Where Am I in the Evolution of a Handbag Collector?


by @cocomeetshelmut

My Hermés-journey started excactly that day I turned 39.

My husband was in meetings all day and way to busy to celebrate my birthday and I was SO dissapointed. Instead I decided to celebrate myself – and I went in to my local Hermés boutique and ordered a Birkin. I went safe with a black Togo Birkin with phw in sz 35.

Since then my collection ( and taste ) has evolved. First of all I will never go for a size of a Birkin bigger than 30 and I love the small and more rare bags. Especially I have fallen completely in love with the new mini Kelly II.

My latest purchase is a mini Kelly II in black alligator with GHW from the mothershipstore on Rue Du Faubourg Saint Honoré – this one is truly my HGB!

That and my Etain Birkin in sz 30 that I always use for travel and my Chanel perfume minaudiere box clutch are the 3 bags that I in different ways cherish the most.

When it comes to the 4 collector stages I will say that I have just taken my first step into the Mature stage with my recent purchase.

Read: Where are you in the Evolution of a Handbag Collector?

I have been through the first 2 stages going from everyday bags in neutral colors to the smaller sizes in brighter colors and different leathertypes and further on to the more rare statement bags like my So black Birkin.

Someone once told me, that once you get an excotic H-bag, there’s no turning back – and I can honestly say; that person was so right!!

To Review The 4 Stages

Stages of Evolution

New Collector
The new collector is at the beginning of a handbag journey, perhaps dipping a toe into the luxury pond for the first time, or moving from one brand to another. In many cases, it involves a substantial jump in cost and caution is the word of the day. You don’t want to make a mistake and indulge on the proverbial closet ornament. Thus, at this phase, the focus tends to be on everyday bags in neutral colors. Now everyone has their own version of neutral; for some it’s basic black, others a beige and others, as Diana Vreeland famously said, “pink is the navy blue of India.” Alternatively, a new collector may be inspired by an upcoming event or special occasion to step up the bag game and splurge. As many have learned, often, that first bag is merely the gateway to more.
The Established Collector
No longer gunshy about an initial purchase, the established collector is ready to stretch for more variety or statement pieces. That could mean expanding one’s color palette – perhaps from neutral to bright; size range- from small to large and back to mini; and/or even shape or type – shoulder to handheld to clutch and back. Another strategy is to select statement bags – something unusual that will stand out. This is where a collector begins to develop a handbag wardrobe. For many, the journey remains at this stage – with a collection growing in depth.
The Mature Collector
Let’s first be clear, being a mature collector has nothing to do with age. It does, however, probably call for greater sums of money, as the mature collector is drawn to rare and exotic bags which come with higher prices tags. Think heavily beaded and decorated Chanel classics and minaudieres or Hermes ostrich, alligator, lizard or crocodile.
The Elite Collector
Truly, the elite collector is a level to which most can only aspire or dream. The bags sought in this phase are veritably one(or few)-of-a-kind. It could be a bespoke bag in an exotic or one with jewel-encrusted hardware. That’s right, in this stage you put the diamonds and rubies on, not in, the bag.