Why is Hermès skipping out on the second-hand luxury market? Like LVMH, the Birkin bag maker is disinterested in sustainable, pre-owned fashion platforms
Birkin bag maker Hermès is not interested in getting involved in the fast-growing second-hand luxury market which has attracted some its rivals, its chief Axel Dumas said on Friday, July 29.
Unlike Kering, which has invested in reseller Vestiaire Collective and sells some of its labels on platforms for pre-owned wares, Hermès sees the second-hand market as a threat, saying it drives up prices and can fuel counterfeiting.
“It would be to the detriment of our regular client who comes to the store,” Dumas told analysts following strong first half results when asked if he had engaged with any reseller.
Hermès is renowned in the industry for its careful management of production and stocks, which have helped maintain its aura of exclusivity.
The group does not sell its prized handbags online.
“Demand has always been higher than our offer, we’ve been confronted with this for years,” Dumas said, adding the group would not produce more if it meant compromising on quality.
The company has limited growth in its leather goods production 6 per cent to 7 per cent annually. It is currently building five new leather workshops in France due to come into use over the next five years.
“We produce with one thing in mind, quality, if we don’t manage to have this in terms of know-how or beauty of materials, I prefer not to produce,” even if this leads to bottlenecks, he said, adding that it takes 15 hours of labour to make a Birkin bag.
- In light of growing consumer interest in preloved fashion, especially environmentally conscious millennials and Gen Z shoppers, some luxury brands like Kering are embracing the practice
- Not Hermès, though – the maison is well-known for its ultra-exclusive leather goods, such as the US$10,000-plus Birkin, which has output caps so demand always exceeds supply