WSJ Article on Birkins - only 100/yr???

  1. The Wall St Journal, Sat Sep 9, this morning, has an article touting Birkins as being a better investment than Gucci limited edition hobos in part because only 100 Birkins are made per year for the whole world.

    Somehow, this number (100/yr) is hard to believe ?????

    How can the company make any money from the design if only selling a 100 /yr. This article says the average price is $20k per bag

    Bags to tug at the strings of heart and purse | Features | The Australian

    So, annual receipts on 100 Birkins is around $2M. That does go very far towards last year's sales of 1.4 Billion EUROS (not dollars) !!!

    The Birkins on the PF waiting list would account for 40 % of the annual Hermes Birkin output !

    At 100/yr how could anyone snag this many ????

    exhibition of excess

    I just went to eBay and counted the no. of BNIB Birkins at prices $5k and (to weed out the fakes). There are some 50 new Birkins available on eBay alone, and that is not counting all the Japanese internet sellers (outside of eBay), and the Hermes boutiques.

    What do others think ???

    I am incredulous at this claim, maybe there are 100/yr in each size, or in each leather type or whatever ??? I might believe 1000-2000 per year :shrugs:
     
  2. i dont belive that and they got the avg. price wrong, unbelieveable!!
     
  3. That does sound incredulous. I think your higher figure makes more sense.

    I remember reading that a single craftsman can complete a birkin or kelly in about 18 hours...
     
  4. I agree with you; it has to be more than 100 a year. If you figure that the craftsmen work 42 weeks/year (it's France!), 35 hours/week (actual time at work bench is probably less than that), at 72 hours per bag (which is what the Wall Street Journal article said), that works out to around 20 bags a year per craftsman... They have to have more than 5 craftsmen working on the Birkins!

    Thank you for pointing out the WSJ article.
     
  5. It seems impossible that WSJ did not research their article with Hermes and/or get Hermes to vet the article.... Usually companies' PR groups have pre-fab fact sheets for reporters, so, I think the number came straight from Hermes.

    It may be that Hermes did not clarify that the 100/yr was for EACH size of Birkin, or for EACH leather type etc. But, that would just be an excuse for Hermes' PR group. An American company, especially a publicly traded one (Hermes is still 80 % owned by the family) would have been on the horn at 0700 to get the WSJ to print a corrigendum !

    I think that Hermes is deliberately vague or misleading about their productions numbers.

    Hermes is perfectly happy to let people believe some of the urban myths that spring up afterwards since they seem to enhance the mystery of their products.
     
  6. Well if that is the case, then why is the price quoted for the average birkin wrong? I doubt Hermes would tell someone that the average price of their bags is $20k when that's not at all true.
     
  7. The other day my mother told me she had seen a television show (Boston Law? LA Law? Something like that) where there was a female associate who had a $20K handbag and her colleagues were discussing whether it was a knock-off or not. My mother wondered what kind of handbag cost $20,000. (The chemo has really knocked out her memory :sad: ) All I could guess was a Croc Birkin. And even then, isn't it a bit under if you can get it?

    It's odd the WSJ should get such basic facts wrong.
     
  8. Here's a cut & paste of the relevant part of the article that was referenced:

    Hermès Birkin

    [​IMG] WHAT IT IS: Large leather shopper in a variety of skins that's designed to be a carryall for working or traveling women.
    BUZZ: Introduced in 1984, reportedly after the Hermès president sat next to British actress Jane Birkin on a plane and offered to design a bag to replace her shabby straw shopper. Has since gained notoriety for being on the arms of Martha Stewart and Lil' Kim during their trials. First bag to have a waiting list. Demand was so strong at the New York store that the wait was five years -- a list that's since closed. Hermès makes about two bags a week -- so only about 100 new bags are released each year.
    CONSTRUCTION: Each Birkin is made from start to finish by a Parisian craftsman, who spends up to 72 hours on one bag. Ms. Sauro says that offers "consistency of quality."
    INVESTMENT OUTLOOK: Very high. At Doyle New York's Couture and Accessories Auction this spring, a tan Togo leather Birkin that cost about $7,400 retail was resold for $16,800 due to intense bidding by two women. These bags have a "remarkable fashion mystique," says Mr. Bolton.
    Write to Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan at cheryl.tan@wsj.com


     
  9. Is it worth writing to Ms Tan and setting her straight, or should we be complicitly perpetuating the Hermes Mystique, I wonder.
     
  10. Sorry if you my original post was poorly worded..

    The WSJ article did NOTquote an average price for the Birkin.

    THIS is where I got the number of $20k avg per purse:

    Bags to tug at the strings of heart and purse | Features | The Australian

    If Birkins go from $10k to $100k (a rough guess.., counting the diamond purses) one could compute the avearge as the midpoint, ie 55k. But, few diamond purses are sold, so, an average weighted by the number of purses sold at each price would be closer to $20k.
     
  11. Ah, well one Australian dollar is about 75 US cents, so AU$20K = US$15K, approximately. And Australians probably pay a premium because of the distance travelled and perhaps because of import duties.
     
  12. that bag in the photo looks fake! the length of the handles are unusually long!
     
  13. yep - exactly this.:yes: coco, you're right! However, our bags are currently well priced, normally though, what coco said is correct.

    Can I just add, this reporter completely fabricated this figure, my girlfriend & I were disussing this very article at morning tea before we hit Hermes for our shopping spree...you must understand, the writers will write almost anything for a reaction, and they love to quote ridiculously high prices like this. In fact, we did our figures yeaterday on the current prices of Birkins, and we pay in Australia pretty much exactly the same as the US, once the AUD is converted to USD. It's the strength in the currency at present. A 35 Birkin in togo is around 10,000 AUD, which equates to $7500 US Dollars....not too much difference to what you girls pay??
     
  14. Say it takes ca. 20 hrs to make a Birkin (I know it's 18 but 20 is easier to calculate). So a craftsman can make 2 Birkins per week on average. That makes ca. 100 Birkins per year per craftsman. Maybe that is what the article was trying to refer to. 100 Birkins per year for the whole world is ridiculously low.
     
  15. especially since Sydney must have got 20% of the years' quota, if that was the case!!

    I think you're right, C....100 per craftsman, per year.......I've heard they have 30 craftsmen working on bags, so we could almost figure it out.......