Hermes’ Enduring Secrets

Focus on meticulous spiritual imagination and creativity is what makes Hermès stand out from the competition, which is what ‘Hermes Culture’ refers to. In a world full of assembly lines that produce handbags made in China, Hermès insists on hiring artisans in France to sew each Kelly and Birkin bag by hand. Although most of its competitors buy rolls of pre-woven silk from China, Hermès still uses silk from its Brazilian mountain sericulture farm, and then weaves them into silk by itself in Lyon; although most of its competitors use perfume Subcontracted to a large laboratory that also develops food aromas and detergent aromas, but Hermès has a full-time perfumer who blends in his laboratory in his home near Grasse, the world’s perfume capital in southern France. Every new fragrance. Attention to detail and a focus on integrity make Hermès a continued success.

 Today, the luxury goods industry is an industry with an annual output value of 200 billion US dollars, and the main market participants are listed companies. The leader is LVMH, which includes more than 60 major brands, including Givenchy, Fendi, Guerlain, and Moet & Chandon. In the first three quarters of 2013, it achieved amazing sales of 20.715 billion euros. The Louis Vuitton Group, owned and managed by 62-year-old French businessman Bernard Arnault, has an estimated net worth of $ 41 billion, ranking fourth on the Forbes list of the world’s richest people.

 ‘Hermès and Louis Vuitton are two extremes of the cultural and luxury industries. We are handmade and creative, and we strive to produce the finest products in this industry. Craftsmen They poured a lot of emotion into the handbags they made. When customers bought such a handbag, they also bought some values ​​of Hermès. Hermès has been managed by the same family for six generations, which has given this company Something other companies do n’t have. Our struggle with Louis Vuitton has nothing to do with the economy, it is a cultural war. We try to do wonderful things, and we also get very good economic benefits, we must protect at this point.’

 To understand what Pierre-Alexis and Patrick Thomas are saying and why Arnault is a Hermès, you must visit Hermes’ main leatherware workshop in Pantin, a suburb of Paris. There are about 340 artisans hand-made leather goods there using the same craft as more than a century ago.

 The first step in creating a Hermès handbag begins with the tanner, who checks and cuts each piece of leather by hand. ‘How quality cannot escape the eyes and hands of a craftsman,’ said Axel Dumas, chief operating officer of Pierre-Alexis’s cousin Hermès. A personal operation. ‘

 These artisans are the backbone of Hermès. Sometimes customers will order a handbag made of such a rare leather. They must wait until Hermes finds such a leather. The handbags are not priced according to their rarity. For unique items, they can be arbitrarily priced. However, it is not the degree of demand that determines the price at Hermès. The production cost is the determining factor.

 Each craftsman has all the accessories they need to make a bag from start to finish, including zip lock hardware lining and leather cord for piping. These artisans make three or four bags of the same style and same color at a time, all inside and outside are handmade, only the zipper and the inner bag are sewed by the machine.

 When sewing bags by hand, the artisans used the classic saddle stitching, which Hermes has been using since the 19th century. They would use two needles, one on each side of a wax thread long enough to sew a full suture, and place a needle from one direction, then a needle from the other direction, finish sewing and tighten the thread. The craftsman will flatten the seams with a hammer, scrape the edges, sand them, and polish them until they look like a piece of leather.

 The hardware of the handbag is mounted in a process called ‘pearling’. The craftsmen passed a small nail through a small hole in the back of the fastener and a small hole in the leather and the front fastener, trimmed off the excess, leaving only about a millimeter, took an awl with a concave head, and turned it with a hammer Gently tap the nail head in a circle until it becomes rounded like little pearls. If done properly, these pearl-like round heads will keep the two metal fasteners together forever. After that, turn the bag over and iron it. ‘It’s a truly traditional skill,’ said workshop director Lionel Prudhomme. ‘Whenever someone asks me what has changed during the 30 years I’ve been at Hermès, I will Answer ‘Nothing has changed.’ People will change, but the process will not change. ‘

 Some things have changed since Hermès started producing silk products 74 years ago, but not much. Each year, the ‘Carres Hermes’ 90 cm long and 90 cm wide silk scarf design conference is held as scheduled. At the meeting, use the same force to flatten the paper maps, spread them on the floor, and appreciate Hermes silk scarves from a height as high as one person. Looking down will give people a sense of structure. The sense of structure is Hermes. One of the characteristics of scarves.

 Most of Hermès’ scarves were designed by illustrators, but recently Pierre-Alexis found an artist named Antoine Tzapoff, who painted him North American Indian paintings Appreciate very much. Although Hermes rarely cooperates with painters (they often use too much color to prevent reproduction on the scarf), he invited Chapoff to design a scarf for him, which gave him a stunning one. Portrait of an Apache warrior. Pierre-Alexis was fascinated by the painting ‘Cosmogonie Apache’ and sent it to Lyon to transform it into a silk scarf.

 When the painting was sent to Marcel Gandit, a 70-year-old silk-printing company that has been in charge of Hermès since 2004, Nadine Rabilloud, a platemaking drafter who worked at the company for 33 years It took two days to study it to figure out how to deal with it. Eventually, she identified 80 colors, then reduced them to 60, and later reduced it to 45. This is the highest number of colors suitable for Hermès silk printing and dyeing processes. This painting uses 15 colors on the face alone.

 Rabbi used a fountain pen and ink to repaint the portrait’s face by hand on a plastic sheet 90 cm long and 90 cm wide, while two other colleagues were responsible for the background and edges. The three men spent a total of 2,000 hours reorganizing the painting into a scarf pattern.

 After the design plates are completed, each plate will be printed on a piece of polyester fiber cloth stretched out in a 90 cm long and 90 cm wide steel frame. In the past, silk was tightly framed in wooden frames, but later evolved into nylon and metal frames similar to the fabric of the U.S. parachute during World War II. These screens will be placed on an automatic printing and dyeing machine and go through a process along the longest 150-meter-long printing and dyeing station covered with silk. Layers of color are printed and dyed on silk from dark to light. Each coloring process takes 15 to 20 minutes. The more ink is used, the longer it takes. Therefore, the printing and dyeing process of ‘Cosmogonie Apache’, which undergoes 45 coloring programs, takes about 15 hours. The silk printing and dyeing machine operates 24 hours a day, five days a week.

 When the ink is dry, the craftsman will steam the silk scarf to fix the color. Next, the scarves will be washed several times until the fabrics become soft, and then dried, and the fixative will increase their gloss and color protection. The scarves that have completed these processes will be sent to the workshop for crimping and hand stitching. Hermes designs 20 new silk scarves a year, of which 10 are autumn and winter, and the other 10 are spring and summer, each with eight to 10 color variations. Hermes squares now retail for $ 385. After being delivered to the specialty store, the scarves are stored in small glass boxes. The clerk will unfold the scarves on the countertops in a striking way for each discerning customer to taste and try them on. This tradition is also part of the ‘Hermes culture’.