Hermès First Time Buyer Guide (2024)

When it comes to craftsmanship, status, and sheer quality, there are simply no other handbags that can rival the Hermes Birkin and Kelly bags. Celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, Victoria Beckham, Lady Gaga, and NeNe Leakes, to name but a few, sport their Hermes bags on a regular basis. They have even made cameo appearances on the small screen in ‘Sex and the City’ and on the big screen in Woody Allen’s ‘Blue Jasmin’. The huge surge in demand for these iconic bags has led to thousands of women seeking their very first Hermes.

But, where do you start? How do you actually purchase a Birkin or Kelly? What style, skin, and color should you choose? Is it better to try and find a brand new bag or a pre-loved bag? All these questions and more are common when making the step to purchase your first ever Birkin. To help you find your perfect bag, we have created this Hermes Insights guide which is designed to answer common questions asked by first time buyers.

How to Buy a Hermes Birkin or Kelly

First things first, how do you actually buy a Birkin or Kelly bag? Unfortunately, for 99% of the women who lust after a Hermes bag the process of realizing that dream isn’t straightforward. Purchasing a Birkin or Kelly directly from a Hermes boutique isn’t as simple as wandering in, picking a bag off the shelf and paying for it at the cashier. Hermes implement strict rules as to who is able to acquire one of their iconic bags. There are long waiting lists that can stretch up to six years. Even getting on the waiting list is a struggle, with customers ranked on previous purchases and reputation with the company. Therefore, there is no guarantee that you will actually be able to get on the waiting list in the first place.

Instead, the path that the majority of first time buyers choose is that of an auction house or trusted consignment company. Auction houses are the riskier option of the two, with many buyers paying a premium on their purchase. The option of purchasing from a trusted consignment company is the most commonly used by first time buyers, who can find both new and pre-loved Hermes bags for a set price. Utilizing the secondary market when making your first Hermes purchase is highly recommended and the safest way to go.

New Vs Pre-loved Hermes Bags

Due to the difficulty in obtaining a bag directly from Hermes, the decision of whether to purchase a new or pre-loved bag is often made up on your behalf. However, that isn’t to say there aren’t new Birkins and Kellys available at auction or listed on consignment websites. The potential of Hermes bags as an investment has created a market where investors purchase new Hermes bags with the sole intention of selling them on. These bags are listed at auction or on the secondary market in pristine condition and are the equivalent of buying a brand new bag directly from Hermes.

There are pros and cons to both new and pre-loved Hermes bags. Many women will seek a new Hermes bag for their first purchase as they believe it holds many advantages over a pre-loved bag. However, due to the uniqueness of Birkins and Kellys such as limited edition colors and discontinued skins as well as their ability to withstand most wear and tear and remain timeless in the world of fashion, pre-loved Hermes bags are a viable option. We covered the pros and cons of new vs pre-loved Hermes handbags a few weeks ago which you can find here.

Tips When Buying a Hermes Bag

Now that you have a solid idea about how you want to purchase your first Hermes handbag and have considered the options of both new and pre-loved bags, you are ready to start shopping! However, you want to make sure you get value, a good quality handbag, and one that matches your wardrobe! Here are some tips to help you achieve just that:


Many women venture into the secondary market for value when purchasing a Hermes bag and the most important consideration when looking at pre-loved Hermes bags is the condition. At Baghunter, we implement a condition guide to help our clients evaluate the condition of each bag. Bags are rated as either pristine, excellent, very good, good, or fair depending on general wear and tear, scratches, leather and skin condition, and other factors. Using the condition guide in tandem with the pictures of the bag can help you understand the exact appearance of the bag before you make the purchase.


Many first time buyers will play it safe and look at colors which match their whole wardrobe such as black, beige, gold, or brown. However, one of the traits which make Hermes handbags unique is the wide range of colors available, many of which are specific and exclusive to Hermes. Purchasing a black Birkin may be convenient for your wardrobe, however, a bright pink or red bag will stand out more and is less likely to found elsewhere. It will also hold its value for longer if you wish to upgrade in the future. Have a look at our color guide here.


It is so important to know your leathers when purchasing a Hermes bag. Each leather has its own unique characteristics and each leather requires different levels of maintenance. Some of the standard leathers such as Clemence and Togo are textured to protect them from scratches and general wear and tear. Exotic skins such as crocodile, alligator, lizard, snake, and ostrich are high maintenance, but also much more rewarding visually. You can find our leather and skin guide here.

Don’t Settle for Less

A common problem with first time buyers is that they just want a bag so badly they settle for the first one they see in their price range. The joy of holding your first Birkin or Kelly can become greatly diminished if you settle for less. To avoid this disappointment, utilize services such as our VIP Club which provides priority access to all of our consigned handbags as well as a personal shopping service to help you source any luxury bag in the world using our network of contacts.

Hermès First Time Buyer Guide (2024)


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