The Hermès Horseshoe ~ Special Order

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So let’s talk about Hermès special orders aka the Horseshoe!

I am by no means an expert since I’ve only done a couple, but I can at least share one of my experiences and I hope others can also share theirs.

Since my local store is small, their allotted quota for special orders is quite small. When I first started shopping with them and inquired about special orders, I was told they don’t do it. The store manager had a few bad experiences with it in the past (orders never arriving or incorrect, customers very unhappy), so she didn’t want to deal with the hassle of it. I was sad thinking I would never be able to SO (“special order”). But I didn’t give up hope, and one day I was offered a Birkin whose specs were not perfect for me – color a little too dark, etc. There were no other current colors for the season I was interested in. So I actually broached the topic of special ordering with my SA… I told her since there was nothing else I wanted that current season, would it be possible to order something. She said ok, let me ask the manager. A few days later she called and said that the manager approved, and that they already had the current list of colors, and she thought one in particular would be perfect for me (my SM and SA both said turquoise would be perfect!). She told me to come in when I could so that I could choose everything. I was ecstatic!! I drove up one day with my husband in tow, and together we all picked out my horseshoe bag.

My SA had a piece of paper with a list of colors available in the different leathers. On the piece of paper were tiny little boxes with some of the colors pictured… They did not have the actual leather swatches yet! So I could only imagine what some of these new colors looked like (bambou, Rose confetti, etc). She also had real samples of the contrast stitches.

Surprisingly, it was a very easy and quick process for me. Of course there are dozens of colors I would have loved, but not all are available at any given season. So you are limited in exterior and interior colors in any given leather type.

When I ran through the list, only a handful of colors stood out to me. When I narrowed down the exterior colors to 2-3, I then looked through the interior colors list, and that narrowed down my choices even more. In the end, it came down to turquoise exterior in Togo (oh how my SA and SM know me ☺️), and either rose Jaipur or Rose confetti interior/stitching. In the end I went with Rose Jaipur as the intensity of it against turquoise just popped more to me. Interesting to note that this exact color combo is what my SM predicted I would order ?… Of course I chose a Birkin 30 which is my favorite size for a birkin, and brushed GHW because I love the look of it and it’s not available on regular bags. I chose contrast stitching for that little bit of extra special detail, but no contrast piping.

Now the wait – I was told it could be a year or more… But my best friend who put her order in at the same time (with a different store) got called in less than a year! So I was on pins and needles for about 9-12 months… Everytime my SA called I would eagerly await her telling me my bag was here… After a year, and no bag in sight, well I about gave up and had stopped actively thinking about it! Then 15 months later, I got the call… It had arrived. I rushed over the next day with my entire family in tow (hubby and 2 furbabies), and when my SA took it out of the box, I gasped because it was more perfect and beautiful than I could have imagined!! Turquoise was richer in person, rose Jaipur just glowed from the interior…

So that’s the story of my horseshoe baby… I know others have different specifics/details from mine… For example I know bigger stores have an actual “book” to look through…

Either way, some things I’ve learned throughout this process, which may be helpful to some:
1. Don’t be afraid to ask – after all, what’s the worst that can happen? They say no? At best they say yes and you’ll have a bag that’s perfect for you, and no other like it in the whole world!
2. Look at a ton of pictures so that you have an idea of color combinations… And remember that just because 2 colors are amazing on their own doesn’t mean they will look amazing together! ???
3. Also know which leathers you would prefer, what hardware, bag style and size

A few other facts:
1. An SO does not cost more than a regular bag of the exact same specs… You do not have to put a deposit down; however you do have to pay the price of that bag at the time of purchase (so even if you placed an order over a year prior, if they’ve had a price increase, you will have to pay the current price post-increase)
2. Sometimes for whatever reason Hermès changes some things about the bag, usually the color… You may be informed of this beforehand, but sometimes it can show up as a big surprise… Which brings me to…
3. You are never under obligation to buy the bag… Especially if it arrives not as you ordered. You can decline it, and they will have no trouble selling it to other clients. Some people have said though that if you decline a bag, that may count as a strike against you (unless of course it’s not the bag you ordered!) and you will have less chance of being offered another SO in the future
4. You can have your initials (up to 3 letters) placed on the bag
5. Special orders are placed twice a year at around the same time as “podium” – when the store manager goes to Paris to choose their buys for the following season
6. Hermès has gotten stricter with special orders recently, limiting the color combos
7. You can choose everything about the bag (given the restrictions of course) including exterior and interior color, bicolor or tricolor (different colored handles, sides, sangles, etc), stitching, piping, leather, bag style, size and hardware. You can choose the length of the Kelly detachable strap. You can even choose the placement or types of pockets on the inside of the bag. You can even special order things other than bags (wallets for example).

I hope this was helpful for anyone about to start the process or hoping to start it… And I hope others with more experience can chime in!!!

Do post pics of your SO babies so we can drool!!! ???

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I got the email offering me a chance to submit an Ala Carte order the morning after a successfully defended my PhD. I’ve never had a hangover disappear so quickly. I had started playing with the idea of a Birkin for me a few weeks before. Shortly after that I went in my local Hermes to build it. I knew it was going to be a Birkin and I had been trying on different sizes; from which I knew Birkin 40 was the only size on me that didn’t look like I was carrying my mother’s bag!

Next was the Colour shortlist for Ala Carte orders. One might think you can free rein with the Hermes leather store but alas no – one can but dream. Special Orders are a dance between colour preferences and leather choices and availability at any given season. Over the last 3-4 years my collection has really taken shape and I’ve been primarily collecting Blues and Greys. I thought of the SO as the natural crescendo of the Blue and Grey Era (I’m beginning the Rouge Era shortly, FYI lol). So the colours were the blue and grey family.

We played around with Bleu Electrique and Etoupe and I had no intention of changing anything but the interior colour. These Special Orders can become infamously crass and tacky very quickly. About 40 mins later and with a Bleu Nuit Jypsiere and the leather books in the store window with my SM the decision was made – Birkin 40 Version 1 in Etain Togo with Bleu Nuit interior and exterior piping, Brushed Palladium Hardware and tone-on-tone stitching.

**I did request one thing that not on the Ala Carte Menu** I asked the Atelier to use Togo with zero veining. Although the veining of Togo and Clemence leathers are not considered a flaw, I prefer a small peddled Togo rather than having a “lightening strike” across the front or back panels. I thought this would be particularly noticeable on a B40 , where the front and back panels are quite large. The Atelier obliged and I can truly say that it is a flawless skin.

9 MONTHS to the day my Special Order was delivered and I literally did a happy dance in my living room after reading the email. I had literally been in store two days earlier and my SM was explaining that it’s down to leather availability and not all SOs for the store arrive at the same time (a few of the other clients offered had found out about each other at an event and naturally we got competitive LOL). That night’s sleep was splintered with dreams of tiny multi-coloured Birkins and me faking enthusiasm.

I picked it up the next day and with a glass of bubbles my SM revealed it. There are no pictures of the moment because it went in a blur. It was flawless. Looking at it, it was even more spectacular than I had day-dreamed it would be – and I had re-read the Ala Carte Request .pdf a few times a weeks for the 9 months. It was a Birkin a guy could carry. It was special – without being too special – and it was definitely within the ethos of Hermes.

Thanks for letting me share my SO story!

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  • Pursebop

    Love this story my friend, hearty congrats on this beauty. It’s such a beauty!
    And did I read a PHD to boot. This bag is even more special as it marks an incredible accomplishment in your life.
    May you continue to achieve the heights of your dreams …. and all the B’s you desire (rouge next, LOL)
    Many hugs,
    your PurseBop
    XO

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Thank you very much for starting this thread LeOrangeBliss. There were so many interesting aspects of your story that I took away. Firstly the fact that you asked to be able to create a special order. I had previously been told that you cannot ask to do this process, that you have to be approached. Which is confusing, because how do they know that you are interested in doing it? I also live near a very small store who only usually get swatches of one or two of the new season colors. So it was fascinating that you picked your bag from tiny pictures. I wasn’t aware that Hermes can change elements of the bag without notifying you. I thought that they were able to reject your bag in it’s entirety if they thought it would be too garish (which makes sense) but I didn’t know that they could change an aspect and send it through to you anyway. That would be a surprise! And of course the information on the cost and when you are expected to pay is always good to know too. As everyone else has said, you picked an amazing combination, and I appreciate you sharing your knowledge of the process.

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Here’s another SO of mine in my all time favorite Blue Electrique ???

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  • PatiEv
    BEs is too die for!!! My fave H color alongside Anemone! SO BEAUTIFUL!!! Thanks for sharing orangekissed
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This was such a great read for me and the hubs – I am really at my wits end trying to find a Bamboo swift Kelly and the mere thought that a SO is possible is so lovely! You truly picked the most unique and beautiful color combo ad I’ve never seen one like it! Currently in Paris for the next week, so hopefully some good vibes come our way!

  • PatiEv
    Best of luck hun!!! And enjoy Roland Garros for me ;)
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Thank you for sharing! It is such a great experience to choose your SO. Yours is perfect and I am glad you had the chance to do it!

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What a great thread and story LeOrangeBliss! Thank you for sharing it with us, I loved it! I always thought SO were more expensive than regular bags since it´s specially made for you, thank you for enlightening me! I´ve seen your turqupise/rose jaipur baby on IG and it´s STUNNING!!! Your choices of colors and hardware was perfect!!! :)

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What an interesting read!
SOs are amazing, something special that not many have or even only you have.
Yes, I agree with you on the declining a special order. I ordered a black Togo with brown interior and brushed gold hardware. I declined, which I somewhat regret… But I think I would’ve just enjoyed a regular black more. But, when I had declined the SO I did feel a bit of guilt… I’m not sure if it counts as a strike, but now I’m just scared to place another SO, that if it comes in I’m not going to like it than my SA and SM would never want me to place another one. Ahh Hermes is crazy & we love it!

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Love your turquoise and jaipur combo truly amazing…Im fortunate enough to have a collection of SO…but very unfortunate none of them designed by myself…anyway it doent change the love I have for them

Here are mine

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  • PatiEv
    oh wow sweetiemermaid, what an amazing SO collection!!! congrats hun!! The yellow and green one is so brazilian colors ;) love them all! thank you for sharing!
  • Debb C.
    beautiful collection!! i love the black and pink one! it’s one of my fav. combo!
  • Stunning collection!
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Your SO is absolutely gorgeous leorangebliss ??
I’ve been fortunate enough to get a couple SOs and although it’s difficult to pick a favorite, my Parme is definitely up there in my mind!

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  • LeOrangeBliss
    You know I LOVE your parme!!!!! And chèvre ????. Just swoon!!!!!
  • ????
  • PatiEv
    what a GORGEOUS bag orangekissed!!!
  • mimidemir
    I Love the pink stitching, the bag is just stunning
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Thank you for sharing this great post :) Such an interesting read and your SO looks stunning – I can only imagine what it would look like in person!

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By the way it’s absolutely infuriating trying to photograph this bag because turquoise does not come out accurately in the pics – it comes out too blue with none of the green undertones! ?… Well I guess this is an idea…

Birkin 30 Turquoise Togo exterior || Rose Jaipur chèvre interior || Rose Jaipur contrast stitching || brushed GHW

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  • Can I just say.. I’ve rarely dreamt of ordering a SO because it’s not realistic for me to be able to order one.. But moreso because I’m the most indecisive person ever and quite terrible with color combos.. I can never quite match things just right. That being said, I have not been able to stop admiring your turquoise/RJ SO since I came across it on Instagram! It’s an AMAZING combo. Everything about it is just perfect! I normally am not a turquoise fan but with that RJ interior and brushed GHW, I’m 100% converted. Serious Birkin envy ? I am now trying to dream up my own ultimate SO combo that would turn out as perfect as yours!
  • LeOrangeBliss
    AY_X that is so kind of you to say thank you!!! Sometimes I’m not sure what I like in terms of combos until I see it, as I’m a very visual person, so it definitely helps when I see swatches next to each other! Best of luck to you, and never say never!! ?
  • PatiEv
    and here she is!!! What a beauty!!! what a B-E-A-U-T-Y!!! you got her all right LeOrangeBliss, she´s simply perfect!!!
  • mimidemir
    I do love the scarf wrap around the handle is this something the store can do for you?
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