To all the ladies out here, if you’re a connoisseur of luxury accessories, you’ll likely already know that an Hermès bag doesn’t come easy . Much to our disappointment, getting our hands on our dream bag requires much more than simply walking into a store and picking a bag. A timeless and chic Hermès bag is both a fashion statement and an investment. Over the years, we’ve seen many rare bags from the brand sold for a hefty amount of dollars. One recent example would be the exceptional, matt white himalaya niloticus crocodile diamond retourné Kelly 28 with 18k white gold and diamond hardware that was auctioned off at Christie’s for a whopping US$500,000 – setting the new world record for price achieved for any handbag sold at auction. Meet Chen Man, the artist who just sparked debate with her Dior photo in China Whether it’s for passion or investment, serious luxury shoppers are always looking to secure more Hermès bags on our wish lists. That’s why we sat down with Charlene Ree, tech entrepreneur and Hermès collector, to learn more about her journey with the French luxury maison and to get some tips to take home. How did you begin your Hermès collector journey? It all started back in 2008. A handbag is a statement piece for a lot of outfits, so the ultimate goal for a lot of people is getting a Hermès bag – including myself. It had been on my dream bag list for a long time. My start-up company that I established in 2011 became profitable after two years, so I decided it was time to reward myself with a nice handbag. I searched everywhere to find out how to get one, as you know, Hermès bags aren’t as accessible as those from other brands. I got my very first piece, a Hermès Kelly 32, through my husband’s friend who owns a second-hand store. For Hermès, we know authenticity is very important , that’s why we reached out to someone we trust. Glam up your fave devices with these stylish new tech accessories When did you first shop in an Hermès store? I remember there was an episode about Samantha in Sex and the City where she was trying to get an Hermès bag and was told that there’s a long wait-list. So I walked into a Hong Kong store and asked if I can get on the wait-list, only to be told there is no wait-list. Then, in 2013, we happened to be in Europe for a business trip in Paris. I didn’t think I would be able to get a bag, so I wasn’t really planning on visiting Hermès. But we saw a bangle in the flagship store where there was a nice young gentleman assisting us, and we decided to buy the bangle. Afterwards, I asked about handbags and was referred to a lady in the other department. I told them I was looking for a Kelly. They asked me to come back the following day but made no promises. The next day, they offered me a Kelly 35 Rouge Casaque, which is one of their classic colours. Do you think it’s easier to buy handbags in Europe? Hermès has their own policies, every store is different. It’s determined by their store managers in terms of their styles and how they value their customers. For Paris, it’s their flagship store, so it makes sense that they have more stock. It depends on the timing when you walk in. They play a fair game, whereas other stores around the world reserve handbags only for their valuable customers who are willing to build relationships and understand the brand culture. 5 of the trendiest designer trainers for autumn/winter What is a special order? How long does the process take? A special order means a customised handbag. They offer it to select customers who really appreciate the brand, meaning it’s by invitation only. According to my understanding, each store is given a certain quota to invite customers to place special orders. Each store has their own rules to do so, as does each country. If you are an Hermès enthusiast, that would seem like the ultimate goal. Yes, there is a framework – from selecting the type of leather to designing the combination – however, it’s still unique, made by you. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Charlene Ree (@hluv202) Do you think placing a special order is worth it considering the long wait? Yes, because it feels very selective, and it is an honour to be selected. You could ask for an invitation, but it’s really not up to you. I’ve had four special order experiences and every time was a surprise from my sales associate. Nowadays, people tend to look for self-identity in everything. When it comes to showing your identity through bags, Hermès’ special order is definitely a unique choice. From leather to buckle, it’s all up to you. The house is limiting purchases to only two bags per customer each year, and some people might realise that special order is also counted as a quota. Ivanka Trump’s most daring outfits, from red carpet to White House Which Hermès handbags that you own have the most resale value? Crocodile leather for the smallest size of bags: Kelly 25 and Birkin 25. Nowadays, you can search for it at auction houses such as Christie, Sotheby’s and more. Exotic leather is also one to look out for, as it has risen sharply in value in recent years. Why is Hermès so unique to you among all other luxury brands? It’s a statement piece for every girl, and the craftsmanship makes their products feel like an art piece to invest in. The house doesn’t have to change their style much because its products are classic and timeless. You can pass them on to future generations. Want more stories like this? Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter .