The Mystery Behind the Hermès European and U.K. Wishlist System Revealed

by @karenzpurses

This is a personal narrative and gives insight into the elusive world of Hermès. It’s important to emphasize that the pursuit of a Hermès bag remains a highly individualized and unpredictable endeavor, where factors such as timing, relationships with boutique staff, and sheer luck play substantial roles. What worked for her may not necessarily work for everyone, as each client’s journey at Hermès is a unique and often unpredictable experience.

In this way, the advice she offers is based on her personal experience. It should not be taken as rules and/or regulations or the advice of PurseBop. 

After visiting 8 separate Hermès boutiques in 3 countries during my 16-day trip to Paris, Dublin, and London, I can now share what I learned about the ubiquitous Wish list System. And I am ready to spill the tea.

I started in Paris with the usual attempts at applying online for a lottery appointment with no luck over 5 days using 2 passports. I requested a walk in appointment toward the end of my trip and accepted a non-quota bag in my favorite color Rose Sakura.

Thereafter, we traveled to Dublin and spent 4 days traveling the countryside. Of course we visited the Dublin Hermès boutique situated within the Brown Thomas department store located on a lively walk street with street performers. Although small with limited inventory, Hermès is well represented in all metiers.

There is a nice display wall of bags, small leather goods, jewelry, home goods, ready to wear, shoes, and silks. The SA’s are extremely nice and helpful. However, their stock can be low if they have not yet received their monthly shipment.

A lovely SA patiently described the wishlist system in Dublin and throughout Europe. Similar to London, here are the details.


Hermès Dublin

Hermès in Dublin and all other European locations, including the UK, operate on the wishlist system. The wishlist is for local clients only. The SA described the wishlist system as follows:

  • Choose one bag only Birkin (size 25, 30, 35) or Kelly (size 20, 25, 28, 32, 35); Sellier or Retourne
  • Choose one leather only (Epsom for Sellier and Togo for Retourne)
  • Choose one hardware (gold, palladium, or rose gold)
  • Choose 3 colors
  • Wishlist expires in 12 months and must be renewed
  • The SA does not inform clients that their wishlist is expiring
  • Usually the wishlist is not fulfilled in the first year and must be renewed, but is likely to be fulfilled in the second year
  • A client does not need any pre spend to place a wish list or for the wish list to be fulfilled
  • Non-quota bags are offered to local and non-local clients on a first come first served basis based on request. 
  • The Dublin store does not get exotic bags or limited edition bags generally
  • When a client’s wish list is fulfilled they receive an email. The client has 5 days to claim the bag
  • All stores in Europe can see the client’s profile in other European Hermès stores
  • The Constance is no longer a quota bag in Europe
  •  The Kelly Pochette and all bags with a Kelly in the name are considered quota bags including the Kelly Danse, Kelly Elan, etc.
  • VAT refunds are 16% in Ireland
  • The quota bags are delivered to the Dublin store. The fulfillment team matches the bags to the wishlists. The SA is generally not involved with this process but is able to communicate with their colleagues who handle the wishlist fulfillments.
  • A client can only have one active wish list at any one store in all of Europe

Hermès Dublin Bag Wall

U.K. Wish List System

Hermès Boutique Harrods

Harrods Hermès Bag Wall

Upon arriving in London I had two goals. Learn the U.K. wish list system, and connect with a Sales Associate in one location who would allow my friend to place her first wish list request.

There are four Hermès boutiques in London. I had four days to visit as many locations as possible, connect with a SA, and schedule an appointment for my friend to place a wish list before she left the city.

The logical place to start was Harrods. Located walking distance from our hotel, I discovered the Hermès boutique situated on the first floor of London’s most prominent department store. The visible stock was impressive. Despite its petite size, there were numerous drool worthy bags displayed.

Birkin 30, Swift leather, Vert Cricquet

Kelly Danse Anate,
Kelly Elan, Gold

Due to its small size and the research I did prior to arriving, I decided not to seek out a SA in the Harrods location to inquire about wish lists. My understanding is that it’s highly competitive and the other locations may provide better results. I did return 4 days later and found a completely new bag display with New Bleu Jean well represented. The bags on display were truly impressive on both visits despite the overall size of the boutique.

Hermès Bag Wall Display Harrods

Harrods Bag Display
Birkin Shadow Cut, New Bleu Jean

Hermès Flagship New Bond Street

Hermès New Bond Street, London

The next day we ventured into the Hermès Flagship store on New Bond Street. No visit to London is complete without shopping at this large, beautiful, and well appointed boutique located in the heart of Mayfair.

Upon entering we were greeted by a host asking us what areas of the store we wished to shop. I chose shoes and leather goods. We browsed the store and waited approximately 30 minutes for a leather SA to become available. She was a lovely young woman with a wealth of knowledge about Hermès leather goods. 

I requested a Magnolia Calvi duo I had seen in the plentiful small leather goods display case. She returned with two Calvi Duos and two Calvis, one in Magnolia and one in Rose Azalea since she discovered my love of pink quickly. I immediately chose the Magnolia Calvi duo and proceeded to ask if there were any non-quota bags in pink available that day. She said there were none in pink that day. Non-quota bags are offered on a first come first serve basis each day dependent on stock.

Hermès New Bond Street, SLG display

We discussed in detail the layout of the store and how she wished there was more privacy when meeting with clients about leather bags. The store is an open concept and private rooms were not apparent. The SA described the wishlist system with the following general parameters: 

  • Choose one style bag, Birkin or Kelly
  • Choose Sellier or Retourne
  • Choose two sizes of the bag
  • Choose one leather, Epsom for Sellier or Togo for Retourne
  • Choose one hardware, Gold or Palladium
  • Choose 3 colors or color families

She explained that color choices could be as specific or general as you wished. If your choices were more general it may increase the likelihood of being fulfilled. For example, neutral colors, pastel colors, and bright colors would be 3 different general color families. Alternatively, you could choose one or two general color families and one or two specific colors. The SA works with the client to make the best choice for them while maximizing their opportunity. 

The wishlist expires in 12 months and must be renewed at that time. The renewed wishlist can be the same choices or new choices.


Hermès New Bond Street
Bag Wall Display

Hermès Cadogan, Sloane Street

Hermès Cadogan, Sloane Street, London

Earlier in the week I visited the second largest Hermès store in London located on Sloane Street in the heart of Knightsbridge. It is a short walk from Harrods and the block is filled with luxury boutiques, including one of the largest Chanel boutiques in London. The Hermès boutique is two stories and has a very welcoming atmosphere. We were immediately assigned an extremely nice leather SA.

I told the SA about my love of pink bags and he said he had one pink bag he could offer me. I did not have a profile in any London boutique and I had not yet made any purchases. He returned with a matte crocodile Constance to Go in Rose Shocking. Although it was stunningly beautiful, and I considered adding it to my pink collection, I decided to pass.

I was able to make an appointment with him on Friday to bring my girlfriend in to place a wishlist. He told me if a pink non-quota bag arrived when I returned on Friday he would hold it for me. I was shocked and pleasantly surprised.


Rose Shocking Matte Croc Constance To Go

On Friday I returned with my girlfriend, who lives 4 hours outside London, to the Cadogan location to place a wishlist. Upon arrival we were greeted by the same SA I had met earlier in the week. He took us upstairs and asked if I wanted to see the pink bag he was holding for me. He took one look at my Kelly 25 and was concerned that I would refuse the bag because it was the same color pink. Since my collection is full of my favorite pinks on repeat I was eager to see the bag. 

Remember, I did not purchase anything on my first visit to this store, and it is unlikely he knew I purchased the Calvi duo at the Flagship location the day before.

Our SA returned with an orange box that I recognized to be the size of a Constance 18. He unboxed a beautiful Constance 18 in Mauve Pale, swift leather, and palladium hardware. The color, leather and hardware combination took my breath away. Immediately, I tried it on and knew it was coming home with me. I was so shocked to receive this beautiful offer with no prespend, no relationship with the store, and having met this SA only once before. A Constance is a non-quota bag in London.

Constance 18, Swift leather, phw

The Process of Placing The Wish List

The SA explained the details of placing a wishlist and patiently took us through each step until a decision was made.

  • Birkin or Kelly
  • Size (20, 25, 28, 30, 32, 35)
  • Leather (Togo or Epsom)
  • Hardware (Gold, Palladium, or Rose Gold)
  • Choose 3 colors or color families

He even brought out sample bags in two sizes to allow my friend to try them for size since this would be her first Hermès bags.

There was a black Birkin 25 and Birkin 30, both in Epsom leather. Although they were older bags (not new stock) he mentioned that a Birkin 25 (Retourne) could be ordered in Epsom or Togo. This was surprising news to me as I have not seen any Birkin 25’s in Epsom leather in several years.

Two black Kellys, one in size 25 Box leather and one in size 28, in Epsom were available as well. My friend was able to try the sizes and styles and make an informed decision on which bag suited her best.

Sample Bags
Kelly 28, Noir, Epsom
Birkin 30, Noir, Epsom

Then came the “big red box” most of us associate with Special Orders. He opened the box to reveal the rainbow of leather colors and types of leather that could be placed on the wishlist. This was the type of candy store I wanted to be playing inside. Our SA patiently helped my friend choose three colors. It was not an easy choice. She chose a Birkin 30 in Gold, Dark Orange family, and Gris Tourterelle.

The knowledge, patience, and willingness to spend as long as necessary to insure the client’s wishes were all being met was truly impressive. Exploring the leather colors in the red box was an experience that should not be overlooked as well. It provided valuable insight into the color families available as well as the wide array of color choices. Comparing similar colors was also an invaluable experience.

Comparing Off Whites

Comparing Biscuit and Beige Marfa

3 Color Choices:
Gris Tourterelle

Overall Impressions of Shopping in London and the Wish List System

After spending a full week in London shopping in 3 different Hermès stores plus Heathrow Airport, my impressions are as follows. The SAs are extremely helpful, pleasant, and eager to please their clients. They are assigned to different metiers (departments) within the store but are able to assist their client with purchases in other areas or they may seek assistance from a SA within that area. 

The U.S. concept of building a relationship with one SA within your home store does not necessarily apply in London. It is acceptable to shop in any of their locations to purchase the items you love. 

Three SAs stated no pre-spend is required to place a wishlist. However, it is my understanding that building your profile and maintaining a relationship with one SA is beneficial in the long run.

There is a team of SAs assigned the responsibility of fulfilling wish lists. When a bag arrives that meets the specifications on the wishlist, it is possible a client will be offered the bag whether they have a substantial profile or not.

Wish lists may be placed in any of the boutiques in London but you may only have one active wishlist in the system at any time. Wish lists expire after 12 months and must be renewed. Hermès will not contact you to renew your wishlist. 

I am aware of established U.K. clients who have a dedicated SA with whom they regularly shop, place wish lists, and are offered special or limited edition bags. They have informed me that pre- spend is required to continue to be offered quota bags. They have heard of clients having their wish lists fulfilled without any or very little pre-spend. 

Sample Quota Bags
Birkin 25 Epsom
Kelly 25 Box

Final Thoughts After Shopping in Multiple Countries

Having shopped in my home store in the U.S. for over 6 years with the same SA, shopped in Paris on 4 separate occasions over the past 2 years, and shopped in Paris, Dublin and London during my latest 16-day trip, here are my thoughts. 

I have had only the best experiences shopping in my home store over the past 6 years. Based on my personal experience, I believe it is important to be well informed about the brand and realistic about the process when shopping at Hermès. It is also extremely helpful if you manage your expectations, are always polite and friendly, and truly enjoy the experience.

Each boutique in the U.S. is permitted to set their own parameters with respect to what bags are considered quota bags, how many quota bags may be offered each client per year, and whether accepting a non-quota bag offer may or may not delay the offer of a quota bag in the future.

It is always best to discuss the boutique’s guidelines with your SA. They are happy to share the information they have so you are well informed. However, remember each person’s journey is different. There are numerous factors that must align before a quota bag offer is made. Our best advice is to maintain an honest, genuine, and sincere relationship with your SA. Learn about the brand, buy only items you love and will use, and have patience. It will pay off.

Shopping in Paris is always a special experience. There is something magical and indescribable about making purchases in the city where everything is created. And if you are fortunate to be offered a quota bag while in Paris, you may feel like you just won the lottery (and maybe you did if you secured an online appointment).

Shopping in London is also extremely enjoyable. The wish list system takes the pressure off the individual SA’s because quota bags are assigned by a central team. The SA’s are able to focus on providing their clients a luxury shopping experience. The fact that non-quota bags are offered, if available, daily on a first come first served basis is an added bonus. 

The one common thread is to enjoy the experience where ever you shop. Project positive energy and it will be returned. Exercise patience, grace, and kindness. It will all pay off and your handbag dreams will come true.

Share your thoughts on the wish list system in the U.K. and Europe. Have your wish lists been fulfilled in a reasonable period of time. Do you maintain a relationship with one SA and continue to build your spend profile while waiting for your next wish list bag? We want to know.

Published: March 10th, 2024
Updated: March 26th, 2024

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6 Responses to “The Mystery Behind the Hermès European and U.K. Wishlist System Revealed”

  • This has been a very fascinating article and thank you for taking the time to write it and spend so much time doing the actual research.

    I am a LDN hermes loyalist trying to get my first B25. So i have tried to follow the rules/advice that all have given me via this amazing community. I go to Bond Street and have a lovely SA. My First wishlist was in Jan 23 at Royal Exchange having got a Cavali . Since then however i clicked better with an SA in Bond street so i have been able to work with my SA getting a Herbag31/ scraves/ties/jewellery/belts(2) and online but picked up at store a bride a brac and chypre sandals. My wishlist expired after 8 months so i did a new one with the SA at Bond street B25 GHW TOGO CHAI/ETOUPE/ETAIN. I am hoping in this second wishlist i get the bag but SA doesnt work in leather which is my only concern but SA is amazing and i maintian weekly contact so i am hoping this will get my B25. I wasnt aware that constance is a non quota bag so i may ask about this in the meantime .
    I think it is important to get a mix of items but ones u love which i have done and fingers crossed that B25 becomes a reality soon .

    Thank u again for the article and sharing the experience

  • You should take the Cadagon SA’s hands out of your pictures. That is my local boutique and I happen to know how many Afro- Caribbean SAs they have there and it makes him extremely identifiable!

  • I have a question about the leather choices when making a wish list… you mentioned only two one for sellier and one for retourne. Are those the only options these days? You cannot ask for box or swift or anything else?
    I’m going to Dublin in a few weeks to make a request and I want to make sure I understand. Thanks!

  • Hey there,
    do you know if you have to sign after making a wish? I have recently made a wish for a b25 and when my friend asked me if I also had to sign a paper for the wish I was a little confused.