The Ultimate Hermès Guide: 7 Steps To Reach Your Goals

Navigating the intricate and often mysterious luxury world of Hermès can be a challenge. It takes patience and perseverance. And if you are interested in the holy grail of handbags, some strategy. Unfortunately, few can simply waltz into a Hermès boutique for the first time and request a Birkin or Kelly.

Below is a step-by-step guide designed to walk you through the process to reach your Hermès goals. Whether it is a collection of silk scarves, a house full of home goods, a closet filled with shoes, boots and ready to wear, a collection of Hermès quota and non quota handbags, or all of the above. 

photo courtesy @stellaw2021

Step 1: Identify Your Goals

When beginning your Hermès exploration, it helps to first identify your goals. A good place to start is figuring out what you want from Hermès and your Hermès journey.

For some, just feeling comfortable in a luxury boutique (which can be intimidating), is enough. Wanting to learn more about the “orange lifestyle” and its products allows you freedom to explore with less of an intentional plan. Even if your goal is to develop a collection of scarves to rival that of the late Queen Elizabeth, it should be possible on a more casual basis. So, if your goals are of the more casual and non-handbag variety, relax and enjoy . . . though finding a wonderful SA (discussed below) will enhance your experience. 

However, the approach changes when you are looking to “score” your first (or tenth) Birkin or Kelly. Recognize that will not be easy. And frankly, right now, getting almost any bag is a challenge. Desiring a Special Order (SO) ups the ante considerably.

This is where these seven steps can help you navigate the process to achieve your goals. So to help create your plan, consider the following about why you are dipping into Hermès. Is it to:

  •  Learn about the luxury brand and see where it takes you 
  • Casually shop the brand with no specific goal in mind
  • Shop now and submit a wishlist when your budget allows 
  • Shop on a regular basis, purchase products to build your spend profile, submit a wishlist, and wait to be offered a Birkin or Kelly 

Once established, follow the steps below and enjoy the luxury world of Hermès .

photo courtesy @sparkledolll

Step 2 - Be Loyal to One Hermès Boutique

It may seem illogical, but the bottom line is you are better off shopping consistently at one Hermès boutique, rather than purchasing whenever you are near a store. In this regard, not all Hermès purchases are created equal because the goal is to build a profile in one location and preferably with only one Sales Associate (SA).

For newbies, this may seem very calculating and a lot of work, and that is pretty accurate. Understandably, many people refer to it as the “Hermès game.”

It is best to select a Hermès boutique that is located either near your home, work, or where you travel to most. If there is no store nearby, choose one in the closest city, state, or country that you visit most often. In that case, it may help to advise the SA that you do not live nearby but that you intend for that store to be your home store. 

Try to make all or almost all of your purchases at your chosen “home” boutique and with your SA. This allows your personal profile with your SA to grow with every purchase. Buying online or in another boutique just doesn’t count in this context. Although these purchases likely will appear on your total purchase history with the brand, visible to your SA, they may not increase your profile with your SA at your home store. And it is the relationship with your SA and home store which increases the likelihood of obtaining a Birkin or Kelly.

There is, however, one distinct difference between the Paris Hermès boutiques and other locations such as the US. In Paris, the SA’s work in specific departments such as jewelry, rtw, shoes, silks, etc. where they are specialists. There are separate SA’s for the leather appointments. In the US, your chosen SA is your go-to for all products including handbags.

photo courtesy

So, where does ‘travel shopping’ fit in. So much of tourism includes this favorite pastime. And we are not discouraging you from taking advantage of favorable currency exchange rates or the availability of products when traveling abroad. However, just be aware that those overseas purchases may not increase the total purchase history at your chosen Hermès boutique and may not increase the profile you have built with your SA.

We recently learned that U.S. profiles are now linked to stores in Paris, thereby possibly allowing SAs at Faubourg Saint Honoré, George V, and Sevrès to see if you have purchased a quota bag within the present calendar year. Hermès’ global linking system is designed to control and limit how many quota bags a client purchases within one calendar year.

As a result, people seeking that elusive third quota bag for the year, are likely out of luck. The guidance is two of these bags only, whether purchased in the U.S. or Paris or a combination. Take the case where a client travels to Paris and obtains a leather appointment. If that shopper has already purchased two quota bags during that calendar year in any location visible by Paris, another Birkin or Kelly bag cannot be offered. This is a huge change to the prior system where previously obtained quota bags  in Paris did not affect your ability to get two quota bags at home.

Update: Hermès Moves Closer to Global Quota System

photo courtesy @rinyks

Step 3 - Connecting With A Sales Associate

There are several ways to choose a SA. Once you connect with the right SA it is like most things in life, IYKYK.

All Hermès SA’s are extremely well trained and generally want to please customers. Sharing information about the brand is part of the job. It is highly unlikely you will make a mistake. 

One approach is to wander into a local boutique and connect with the first SA who approaches. If you’re comfortable, stay with that SA in the future. 

A second approach is to take your time and observe different SAs while browsing in the store. It is better to do this on a day you are not rushed and have time to spare. Check out the entire store. Watch several SAs and observe how they interact with their clients. Then, approach one when they are free and strike up a conversation or ask for assistance. The connection will grow from there.

When selecting a SA, consider your personal preference for gender and personality. For example, would you rather someone with a similar or opposite personality, and do you have a gender preference.

If you are high energy, outgoing, and very friendly, a SA that matches your personality may be best. If you are more of an introvert, a SA with the opposite personality may help you explore things you would not consider. 

Your personalities should complement each other. The goal is to enjoy the time spent together, and feel comfortable enough to be open and honest with your SA.

Likewise, observe the SAs behavior. Are they:

  • having a good time with their client
  • willing to check on stock availability 
  • patient, genuine, and honest with their advice

These suggestions are a guide to assist you in choosing a SA. Remember, it can be your choice.

A third approach is to make an appointment online. If there are no available time slots, try calling the store or walking in. Once inside, talk to the SAs. Ask questions, be curious, view all areas of the store. Have an idea about the type of SA that would complement your personality and style best. 

Once an introduction or connection is made with a SA, take it slowly to ensure it is a good fit. You shouldn’t feel pressured to make purchases, large or small, until you form a comfortable connection with one SA. Be open to hearing about new products and learning more about the brand. You’ll likely come to appreciate what makes Hermès so special.

photo courtesy @sonnetsofsilk

Step 4 - Show Loyalty To One Sales Associate and Maintain a Good Relationship

The number one way to demonstrate loyalty to the Hermès brand and to your SA is to only shop with one SA and to stick with your chosen home boutique. Of course, there are times when they are not available, but for the most part sticking to one person is the way to go. Particularly with limited merchandise, your SA will advocate for you.

Suggested Tips:

  • Be open and honest with your SA
  • Maintain good communication 
  • Stay in touch on a regular basis in person or via text or email, whatever they prefer
  • Shop on a schedule that is comfortable for your budget and goals 
  • Buy only what you love and will use or give as gifts

photo courtesy @randomlovesinlife1

photo courtesy @stellaw2021

To clarify, for purposes of being offered a Birkin or Kelly, it is important to understand the difference between the terms “profile” and “purchase history.”

A profile refers to the amount you spend with one SA in one Hermès location. A person’s profile is considered by the SA and management before a quota bag offer is extended.

A purchase history refers to the total amount you have spent at Hermès within your country, whether at your local boutique, at Hermè, at Hermès sale events, or at other boutiques within the U.S. for example.

Additionally, anything you buy abroad (other than a Birkin or Kelly) may not be seen on your local store’s purchase history record. They may only be able to see if you purchased a Birkin or Kelly (quota bag). So all of the shoes, belts, scarves, rtw, jewelry, etc. you may purchase in Paris or elsewhere abroad may not increase your total purchase history at home.

As previously discussed, Hermès in Paris has been linked with the US for purposes of viewing quota bag purchases. We do not have confirmation what other countries have been linked with Paris at the present time. We receive reports from people all over the world – some that share theirs have been linked, but others that have not yet been. Therefore we can ascertain that it is currently in progress.

The good news is that your personal store profile doesn’t expire. As long as you shop at your home store, your  profile remains intact and a part of your purchase history. If the SA leaves, is away for personal reasons, becomes a manager, or you decide to change SA’s within the same location, your profile remains intact. 

How To Switch Hermès Sales Associates in the Same Store

On the other hand, if you choose to switch to a new boutique your personal profile with your former SA may not travel with you. In this circumstance, you may have to start over building a relationship with a new SA and start building a new personal profile with that SA. This can be at the discretion of the individual store manager or director. Your total purchase history at Hermès remains intact and it is up to the new boutique to decide whether to consider it when offering a quota or non quota bag.

A word of caution. Despite the plethora of advice regarding “Birkin bait,” it’s not the right strategy. Nobody wants a closet or home full of unwanted merchandise. Your collection of goods may lead to frustration more than adoration for Hermès products. Nor can anyone consistently assure you that a certain spend level guarantees a quota bag. As we always advise, buy what you like for yourself, or as gifts, and not for resale.

In addition, there is relatively new language on the Hermès receipt that states the customer warrants that they are purchasing products for their personal use and will not directly or indirectly resell the products for commercial purposes. Whether enforceable or not, the clear implication is that Hermès doesn’t want you to buy to sell. 

Hermès Buyers Beware: Read Your Receipts

Step 5 - Show A Genuine Interest in the Brand By Discovering Hermès Products in All Departments (Métiers)

photo courtesy @stellaw2021

Hermès is virtually synonymous with luxury; the top of the line in so many ways. For the brand, its products reach far beyond the uber-popular and famed leather department. Leather & Saddlery, as it is called, houses handbags, including the holy grail Birkins and Kellys. But, there’s so much more. So expand your horizons… In fact, commitment to the brand beyond bags is quite important. It’s also helpful in building a profile.

Take the time to explore and experience Hermès’ beautiful silks. After all, they were favorites of the late Queen Elizabeth.

Her Majesty: The Queen of Hermès Scarves

Not into scarves? How about ready-to-wear and shoes? Available for both men and women, there’s a new collection every season. Or stick to tried and true classics. Jumping boots are always a favorite. Oran sandals come in a virtual rainbow of options and are loved by women and men worldwide. 

Hermès’ jewelry collection spans from enamel click clack bracelets to diamond encrusted jeweled bracelets and necklaces. And there are beautiful fashion watches, as well as a collaboration with Apple fitness watches.

photo courtesy @stellaw2021

photo courtesy @stellaw2021

The Home department has many beautiful dinnerware sets in various patterns, decorative items for your home, blankets and pillows to adorn the couch and bed, gorgeous glassware, and gifts for any occasion. Although Hermès originally built its reputation in equestrian goods, it has expanded its offerings to include your pet dog, furniture for almost every room in your home, and games to play with the entire family.

Explore Hermès’ new makeup line introduced in 2020. It began with the launch of Rouge Hermès, its hugely popular lipstick line. Now the beauty line includes nail polish, blush, foundation, and accessories. It is a great place to experience Hermès without a large investment.

Don’t limit yourself to the leather department. There is an entire world of Hermès waiting for you to experience.

photo courtesy @beauty_by_maj

Step 6 - Have Patience and Enjoy The Experience

One of the hardest parts of maneuvering the complicated, unusual, and mysterious world of Hermès is patience. Although it is fun to visit the boutique, shop for new items, and visit with your SA, what is not always easy is waiting for a bag offer. Even non quota bags are becoming very difficult to obtain.

No doubt the pandemic has affected the Hermès shopping experience. Inventory shortages, supply chain issues, and increased popularity in the brand, among other things, have made shopping even more difficult.

Nevertheless, as they say, this too shall pass. In the meantime, remain loyal to the brand, enjoy shopping with your SA, and hopefully the quota bag offers will appear. It will be worth the wait.

Rumor or Fact: Hermès Is Changing the Rules

photo courtesy @dancingindacloset

Step 7 - Don’t Compare Your Journey to Others

photo courtesy @therealfashionblogger

Now, this is probably one of the hardest parts – not comparing your Hermès journey to anyone else’s. Every person’s experience is different.  Many factors, both tangible and not, contribute including budget, spend, goals, interests, timeline, location, and so on. Even preferences in color, leather, and hardware can make a difference.

A reliance on what is on social media (Instagram, Tik Tok, YouTube, Facebook), can negatively affect your expectations and experience at Hermès. It’s perhaps better to use social media for entertainment purposes and to enjoy the “eye candy.” 

Despite what you may see in the multitude of unboxings on social media, quota and non-quota bags are not easy to obtain. Furthermore, many of the posts are actually reposts, delayed posts, or merely staged for social media. Sadly, others involve counterfeit goods. 

Hard as it is, try not to compare your Hermès experience to others. Instead, share in their joy. Be happy for them. Not jealous. It may not seem right or even be fair. But, as with most things in life, it is better to appreciate what you do have. Your time will come.

photo courtesy @pretty_purses

Good things come to those who wait. 

Follow the 7 steps above. Enjoy the process. After all, it is a journey, not a destination.

Published: September 25th, 2022
Updated: February 11th, 2024

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1 Responses to “The Ultimate Hermès Guide: 7 Steps To Reach Your Goals”

  • What are these articles all about :-)) ? I think Hermes postet them. (How to build relationships etc etc etc how to speak to a sales person… haha) Hermes fairy tale!
    This is still a store that likes to sell its items !!!
    I walked into the Hermes NY Wallstreet store (5 years ago) asked for a Birkin, got registered… and they called me 10 days later..I could pick up my bag. For the other bag in a special color, I went to some other Hermes store in Germany (3 years ago) they called me 2 months later and I could pick up the bag. I did not have to buy alle these things (scarves, fragrances, belts etc etc) and did not have to „build a relationship“ with someone in a store… I just asked for that what I wanted !