Friday, June 13, 2008

From Bags to Riches (2)

So I'm more than halfway through Michael Tonello's book 'Bringing Home the Birkin' and I'm enjoying the ride.

Michael describes his evolution from a top Hermes scarf reseller to his discovery of the Birkin handbag.

I still don't understand how he manages to make a profit on this: he buys the extraordinarily expensive bags at official Hermes stores all over Europe, and then puts them on the Internet for sale, where they often get picked up before he even gets to the auction phase. Are there really that many people who don't mind paying inflated prices - i.e. more than the store price Michael got?

But then, the author himself was amazed at the buying power and hunger for Birkin bags he found with some of his customers. One of them had a reselling web site of her own at So she had to pay Michael's high prices and then add her own profit margin to that again, and still find buyers. Crazy, isn't it?

The writer also presents a list with drawings of the main types of Hermes shop employees, helping you to find out if you too can circumvent what Michael calls the fictional waiting list for Birkins.

To get deeper into the mood of the book, I went to visit a couple of Hermes stores in Taiwan. The biggest one must be the shop at the front of the new Sogo BR4, which has lots of orange scarves, bags, clothes, beach apparel and many small objects. I also passed by the other Taipei Hermes, in the basement of the Grand Formosa Regent Hotel, where I took the snap you see above. Top department stores in the cities of Taichung and Kaohsiung also host Hermes shops.

By the way: I didn't buy anything, because right now, I don't have a budget that allows for investment in the French company's products. And before I plunge into the career of a reseller, I'll have to research more about the opportunities. And maybe ask Michael Tonello for advice first.


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