Guide to Hermès Special Order Handbags


There comes a moment in life that every Hermès client has been waiting for, and that is the moment in which Hermès offers them the opportunity to create the bag of their dreams. Whether you’re a new Hermès enthusiast, or you already have an extensive collection, here we want to guide you to learn more about a Hermès Special Order and how they currently work.

Dive deep and explore the process to create a Hermès Special Order handbag!

  1. What is a Hermès Special Order?
  2. Hermès Horseshoe Print
  3. Which elements can you customize?
  4. How to place a Hermès Special Order?
  5. Special Order Color Charts
  6. Hermès Special Order FAQ
    • How long does it take for a Special Order bag to arrive?
    • When do you pay for the Special Order bag?
    • How much does a Hermès Special Order bag cost?
    • Does Hermès reject a Special Order?
    • What happens if you reject a Special Order bag?
    • How to ask for a Special Order Opportunity?
    • How do you qualify for a Hermès Special Order?
    • Do you have to spend while waiting for a Special Order bag?
    • What if the Special Order bag arrives after you spend your Quota?

What is a Hermès Special Order?


A Hermès Special Order is an opportunity granted to very few clients to craft the Hermès bag of their dreams. The Special Orders are typically granted during the Spring or Autumn seasons. Special Orders are just for clients that go regularly to a Hermès official store and have a purchase history; you can’t place a Special Order if you buy handbags online from resale marketplaces.

These custom handbags include many bag models, such as Birkin, Kelly, Constance and Kelly Pochette, these are considered quota bags, very exclusive accessories. Even without a Special Order, clients can only gain access to a maximum of two of these bags per year, providing their SA (Sales Associate) chooses them to opt for these bags. However, you can also gain access to quota bags if you get the chance to ask for a Special Order.

You can also ask for non-quota bags as your Special Order aside from your normal quota of two bags per year. The non-quota bags that you can ask to be custom made can be Picotin, Jige, Lindy, Roulis, Bolide, etc.

Hermès Horseshoe Print


The very well-known Horseshoe Print or HSS is a specific print applied only to Special Order handbags. This print is located right next to the “Hermès – Paris – Made in France” main print. This symbol means that the bag is completely unique and tailored to the client’s preferences, it is often related to high status and loyalty to the Hermès brand, it is a badge of honor that tells everyone that you belong to the Hermès Horseshoe Club.

As Special Orders are extremely difficult to get, HSS bags are very rare and they are often sold at premium prices on luxury resale markets, because they are unique and anyone that has one can be considered of high status. Collecting Hermès HSS bags can be a very valuable asset for Hermès collectors as the price for these bags can be of great significance on resale.

Which elements can you customize?


Clients tend to think that they can change almost everything about a bag, but there are certain limitations as to what the brand accepts to be a Special Order. Here we show you the elements you can customize on your bespoke Hermès handbag:

  • Model of the bag:
    • Birkin 25, 30, 35 or 40 on either Sellier or Retourné construction.
    • Kelly 20, 25, 28, 32 or 35 on either Sellier or Retoruné construction.
    • Kelly Pochette, but sometimes it can be excluded.
    • Constance 18 and 1-24.
    • Most of the non-quota bags, but it depends on availability and stores’ locations.
  • Hardware:
    • Gold and Palladium are always available.
    • Rose Gold is available depending on location.
    • Brushed Gold and Brushed Palladium are available specifically on Special Orders, but they can’t be included in Mini Kelly 20 bags.
    • Permabrass is available for Special Orders and it can be applied to Mini Kelly 20 bags.
  • Stitching:
    • You can choose contrasting stitches that are made in a different color to the leather. This is referred to as “line”.
    • Or you can opt for stitches on the same color as the leather, blending completely into the piece.
  • Leather or Skin:
    • Togo, Epsom, Swift, Chevre, Clemence, Crocodile, Alligator and Ostrich.
    • Not everyone is allowed to order an exotic skin bag, this is only reserved for extra VIP clients. The Sales Associates and the Sales Managers are the ones deciding if you qualify for exotic skin.
  • Colorway: There are three types of colorways that you choose from for your Special Order bag.
    • Line: This bag has the same color inside and outside but the stitches are made in a contrasting color.
    • Verso: The outside of the bag is of a specific main color, and the interior can be of a different color, it is picked from a lining color option list.
    • Multico: This bag is bi-color. The front, back and bottom of the bag are made on the main color, whilst the sangles, sides, handle and strap are of a different color. The lining for a bi-color bag is made with the main color.
    • Hermès stopped creating tri-color bags a few years ago.
    • At your Leather Appointment you can pick colors and skins with a sample box that can help you see the contrast between hues.
  • Strap length: Hermès allows you to choose different sizes for the shoulder straps of Kelly, Constance, Roulis and Bolide bags, providing more customization for comfort. These are the available sizes:
    • 70 cm
    • 85 cm
    • 105 cm
    • 120 cm
  • Additional personal touches:
    • Your initials can be added to the clochette if you want.
    • There are some extra metal motifs that can be added, such as a shooting star, a horse’s head, a four-leaf clover and a heart with a keyhole.

How to place a Hermès Special Order?


The Hermès Special Order can be placed once the SA lets you know that you have been chosen to gain access to a customized bag. It only takes to set an appointment to meet with your SA at the store so they can guide you through the process.

Previously to 2023, Hermès stores used to fill out forms with the details that every client requested for their Special Order bags, showing them samples contained on a red box with the different colors, skins, hardware and thread options. This way they could pick and physically see the combinations before deciding.

Today, Hermès has changed for the better to provide a digital experience for their clients. Now the Hermès Special Order can be placed and reviewed from an Ipad where you can pick the type of bag, size, skin, color, hardware and colorway. Best of all, the specialized app allows you to see a generated image of how your HSS bag would look. If you’re not pleased with the result, you can make changes before submitting it.

This process is carried out at the store alongside your SA, still with the support of the acclaimed red box where you can also see the samples and combinations first-hand. The red box not only contains skins, colors, thread and hardware samples, but also small details that can be added for personalization, such as metal motifs and samples for initials.

Once the new digital process is done, you will receive an email with all the characteristics for your new Hermès Special Order bag alongside the generated image. Now you have confirmation of the order that will be sent to France for its creation.

Special Order Color Charts


The color charts available for Hermès bags can vary greatly each year and season, but they are always updated to help you pick the main color of the bag, and also the color of the lining or some other details.

Colors may also vary depending on the skin, not all hues are available for every skin choice. Exotic skins may not be eligible for you, and this needs to be discussed with your SA before the appointment or during it.

Here we show you the available colors for 2024 Hermès Special Orders classified by skin:

  • Epsom: Craie, Biscuit, Gold, Bleu Saphir, Vert Cypress, Bleu Foncé, Rouge Sellier, Noir, Bleu Celeste, Gris Meyer, Vert Jade.
  • Clemence: Nata, Gold, Etoupe, Beton, Biscuit, Bleu de Prusse, Vert Cypress, Noir, Macassar, Gris Meyer, Rouge H, Blue Jean.
  • Togo: Craie, Gris Perle, Etain, Naturel Sable, Biscuit, Rousseau, Bleu Nuit, Noir, Rouge Sellier, Gris Meyer, Bleu Saphir.
  • Swift: Beton, Biscuit, Gold, Vert Criquet, Beige de Weimar, Rousseau, Caban, Noir, Ebene, Gris Meyer, Bleu Zellige.
  • Chévre Mysore: Nata, Bleu Marine, Vert Criquet, Rouge H, Brique, Etoupe, Bleu de France, Noir, Bleu Foncé, Caramel, Kraft.
  • Ostrich: Noir, Bleu Foncé, Parchemin, Vert Verone, Bleu Glacier, Vert Cypress, Cognac, Tourterelle.
  • Matte Alligator and Crocodile: Noir, Gold, Vanille, Bleu Saphir, Rousseau, Rouge Sellier, Vert D’Eau, Bleu Zellige.
  • Shiny Alligator and Crocodile: Noir, Graphite, Bordeaux, Vert Jade, Havane, Rousseau, Bleu Electrique.
  • Lining (Chévre Mysore skin): Nata, Gold, Gris Perle, Rose Mexico, Orange Poppy, Bordeaux, Lime, Noir, Bleu Saphir, Bleu Indigo.

Hermès Special Order FAQ

Next, we will answer some of the most frequently asked questions regarding Hermès Special Orders. Keep reading and clear your doubts completely before building the bag of your dreams.

How long does it take for a Special Order bag to arrive?


Placing a Hermès Special Order is very simple, but waiting may become one of the hardest things to do. Once your SA has submitted the Special Order through the Ipad system at the Hermès store, it may take anything between 6 to 18 months to arrive from France. However, if you placed an order for an exotic skin handbag, it may take even longer, something between 2 to 3 years.

Although the waiting period can be excruciatingly long, once you have your customized HSS handbag you will know that it was completely worth the wait. The bag will not only be incredibly valuable and rare, but it will also be just what you wanted, so you can treasure it and use it as much as you want for several decades.

When do you pay for the Special Order bag?


A Hermès Special Order bag is only paid for when it has already arrived from France and is presented to the client. If by any chance the client changed their mind, they don’t have any obligations to keep the bag nor pay for it at all.

It is rather common that some Hermès clients change their mind upon receiving their new HSS bag, as some personal situations may have changed or even their economic situation. When long periods of time have passed, some people just don’t feel represented by the bag anymore, or they may have been offered a similar bag as part of their quota for the previous year. Either way, accepting a bag and paying for it is not mandatory.

If a bag is rejected by a client, it is simply added to the store’s stock and sold to another client eventually. This doesn’t incur any consequences for the original client that placed the Special Order.

How much does a Hermès Special Order bag cost?


Special Order bags are always priced based on reception instead of the moment when the order is placed. This means that the bag is priced similarly to other bags with the same types of skin, leather and colors to represent the prices of the current market, so they are priced and paid upon reception.

The Special Order bags are priced similarly to other bags, it doesn’t matter if they are special, if they have different colors and skins, or if they have a customized strap, they are all priced the same as non-special bags.

Does Hermès reject a Special Order?


The case where Hermès rejects a Special Order is rare, but it doesn’t mean that it is not possible. Hermès can reject a Special Order because of one of these reasons: there is a scarcity on the material or colors to craft the bag, or the choice that was submitted does not match the pre-approved options.

In certain cases, Hermès may adjust or limit the available choices due to specific circumstances. An example of this occurred a few years ago with the 5P pink crocodile, a highly sought-after and exceptionally rare exotic color featured on the Special Order Color Chart. The popularity of this color led to a high number of client requests, exceeding Hermès’ ability to fulfill all orders, which is why some clients had to select an alternative color.

What happens if you reject a Special Order bag?


Clients are not obligated to accept the Special Order they have requested. Situations may have changed between placing the order and its arrival. If the bag is declined, it becomes part of the boutique’s available inventory for another client.

At times, Hermès boutiques craft their own Special Order bags, often in bi-color designs, to present to clients with leather appointments in-store. These exclusive bags bear the horseshoe stamp and are usually designed in two complementary colors. They are priced equivalently to non-Special Order bags of the same size and leather. This presents a unique chance to acquire a Special Order piece tailored specifically for the boutique.

How to ask for a Special Order Opportunity?


Establishing a strong relationship with your SA is essential for various reasons. They become familiar with your preferences, style, and handbag collection, which can lead to discussions about future bag options. Being open and transparent with your SA builds trust, opening up opportunities to explore Special Order possibilities.

When presenting your wish list to the SA, consider including a Special Order as an option, especially if you’re eyeing rare colors or styles. This could be a chance to discuss the possibility of creating your dream bag.

It’s important to note that not every SA can invite a client every season, especially in big cities where rotations are necessary due to the high number of SAs and clients. While the SA will suggest names for consideration, the final decision to approve or reject a Special Order request lies with the manager.

How do you qualify for a Hermès Special Order?


At Hermès, brand loyalty and a positive relationship with your SA are paramount. Traditionally, Special Orders were reserved for VIP clients with extensive histories with the brand and their SA. However, Hermès has recently extended this exclusive privilege to both long-standing and newer clients who have not previously had the opportunity.

Do you have to spend while waiting for a Special Order bag?


You are not required to make additional purchases or further establish a purchase history while waiting for your Special Order to arrive. The Special Order will be personalized with your name and offered to you upon arrival. However, it’s always beneficial to maintain your relationship with your SA and the brand, although not obligatory.

What if the Special Order bag arrives after you spend your Quota?


If your Special Order bag arrives after you have already received two quota bags for the year, there are a few possible outcomes. The boutique manager may decide to make an exception and release the bag to you. Alternatively, they may opt to hold the bag until the new year and then allow your SA to present it to you. The timing of receipt in these cases will be at the manager’s discretion.

Definitely, the process to create a Hermès Special Order is exciting and it is considered a true honor to be part of the Hermès’ chosen ones. Although the waiting period can be as long as 2 years, it is worth every moment and it will result in your dream bag, as you have always wished for.

Now that you know more about this process, you can get ready for the moment in which your SA will give you the chance to place a Special Order and obtain your own bespoke Hermès bag.

If you want to avoid exceeding your bag quota at Hermès stores, or if you want to find authentic and brand new in box Hermès bags at the best prices, check our online store to find just what you’re looking for. At The Birkin’s & Kelly’s House we have an incredible variety of bags ready to be loved.

If you’re looking exclusively for HSS or Special Order bags, we also have some of them in our store. Don’t miss them!

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