It takes a lot of work to own a Birkin bag. The starting price is around $12,000 and it can cost all the way up to $150,000. But the price isn't the only barrier to entry for the iconic bag. It's actually pretty hard to simply find one for sale. Hermès stores rarely display the bag, and when asked about purchasing one, sales associates admit they are sold out or offer up a multiyear waiting list.
So what does it really take to buy a Birkin? Radio program Planet Money recently did an investigation into purchasing the iconic design, and the results were surprising.
The real secret to snagging the bag is actually about what you do before you try to buy it. Reporter Stacey Vanek Smith followed a successful customer, named Michael, who dropped a lot of money on Hermès products before a saleswoman brought out the hallowed bag. "She came out with a big orange box — a Birkin bag. And she let him buy it for $20,000," Stacey explained. "Michael had accidentally cracked the code — buying a bunch of really expensive stuff at the Hermès store first, then casually ask for a bag, and you'll get one."
The Birkin is meant to signify true luxury, so it's only fitting that the brand wants customers to build a true understanding of and relationship with the brand first. And since a Birkin has on average a higher annual return rate than gold, it's also a great investment. Listen to the full podcast below to hear the entire intriguing story yourself.