Last month, I got a lesson in heritage brand Hermès.
As you probably know, Hermès is famous for its Birkin bag (designed and named after model/actress Jane Birkin), the Kelly bag (which was around long before it became associated with Grace Kelly, who used it to hide her pregnancy from the paparazzi), equestrian and canine-inspired accessories, jewelry and small leather goods. Most accessible (i.e. affordable) from Hermès are its silk scarves, which both men and women have coveted since the brand launched them on its 100th anniversary in 1937.
Why did I need to learn the intricacies of the brand? Because it is one of the most in-demand brands on the luxury-goods resell market. As a local “Luxury Manager” for The RealReal, I go to the homes and offices of Houstonians and comb through fine jewelry and both classic and museum-quality watches, as well as men’s and women’s luxury apparel from designers such as Brunello Cucinelli and Valentino. I also pick up top-tier luxury handbags, shoes, art and home goods, assessing resale value and discussing investments.
Sometimes clients are downsizing and no longer want to spend energy organizing and storing luxury goods that they no longer use. Or, sometimes, a client is clearing out the estate of a loved one and The RealReal allows them to get quick appraisals. Items are picked-up by professionals (or packed up by me), and the proceeds of online sales can be divided amongst relatives or deposited into a charitable account.
Sometimes an individual is ready to invest in new items they want or love to collect, and they understand the value of ridding themselves of other items in order to make room (and money) for their next purchase. I’m always pleased when an item has a resell value higher than the original retail price or is appraised by our experts at a number higher than the client expected.
Here’s how it works at The RealReal. After going through items with the client, I pack them carefully and send them to one of our warehouses where the item is unpacked, authenticated by experts (twice), researched and priced by horologists, gemologists and merchandise managers based on current market value and internal metrics. The valuations are emailed to the consignor who can choose to proceed or not. If no, the items are returned.
If yes, then each item – let’s say it’s a pair of platinum and diamond earrings – is professionally styled and photographed, edited and uploaded on therealreal.com. Consigning clients can check the status of their items online through their account, see what has sold and get payment updates on their forthcoming commission checks. Currently, The RealReal is processing 4,000+ incoming units a day.
So what about those Hermès scarves in your drawer? They can be quite valuable in the resell market and bring you a nice bit of cash. Here’s a little quiz to check your Hermès knowledge. The correct answers are in green.
How many sizes of silk scarves does Hermès make?
On average, how long does it take to complete the manufacturing of an Hermès scarf?
a) 30 days
b) 60 days
c) one year
d) 18 months
The Hermès logo is always painted on the scarf, never attached by a tag. What does the painted logo look like?
b) Hermès Made in France
c) Hermès-Paris or ©Hermès Paris
True or false: Hermès manufactures its own silk in-house.
a) True (they use a jacquard blend)
b) False (they use a specialty silk made in China)
The typical Hermès scarf has 20 or more colors in it. Each scarf is hand painted and hand finished. The edges of the scarf are …
a) hand-rolled going forward on the front of the scarf.
b) hand-rolled going towards the back side of the scarf.
As always, consultations, on-the-spot appraisals from pricing experts and our white-glove pick-up service is complimentary. Consignors can earn 70 percent commission on jewelry and watches valued at $1,000 or more, 80 percent on handbags $5,000 or more and 85 percent on watches $2,500 or more. For all other items, commission rates are 50 to 70 percent.
If you want to set up a consultation you can book an appointment with me directly at Taylor.Dodge@therealreal.com or 281-881-5449.