Friday, January 18, 2013

Why ARE Designer bags like Hermes so expensive?

Occasionally I will post a photo of an expensive bag I would like.  Truthfully, I realize I probably won't ever own an Hermes bag (notice I didn't say that I definitely won't....a girl can dream).  But that doesn't stop me from looking at them with admiration and yearning from time to time.  The most expensive bags I have are Kate Spade, and Kate Spade is relatively inexpensive when you start talking about Hermes or Chanel.  And last time I posted some photos of expensive bags someone (I think it was you Cynthia) made a comment about wondering why they are so darned expensive.  And maybe also something about a $40 purse seemingly doing the same job for far less money.

It is true if your main criteria for purse ownership is something that will allow you to port items around with you, your options are pretty wide open for far less expensive things that will serve that purpose.  However, let's look at why expensive bags are expensive.

First of all, an expensive bag is usually made of real leather.  Real leather comes from real animals, in case you didn't know. (duh, yeah you knew, I knew you knew)  I mean that sounds super OBVIOUS, but think about it.  Think about animals and how they live.  What sort of conditions they are exposed to.  If it's cowhide then it's easier to find a surface that is unflawed enough to make a handbag.  But still, there are normal things that happen to animals, birth defects, injuries, etc.  that make is a little tricky sometimes to find PERFECT hides which can be tanned into perfect leather.  Tanning itself is not a quick and easy process.  It's messy and laborious.  The hides are brain tanned which in and of itself is more tricky because you have to have brain matter to tan with.  Other tanners use chemical processes, but most of the major bag manufacturers do not.  They still find traditional tanning methods to be the best.  These are artisans who carefully chose the hides and then carefully tan them.  Then think about how difficult it is to find a crocodile or an alligator with no mars in their hide.  Think about how that animal survives and fights within it's own species.  They have scars.  And scars are not acceptable on an expensive bag.  So the price goes up if you want a leather from an animal with more natural scarification.  Then the leathers have to be dyed.  And that is no easy process either to get the perfect hues.  Fashion hues are very very specific.

The artisans trained to actually craft an Hermes bag spend a couple of years in training first before they are ever allowed to make an actual bag that will be sold to a customer.  A COUPLE OF YEARS of training.  The bags are made entirely by hand.  Every bit of it is hand stitched, cut, trimmed, etc.  Nothing is done on a machine.  Even when they are finally allowed to work on a bag, most new artisans take around 40 hours to complete ONE stitched together bag.  Here is a video that shows some of the stitching process:

And here is something else about an Hermes (or even some of the other high end hand bags).  They are considered an investment. If you get in a bind you can always sell your bag for cold hard cash.  I recently saw on a television show a women have to give up two of her Hermes bags as part of a lawsuit because she didn't have the cash to settle.  You won't ever be able to do that with a bag you bought at Target.  :)

I hope that answers some of the questions about why high end bags are so...well, high end.

Here are some beauties I've been pinning lately:

Chanel, Alligator, $5,500

Dior, Calfskin, $2,500

Hermes, Baby Bull Leather, $15,000

Valentino, Calfskin, $1,945

Dolce & Gabbana, Calfskin, $2,995

Michael Kors, Calfskin, $995 (look how reasonable this seems!  :)  Perspective!)

Fendi, Goatskin, $3,750

Marc Jacobs, Calfskin, $1795

Which is why I'm going to stick with Kate Spade for now...

This little beauty in pebbled cowhide is only $490

(and if I get lucky and find it at Last Chance or an outlet...even better!) 


Anonymous said...

Poor animals... :(

Handbag Insurance said...

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Any handbags are not much expensive as I too have recently purchased some good quality handbags from consign of the times which I purchased in a reasonable rate.
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sanam arzoo said...

It's fairly neutral so I'd use it with everything lol. I don't modify purses around, so I'd keep with it for every day. My benefits this is a wonderful bag!Love the bag and I believe the fact so much with what you are saying.. It is a great factor to remain real to yourself. Expensive Handbags

Jackson said...

Women like to take kate spade handbags as per their closest which makes them to look more beautiful and glamorous. Can you tell me from where should i shop for handbags?

Modern Luxury Handbags said...

Women likes handbags next to clothing

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Giselle Martinez said...

I think that this is almost I humane. To have someone working by hand on a handbag for 40 hours and to sell that handbag for $15,000 while I don't even think that the person crafting it makes note not close to that amount per handbag is a violation of human rights.

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