Three broad questions about the Hermès Special Order, answered.
I had thought this would be an easy article to write. Instead, I found myself watching that cursor blink against my macbook’s blank screen for what felt like eternity. This is not to be a tell-all article, because I believe in the magic of mystery. The story never gets old, but each special order process (and personal creation) is your own to cherish.
So this is how I will manage the content. Three broad questions answered, and if you would like further detail, DM me and we can take the conversation separately.
- What do we know about Hermès Special Orders?
- What does it take to be offered the opportunity to make a Special Order?
- What is involved in the process?
Gone are the days when you can stroll into an Hermès store, ask and walk out with a Birkin or Kelly. Even the Hermès mothership (at Faubourg Saint-Honore) in Paris has made several changes in their leathers department queuing system over the past years. Clients are now required to request online, for an appointment a day before the day of intended visit, without guarantee of an appointment. Even if you receive an appointment confirmation, you may not necessarily be offered a bag of your request, when you show up at your scheduled appointment time.
There are many reasons why the Birkin and Kelly are revered. I won’t rehash the list, but a standout reason is the exclusivity of these hard-to-procure-direct-from-H-store bags. And the Hermès Special Order (SO), ups this ‘E’ quotient an extra few notches.
The Hermès Special Order program is not simply limited to the Birkin or Kelly. A customised service that is offered to loyal clients, the client can special order a Constance, or simply a wallet if she so chooses. Options, are a-plenty. But, with controls in place.
A Special Order is:
Customized specially for you, from a selection of colours and leathers. Choose how you wish for the colours to be applied, from a table of options. Select the colour thread you wish. Pick the hardware you prefer. Personalise the bag, or clochette with your initials. Noting that the colours and leathers offered for the Special Order may vary season to season.
Each Special Order may take as fast as 6 months to be delivered from the time of your order, but typically the average waiting time is about a year to 18 months. It costs the same as would a regular Birkin or Kelly, except that it is made to your specifications. And. It comes with an oh-so-special Horse Shoe Stamp (HSS) next to the Hermès logo.
Who gets to make a Special Order?
There is no standard rule book. Every Hermès establishment in any region, country and state has its unique specificities.
When my Hermès journey started, there were several colours that I knew I would love to have in my collection. Along the way, as my colour wheel became more complete, I got a little restless, and requested my Sales Associate (SA) to waitlist me for a Special Order.
Years on, the exciting news came through – that I can place a SO of my choice.
My immediate questions to self, on my mind leading up to my appointment with my SA:
- Birkin or Kelly?
- Do I choose colours that I do not own yet? ; or
- Should I opt for whimsical (seasonal) colours that are unique to this SO batch?
The supportive husband’s response (have I mentioned his superb mind-reading skills?):
“Go with the colours that you love. Not what you do not have. Hermès shopping is never rational anyway. Whimsical works.”
Regardless, yes I did. I had to. I worked my way through the ‘safe’, ‘classic’ and ‘whimsical’ combinations before inking my final selection of colours, application options, thread colour and hardware on my preferred bag style and size. And so, my Special Order was completed. The process was fun, and easier than I thought. I was also offered the option to personalize the bag with my initials, which I declined.
Was I apprehensive about the wait? Yes I was worried it may never come at all. Was I apprehensive about how the final bag will look? Yes absolutely, what if I made a mistake with my choices? I was advised that I can reject the bag on sight (if I didn’t like it) when it is completed and delivered. But, this is one predicament I did not want to be in.
The call came, exactly a year from the day I placed the order. My SO bag combination turned out better than I had envisaged it to be. And yes of course, she came home to an extensive new #happybagfit wardrobe waiting for her in my #happybaggageroom.
See my chosen combination here.
All images courtesy of @happybaggage, all rights reserved.
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