Despite rolling lockdowns and varying rates of production in France over the past year, Hermès has slowly but surely getting back up to speed across departments. In addition, they have had a number of fun projects in the works, so I thought to update you on recent company news:
The Hermès AirTag
I’m sure most of you have seen this by now. The AirTag is an Apple device that you can attach to an item and you can track or find it on your iPhone using the Find My app (I personally use the Find My app to track my teens’ whereabouts, as we are all on the same Apple account). The original Apple AirTag is small, looks like a keyring and costs about $39, but for a mere $699 you can buy the deluxe Hermès version, which is the size and shape of a luggage tag and is meant for travel.
To be honest, I’m not seeing a huge market for this particular item. My own completely unscientific poll (taken on my Instagram account) shows that even Hermès lovers may not be really into the Hermès AirTag, which has a very specific use. If you wanted to be able to secretly keep track of something - say, hide it in your purse - you would use a regular AirTag, as this is too large. It is, of course, very nice looking, useful and it’s a truly beautiful luggage tag (although I would be very careful using it on checked luggage), but again the function is rather specific, and most of us aren’t traveling too much right now (the more that I think about it, the more this seems like the rare wrong note - do we really want to be marketing travel items right now?). But - it’s in the news, so, here it is.
For more information, you can join the Purseforum AirTag discussion here.
Hermès Revenue Growth
At the end of April, Hermès reported huge revenue growth - a whopping 44% in the first quarter of 2021, as reported by Bloomberg. This was due to the pent-up demand for luxury shopping, combined with major growth in the Asian market, a new store in Tokyo, and an increased return to production in France.
I’m going to add my personal experience: Since the boutiques in New York reopened after lockdown, the Madison flagship has been operating on an appointment-basis only, and I’m told that this is happening in many (though not all) locations. I’ve heard that this appointment system has been working better financially for the boutiques, as the sales associates can then focus on the individual customer during their appointment and give more thorough and individualized service. Most of the customers who book appointments aren’t “just looking”: they’re there to buy. Revenue on the appointment system has jumped dramatically (this seems to be borne out by these reported revenue growth results) so I don’t see the appointment system changing anytime soon in the locations where it's being utilized.
New Makeup Releases
Right before COVID-19 hit the United States, Hermès released its line of lipsticks, and they were a success: great colors, well made, fabulous reusable packaging (if somewhat pricey at $67 each, although they do seem to last a long time). I personally am a fan of these lipsticks, which, at least in my experience, are long-lasting and very flattering. Now Hermès adds a line of blush to the mix. Originally slated to be released last fall (and pushed back due to the production issues), we finally get to play with these, and from what I hear on tPF/a>, (discussion starts with post 1731/page 116) they’re just as good as the lipsticks (although at $77 each, they had better be).
Also note that Hermès has added full-sized and travel-sized blush brushes, and a line of three “lip enhancers” (they cost $67 each, the same price as the lipsticks).
The Hermès Mens Watch H08
Have you seen Hermès' newest watch? The H08 was recently released to acclaim due to its new design, which, while classic and refined in its own way, really expands the variety of Hermès watch style offerings. Designed to be a more rugged men’s watch while still elegant, the H08 comes in five different versions, including an all-black graphène (my favorite), two-tone titanium with a contrasting strap, and a completely titanium version.
he Hermès-Bedecked Rolls Royce Phantom Oribe
Hermès has long embarked on these special one-off vehicle projects, including the Hermès WHY (Wally Yacht Hermès: WHY indeed?), the Hermès Airbus ACJ319, the Hermès Helicopter (l’Hélicoptère par Hermès), and a list of amazing Hermès-bedecked cars. Add to this ever-growing array of Hermès-enhanced vehicles the Hermès Phantom Oribe, another beautiful one-off vehicle produced by Rolls Royce, featuring leather and wood details, including an incredible dashborard-mounted wood artwork panel designed by Pierre Peron. Click here to read the full Rolls Royce press release, and here to watch the official video.
Another New Boutique
According to WWD, Hermès will be opening a new US boutique, this time in Los Angeles as part of the redevelopment and expansion of the Westfield Mall.
In an effort to give consumers more sustainable options for their goods, many companies (including Stella McCartney and Adidas) are seeking viable leather alternatives, and a few are focusing on materials that can be made from mushrooms. Hermès, in conjunction with biotech materials company MycoWorks, has started producing a Victoria bag with the material (made from MycoWorks' mushroom-derived Mycelium) called Sylvania, and while it is currently only being used for the Victoria bag, other bag options may be on the horizon. Click here to join the PurseForum discussion on this topic.