social media—and recently told Fortune her top three tips for scoring a quota bag.

But first, how much do you have to spend? In Uzunova’s experience, she had to reach a 1:1 spending ratio to qualify for a quota bag. In other words, to unlock the opportunity to buy a $12,000 Birkin, a shopper would first have to spend $12,000 on other products from the brand.

What you buy matters

Spending five figures at Hermès may not guarantee a quota bag, Uzunova said, as the products you buy matter as well. She pointed out several “bait” products in Hermès’ lineup—mainstream, entry-level products that may indicate to salespeople that the customer doesn’t know much about the brand. These include bracelets, the Oran sandal, and the “H” logo belt.

“There’s a difference there between those shoppers that are just now stepping into the brand,” she said. “And people who genuinely want the world of Hermès.”

Uzunova considers herself a “disciple” of the brand—a…

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