The legendary Hermès brand, trademarked by the image of a handler and his carriage horse, has been reigning leatherwear royalty since it’s founding in 1837. A true heritage brand, Hermès started out as a saddlery and harness workshop serving private clientele. Over the course of over almost 182 years, Hermès has become one of the most coveted luxury brands on the planet, widely known for their exclusive and pricey Birkin bag – which has a rumored waitlist that is years long. 
From 1837 in Paris to 2019 and worldwide – this is how Hermès transitioned from saddle shop, to maker of the world’s most expensive and exclusive bags. 

1837 – Hermès was founded by Thierry Hermès in 1837. At this time, Hermès was a harness workshop that served private clientele, mostly French noblemen and carriage businesses.

1855 – By this time, Hermès harnesses are widely regarded in Paris. So much so, that Hermès is recognized by the Exposition Of Paris for exceptional craftsmanship.

1867 – Hermès wins first prize at the 1867 World’s Fair in Paris.

1878 – Thierry Hermès passes away.

1880 – Charles-Emile Hermès takes over his father’s business and moves Hermès to a new location on 24 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore, where it remains to this day. Hermès soon begins to sell their products in a retail setting to their clients, expanding their customer base exponentially.

Image courtesy of W Magazine

1900 – Hermès introduces their first bag, the Haute-à-Courroies bag (HAC Birkin), designed to carry a saddle.

1902 – Charles-Emile retires.

1919 – Emile-Maurice buys his brother, Adolphe Hermès out of the business due to a decline in sales. 

1922 – Hermès introduces it’s first leather bag, a smaller version of the Haut a Courroies, designed by Emile-Maurice, after his wife complains about not being able to find a bag that she likes. 

Image courtesy of Paris Select Book

1924 – Hermès opens two stores inside French resorts in the United States, expanding their global reach. 

1929 – Hermès releases their first women’s apparel collection.

1935 – The the Sac a depeches bag is released, later known as the Kelly bag, due to Grace Kelly’s love of the bag and the craze she created by carrying it. Women flocked to Hermès requesting the “Kelly Bag” and it has been known as such since. 

1937 – The Hermès silk scarf is introduced, gaining popularity among influential figures such as Jacqueline Kennedy.

1950 – The perfume division of Hermès is started and Hermès begins to use their iconic orange boxes.

1951 – Emile-Maurice Hermès passes away, Hermès is taken over by Robert Dumas Hermes and Jean Rene Guerrand.

1978 – Jean Louis Dumas takes over Hermès.

1981 – The Birkin bag, named after Jane Birkin, is introduced.

Image courtesy of British Vogue

1937 – The Hermès silk scarf is introduced, gaining popularity among influential figures such as Jacqueline Kennedy.

2003 – Jean Louis Dumas retires and Patrick Thomas takes over Hermès.

2012 – Axel Dumas is named CEO of Hermès and continues to serve the company as CEO presently.

2016 – Study conducted by Baghunter shows that the Birkin bag has been a better investment than stocks or gold over the last 35 years

Image courtesy of Bag Hunter

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