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Bringing Home the Birkin: My Life in Hot Pursuit of the World's Most Coveted Handbag Paperback – July 21, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
The book is subtitled My Life in Hot Pursuit of the World's Most Coveted Handbag. That handbag being the Hermes Birkin. I have heard a few stories of the famous Birkin waitlist and there was even an episode of "Sex and the City" that featured the same. I have only seen a few Birkins in person on the arms of clearly wealthy women, but they are distinct enough to be instantly recognizable. They are the ultimate elite status symbol.
Mr. Tonello's business involved luxurious travel to major European destinations to purchase Birkins from Hermes shops and then re-selling them on E-Bay from his envy-inspiring apartment in Barcelona. His trials and triumphs are amusing and the hotels and dining he describes could serve as a travel guide. The story works because the author never takes himself to seriously or fails to realize what a charmed life he's leading. Mr. Tonello has an amazing positive attitude self described as "Always half-full, that glass, always." Which is from a section describing a stay in a hospital where he was treated for severe anemia.
A family tragedy brings about the eventual end of his Birkin hunting in the way that kind of thing can do by making you take a look at what you're actually spending your time doing.Read more ›
Her seatmate just happened to the chairman of Hermès. He was a good listener. He had his designers make a bag with pockets, and he sent one to Birkin. Then he named it after her.
And then the fun began.
Everything at Hermès is expensive. Like: a scarf at $725. Or a leather shoulder bag at $6,500. The datebook Jane Birkin used? It now costs $1,025.
The Birkin bag, however, was in another league. Not only was it expensive, you couldn't get one. Why? Oh, because each bag required 48 hours of craftsmanship. You know: "This isn't a bag, it's a work of art."
Demand soon outstripped supply.
Well, not really. But that was the marketing line. And a genius one at that. Create a luxury item so special it doesn't need a logo. Then make it scarce. Very scarce --- at one point, Hermès announced there was a two-year waiting list. Which only made the Birkin more desirable.
It's a venerable truth: Deny the rich what they want, and they'll pay anything to get it.
It was only a matter of time --- and technology --- before Michael Tonello came along.
Our good fortune: Michael Tonello is a delightful writer, and "Bringing Home the Birkin" is one of the most enjoyable books I've read in years.
Tonello's outrageous story as a Birkin buyer --- and reseller, or, as he liked to think of himself, "leather liason" --- began with him living on Cape Cod and jetting off to exotic destinations for fashion shoots "with a can of hairspray and a powder puff." He gets an assignment in Barcelona.Read more ›
Bringing Home The Birkin is the real story of how Michael traveled around the world (US, Europe, South America, and a bit of Asia) to find the Birkins for his eBay customers who are obsessed with the famous bags from the House of Hermes. The Hermes Berkin is so famous and desirable mainly for three reasons: top quality (leather & croc), price ($8,000 to $80,000 give or take), and rarity. Rarity was perhaps the key to the story due to the notorious one to two-year waiting list for the Berkin. Rich and famous would not guarantee you a Birkin. Michael, however, found a secret formula to bring home the Birkin for his customers, so he went everywhere - from the largest flagship Hermes store in Paris (24 Faubourg Saint Honore) to the tiny Hermes store in Capri, Italy.
Originally from Massachusetts, Michael decided to move to Barcelona after a make-up gig because (1) he was so much in love with the city and (2) someone promised him a job there. (1) has not changed. As for (2), after signing a five-year lease on his new Barcelona apartment, Michael found out to his amazement and frustration that the job was not gonna happen. Only then had he discovered eBay so that he could sell off some of the items in his closet, including a Hermes pashmina scarf that would change his life forever.
I really love the book because, as much as the Birkin is the main catch of the story, Bringing Home The Birkin is essentially about the human psychology and behavioral economics.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great reading for the Birkin fashionista fanatic. Full of funny moments, unbelievable stories, insightful and rather surreal facts from the Hermes world, not to mention lots of... Read morePublished 2 hours ago by Amazon Customer
Not my usual type of book, but I thought it was such a clever title that I had to check it out. It doesn't disappoint. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Space Salamander
Thank you, MT! What a wonderful, fun gift you've given us all! Highly recommended to all my friends and family!Published 4 months ago by K Parker
Ever flip through the channels and find yourself suddenly wrapped up in a subject you never knew existed or could be so complex, or creepy, or witty? Read morePublished 5 months ago by walter f holmes