I have been in a serious relationship with Hermès for the last 2 years! I celebrated my two years anniversary with H on July 7th. Oh yeah! People celebrate birthdays and anniversaries with significant others – I totally celebrate mine with Hermès!
Gosh, the amount of time I have spent at my H store in the last two years…wow. I often joke that I might as well have worked there and got paid! No complaints though. It’s been a two-way street for H and I. I have given a lot of my time, love, and effort in nurturing this relationship, and in turn H has returned the favor by turning every little wish and desire of mine into a reality. So, I thought I would share a few of my personal experiences for those wondering how to establish that perfect relationship with this elusive, and often seen as a “complex” brand. You may be wondering, what exactly gave me inspiration to write this article? I get many DMs on my IG asking for tips on how to score the perfect Hermès bag, and so I thought why not just put together all the thoughts in my head in one place so it could benefit any newbie. I know I was once that newbie and would have found this handy! My Hermès bag collection is modest but what makes it special for me is the fact that it’s made up of bags that were requested by me down to their exact individual specifications!
Below you will find ten tips I have put together that can help you establish and maintain a good relationship with the brand.
#1 Interest in the legacy of the brand – Hermès wants their clients to appreciate the brand and everything it stands for. Period. They want you to know and appreciate the rich history of the brand and how their products came about. No, you don’t need to take a course in learning H history, but do take the time to learn a little about the brand. It will actually help you understand the legacy of the brand and appreciate their unparalleled craftsmanship. You never know when that knowledge may come in handy during your conversations with your SA (sales associate) or even the store manager! I, for one, have spent hours discussing the different leathers, bag styles, how the brand has evolved with my SA and ASM (area sales manager). It’s only strengthened my bond with my primary store.
#2 Finding the right SA and creating a special bond with her/him – All those who are familiar with H know that having the right SA is like holding the key to the magic kingdom! Choose your SA wisely before committing to him or her. If you feel like there is not an instant connection, listen to your gut. Your chosen SA is going to be like your best friend with whom you will share all your secrets and dreams about H. I can spend hours talking to my SA and picking her brains!! If you feel uncomfortable with your SA, maybe he/she is not the right one for you? Which leads to the next question….
#3 Switching SA’s in same store – yay or nay? – In my book of no’s this is a HUGE NO, but with exceptions. Believe me when I say that all SA’s talk amongst themselves, and they don’t want to deal with the drama of a client switching from one to another SA if it creates a negative situation between them. Now if it’s an amicable and mutual decision to stop buying from a specific SA and your SA is aware that you are unhappy with him/her and want to switch, it’s another story. I would always advise coming clear and talking to the SM (sales manager) or the ASM, as well as the SA to ensure there are no ill feelings on both sides before you proceed with a new SA.
#4 Patience is the key – if you want immediate gratification 100% of the time, Hermès may not be the one for you. All of us familiar with the brand know that even though our SAs are miracle workers, but at the end of the day they also have limitations. If you want a bag or those shoes that’s selling out everywhere badly, it may take patience and time for your SA to get it for you. But, rest assured patience pays off. Just don’t give up immaturely. I craved a Rouge Casaque B for 10 months before my SA was able to get it for me. Did it take time? Sure! Was it worth waiting for it? An absolute YES! My malachite B was another one of those miracles. Just when I was giving up hope that I would never get my hands on it since H had rested that color, like a dream it made an appearance at FSH because H decided to bring the color back. With H, it’s all about patience, patience, and…more patience!!
#5 Be specific with what you want – one of the biggest complaints I have heard from the SAs at my store is that some of their clients give them a varied wishlist and tell them to go on a treasure hunt! Don’t get me wrong, I understand where that ‘whatever you can get for me’ list is coming from. H is so unpredictable that we feel it’s better to be open to options. Sure, be open to options, but not every permutation and combination out there! It only confuses your SA on what you truly love. Time and again, my SA says it makes life easier for her because she knows exactly what I want down to the hardware and bag specification. Every season I gave my SA 1-2 color and bag types that I am looking for at the moment. As I came closer to the end of my bag collection, it became harder for her since my specifications became even more precise. Earlier it would be something like getting Rouge Casaque Birkin 30 or K 28 with GHW, but now it’s like a black B25 with GHW and that’s it. No ‘either/or’… it does make the wait longer, but in the end my SA appreciates that she knows exactly what I want, and I know that she will get me exactly what I asked for. This strategy removes all uncertainty and confusion for both parties!
#6 Maintaining a profile at your store – as much as I would love to believe that it’s my shining personality that H loves and that’s why they grant me my dream bags and accessories, I know for a fact that’s not true… maintaining an active profile signals that you are a loyal customer to H, and they tend to reward their loyal customers by fulfilling their dreams. So, what does maintaining an active profile mean? Does it mean you need to buy every month, every week, every few months? The answer: there’s no hard and fast rule. There are months when I buy many things, and then there are months when I buy nothing. However, even if I am not buying anything, I do tend to drop by the store if I am in the mall to say hi to my SA and talk to her. It’s just a nice way to keep in touch and say, “Hi, I am still alive and kicking. As of right now I have nothing interesting to buy, but I still love the brand and you…and will be back as soon as I find something I love.”
Some months, I may go a little nuts and buy a lot, some months maybe just a calvi, and some months nothing at all. One of the things that’s worked for me is I try (emphasis on the word ‘”try”, since I do fail at this sometimes) to space out my purchases, so that I don’t buy everything in a single month and then stop buying for months. Consistency is what the store is looking for the most. The key thing is to be in the mindset of your SA, so they know you are a regular customer and not an absentee one!
#7 Buy only what you love – Picking up from the last point, in order to maintain a profile or fulfill your quota, please don’t buy anything you don’t absolutely love. Many of us have been guilty of accumulating certain things that we didn’t really love, but bought either because it was supposed to be ‘impossible to get’ or we needed to maintain an active profile. For me, it was the two rodeos I got! What was I thinking? I am NOT into bag charms, so why did I even get them? Because I was enabled by everyone having them, and because they were super hard to get so the thrill of the chase made me get them. What a silly reason to get them, right? And they lie in their boxes untouched to this day and the guilt accumulates in my heart for spending money on something I don’t even use! Oh well, you live and learn. What got me into H was not their iconic Birkin and Kelly, but their cashmere shawls, bracelets, and slgs…so, I don’t feel any guilt about buying them because I get maximum usage from them. It works because these purchases help me maintain an active profile with the store.
#8 Honesty is appreciated – Be direct with your SA and honest about what you like and don’t like. It just helps her/him narrow the choices for you and get to know your likes and dislikes better. So many times my SA likes something that I hate and I will give her a look that she has come to realize means, “Please, don’t even get me started on how much I really hate it”. End of conversation. They are not mind readers. Talk to them. Tell them honestly, and they will listen and remember for future offers they give you.
#9 Niceness and politeness always pays off – this should be the foundation of any relationship or human interaction! So often I hear the SA’s complain about clients who act like total divas and expect the world just because they have the money. Bad attitude never helps any situation. Demanding a bag or a SO because the client feels entitled to it? When did that become okay? At the end of the day, the SA’s are human beings too. A little bit of kindness and understanding of their situation goes a long way. Sometimes, when I drop in my SA is busy with another customer. I take the time to browse around the store and talk to other SA’s. If the other client takes a long time and I have the time, I may stick around or if I am pressed for time I will just leave her a note that I will be back later. I am not going to start showing attitude just because I made an appointment with my SA, and she couldn’t give me the time. I have seen and heard ugly stories about this too! Show the same amount of respect to your SA’s as you expect them to show you.
#10 Other SA’s in the store matter too! – Yes, your SA is your BFF at the store, but do take the opportunity to connect with other SA’s at the store whenever the opportunity strikes! You never know when you will need their support or help. When my old SA left, I was heartbroken and thought I could never have a better SA. I am glad to be proven wrong in this case! I ended up with an even more fabulous SA. One of the things that helped me pick my new SA was that I knew each of the SA’s well in my store, since I often chatted with them. I knew which ones I bonded with the most as well the ones I wanted to avoid the most! Another incident that made me thankful I got along well with the other SA’s was regarding one of the bags I wanted badly. Apparently this bag was high on the list of many SA’s, and my SA had to literally fight to get it for me (oh yeah, it gets super competitive when it comes to securing the coveted bags for one’s client). She said one thing that helped her get the bag was when the other SA’s asked which client she wanted the bag for and she said my name, and the other SA backed off. Hallelujah! All I could think was thank god, I know these SA’s, and they like me enough to lend me the courtesy of giving that bag to me!
The biggest takeaway for me has been that the SA’s at the store really want to please their clients. They want you to get what you love and make your dreams come true. Sometimes, they may not be able to pull it off due to scarcity or unavailability of what you asked for, but know that your SA is definitely trying his/her best. Like any other relationship to find success, you need commitment, patience, and understanding on both sides.
If you want to score your dream bag, I am hoping this article will help you understand the brand better! And now that you know my tips, I would love for you to share some of yours on how you built a strong bond with the brand.