Take a look at your 2021 Hermès wishlist. Maybe your closet needs a new Black Kelly 25 Sellier. Or, you’re pining to get more than one of the new pinks just announced for the year (Read: New Hermès Colors S/S 2021). And, you live optimistically, dreaming of the chance to join the exclusive Horseshoe Club and create your very own individual Birkin or Kelly Special Order.
Now consider how you’re going to get all those items. For many of us, it’s hard enough to score even one Hermès Birkin or Kelly in a desired color and fabrication. In a good year, you manage to get two – one for each hand and within Hermes’ imposed quota (more on this later). But how can we secure more?
Clearly, some people are exempt from the two bag maximum. Instagram is replete with posts of shopping hauls, including multiple and repeated Hermès bags. Indeed, watching these Hermès unboxings is a favorite PurseBop pleasure – next to filming one, of course lol. Often though, we can’t help but wonder “How did she score yet another gorgeous bag?”
What is a Quota Bag?
At Hermès, a quota bag means a Birkin or Kelly. Hermès’ policy generally is that a customer may only purchase one quota bag per “semester.” Hermès has two semesters, the first running from January to June and the second from July to December. However, there are whisperings about Hermès changing the policy and now offering two quota bags per calendar year. If applied, it means you are able to purchase two bags at anytime during the year (even back to back) but cannot buy another Birkin or Kelly for the remainder of that year. Whether Hermès makes any official pronouncement or not, some stores allow two quota purchases per year at any time.
Constance is not a quota bag and therefore should not affect your ability to purchase two Birkins or Kelly. However, at times, it is even harder to access than a Birkin or Kelly. If you’re lucky enough to snag two Constances, you may still buy those two quota bags. But still (in theory) only two.
Put another way, if offered within the calendar year, you could purchase both the Black Kelly 25 Sellier and a Rose Scheherazade crocodile Birkin 30 (hypothetically speaking – though access to exotics is on a whole different level and probably is not realistic). However, a third bag shouldn’t be in the offing.
Like most things in life, though, there are workarounds.
Purchasing More than Two Quota Bags In a Year
Your first option is obvious. You can purchase multiple Birkins and Kellys from secondary handbag markets. (Read: The Real Story on Hermès Resale) There are many reputable aftermarket resellers from which to purchase these beauties, both online and in their new brick and mortars. Fashionphile, Rebag, and Ann’s Fabulous Finds, are a few, as well as visiting your local consignment shop. However, when choosing to purchase via any second hand medium, you must ALWAYS be wary of fakes. (Read: 10 Tips on How to Spot a Fake Handbag).
Second, for all you purists who choose to purchase solely at an Hermès boutique, here are a few scenarios.
Consider this: you purchased your two quota bags by the end of July (that covers both semesters). Then the SO (Special Order) you placed last year arrives a few months later. (Read: The Guide to Hermès Special Orders) Will your boutique allow you to purchase that third quota bag? The answer will depend entirely on the SM in your store. The SM has the authority to make an exception, and more than likely will allow you to purchase your long awaited SO.
On the flip side, you have purchased your two quota bags for the year, could you still be offered the opportunity to create your own SO? It seems, as with all things Hermes, it is very boutique specific, and the SM of your store has the final decision making power. Since a special order usually takes a minimum of 6 months to create, it is possible the offer will be extended believing that the completed order would not arrive until the following year.
Another scenario is traveling to Paris and visiting Hermès’ Faubourg Saint Honoré (FSH) mothership store. (Read: Birkin Reveal: An Inside Look into the New System in Paris). Assuming you are successful, it would not affect your chances of securing more quota bags at home. Since France’s computer system is not linked to the system in the U.S. or other countries, (and assuming you did not show your local SA your new purchase), you would still be able to purchase two quota bags from your home store in that same calendar year. (There has been chatter about globalizing the Hermès computer systems worldwide, but this has not yet occurred.)
While traveling abroad to other locales, it is believed that if you spend close to the equivalent of the cost of a Birkin or Kelly, a quota bag will magically appear from the back room. Although the SA may say when you arrive “we are sorry madam, we have no stock at this time,” this can all change once you have completed your shopping. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. Just be strategic about when you ask.
If you are fortunate enough to have a healthy (or unlimited) Hermès spending budget, and you purchase large quantities of rtw, shoes, fine jewelry, watches etc. in your local store or abroad, the SM is again able to make an exception and offer you a quota bag provided it is in stock and one you covet. (Read: Birkin Bait: The Stuff We Buy to Hook a Birkin)
Another option is to use a family member’s quota, such as your husband, daughter, or mother. However, this assumes they have a great relationship with their SA, an established profile in their name, a consistent and substantial purchase history, and they purchase the quota bag with a credit card in their name.
In sum, if your goal is to purchase as many Birkins and Kellys from an Hermès boutique in one calendar year, the best way is to maintain an honest, sincere, and genuine relationship with your SA and SM in your home store. Regularly purchase a variety of items which you truly love, keep your wish list up to date and specific, and hope you get offered the opportunity to create a special order bag. Those relationships often increase the number of quota handbags you will be offered. Finally, plan to visit the Paris FSH store and other Hermès boutiques during your trips abroad to increase your chances of securing another coveted bag.